Don’t let me drive!
As I run slowly around a large rock outcrop in the desert landscape, ignoring the task of stealing fuel supplies from the opposing team, I start reminiscing about my time spent using the vehicles of Ravaged, the latest online multiplayer first-person shooter from Reverb and 2 Dawn Games.
Within the game mode that I was playing, the plan was simple. Steal supplies from the other team and capture the smaller bases spread around the map to provide closer respawn points. To start with, I came out of our main base and managed to find a small helicopter. My luck was in. I could cruise gracefully across the battlefield and nimbly steal supplies before returning them to our base. Leaping into the helicopter with the most basic press of a button, I took off. Then I went left, twisted slightly and crashed into a nearby cliff face. Okay, maybe I will leave the chopper to the fly boys.
All of the action is on the ground anyway. Looking at the handy mini map in the top left corner, I could see various other players zipping around in all manner of vehicles, most of which look like they had escaped from a Mad Max movie. Thinking myself a little more refined, I managed to find what looked like a relatively normal Jeep. I then began hurtling across the map in an attempt to steal some of these supplies.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the handling of the Jeep. Using the standard keyboard/mouse combo, driving the vehicles at any speed takes a bit of getting used to. I swerved left, then right, bounced off a rock and then exploded into a cliff face, thankfully a different one from last time. This was not going well – two suicides and I hadn’t even fired my gun yet.
On the subject of guns, there are plenty of death-dealing weapons available. Players are split across two teams – The Resistance and The Scavengers. Whilst each team has different names and a different look for their classes, you basically have a scout, assault, sniper and two different heavy weapon users, one with a rocket launcher and one with a heavy machine gun. They all come equipped with different side arms, grenades and equipment, and play very differently. The sniper and scout types move quickly across the landscape, whilst the heavy weapon users are notably slower – making the vehicles very useful.
Which brings me back to my third attempt at getting into the action without killing myself. This time around I embraced my inner Mad Max and got behind the wheel of a buggy with a heavy machine gun mounted on top. Before I zipped skillfully away, another player joined me in the vehicle, taking control of the gun. Maybe I should have warned them. To be honest, things started quite well. I was slowly navigating the map, heading for an enemy outpost within what looked like a dry riverbed in the centre of the map. Don’t panic, there was a ramshackle bridge to cross the riverbed. Something was going on, as my passenger was busily firing in all directions, but I was too busy trying to reach the bridge without hitting a rock, or a cliff face. As I approached, I could imagine how cool it would look as we flew across the bridge, firing at the enemy who was guarding the outpost.
So, the reality was that I missed the bridge all together, ploughed headlong into the dry riverbed, leapt out of the buggy (I’m alive!) and got blown up. I am not entirely sure who, or what, blew me up, but I should imagine my former passenger didn’t shed any tears.
That particular match ended soon after this. I don’t remember my score, but I am fairly certain it was in negative numbers. Apparently you are not rewarded for constantly dying. Still, I stuck with it and although the majority of players who witnessed my skills in that first match probably left once they had finished laughing, other players joined and, believe it or not, I actually got better.
It struck me that, for a downloadable game at £15.99, this was actually quite good looking. The game will support up to 32 players in a given match and look good whilst doing so. The environment within the map that I played was suitably post-apocalyptic and of a decent size. The vehicles are varied and mostly look like they were cobbled together from scrap, and the different classes are all quite distinct, allowing the player to easily tell what trouble is coming their way. There is a strong emphasis on vehicular combat here, and the speed with which the different vehicles move, especially when there are explosions all around, is very impressive.
Anyway, here I am, a few matches in. I’ve managed some kills, got to grips with the vehicles and even hit the bridge at the right angle in a buggy and flew through the air in an epic manner. But now I am on a mission. An industrious player on the opposing team has found themselves a very good sniping point and has managed to pick me off no less than four times. I don’t care about stealing their resources any more, or capturing outposts. It’s all about revenge.
I have chosen to take the grunt, a hulking brute that moves slowly and carries a heavy machine gun. My reasoning is that he is a big boy and thus must be tougher than the rest. Skirting my way around the very edge of the map is taking a very long time, but it will be worth it if I manage to get to where my adversary is hiding and inflict my vengeance with a hail of bullets. I am close now and just need to make my way across a small open area. Carefully does it…
Okay. He shot me again. Once I had picked up my mouse after throwing a complete hissy fit, I respawned just in time to see that someone else had ended his killing spree. Oh well, I’ve got a rocket launcher this time. Do you want a piece of me?
Ravaged, by Reverb Publishing and 2 Dawn Games, is now available to buy on Steam and other digital distribution portals at £15.99. There is also a free demo available for players that wish to try before they buy.