Hey, Ravaged came out today! With its mix of post-apocalyptic vehicle and FPS combat, it has the potential to be everything a real Rage multiplayer mode could have been. So, is it? Well, I’m not sure yet. I played in the beta, but it offered only a small portion of Ravaged, and what was there was buggier than a Louisiana bayou. What I’ve played today looks better, though, so follow along as we discover whether or not Ravaged even comes close to reaching its lofty goals.
Mad Multiplayer Max
The future — or at least Mad Max: The Road Warrior’s version of it — is the battlefield of Ravaged, a multiplayer-only shooter that pits Resistance (Socs) versus Scavengers (Greasers) in 16v16 grudge matches for land and resources. There isn’t any setup, and players are simply asked to pick a side and get down to some good old-fashioned runnin’ and gunnin’. And drivin’. And flyin’. Ahem.
Vehicular combat married to FPS shooting is the name of the game here. While the class-based shooting (sniper, assault, heavy, light, demo) is you’ve-played-this-a-million-times stuff, there’s a nice spin on the driving and flying elements. Cars, for example, are driven with the WASD keys, Battlefield-style, instead of simply aiming the direction you want to drive with the mouse and pushing W — in other words, this is driving designed for the PC from the ground up. WASD driving not only allows you to keep your eyes peeled for enemies as the driver by swinging the camera around with the mouse, it’s also used as a lean mechanic when driving the three-wheeler. Want to make that extra sharp dime turn on the ATV? Lean into it by looking all the way in the direction you want to go.
Tiny one-man helicopters also are in the mix, and I definitely need more time to learn how to fly them. I’ve crashed and crashed again, but it’s clear that once the difficult mechanic is mastered, the rewards are great. Raining fire and missiles on cars and footsoldiers from above is devastating, particularly because the only thing that can stop them aside from a lucky shot with a rocket launcher is the opposing team’s chopper, and each team only gets one of each. At least that’s how it’s been for me on the only map I could play during the beta, Canyon. In any case, these pesky little copters also appear to venture into overpowered territory, as players piloting them typically wound up with 30-plus kills on the leaderboards while the average second place finisher was in the 12-14 range. A real helicopter counter appears to be needed.
Major Bumps in the Post-Apocalyptic Road
Which brings me to my “this is a review in progress” reminder. I’ve only been able to play Canyon and Ravaged’s Resource Capture mode, which is actually fun. It’s a mix of domination and capture the flag, only instead of flags you’re trying to steal the enemy’s fuel tank. Capturing points around the map, domination-style, is critical because they create spawn points closer to the enemy base where the gas tank is stored. The result is a fast-paced mashup of two modes that sent me assaulting, defending, running, and chasing all over the map. There is at least one other map and mode — Liberty and Thrust — but I haven’t been able to see them just yet, (and it’s unclear if different modes are available on Canyon). There simply aren’t enough people playing on any of the servers offering Liberty at this point.
Most distressingly, despite roughly 120 people playing (on all servers, including demoers, creating roughly three full matches) last I checked, I still couldn’t get into a goddamn Thrust mode game on the Liberty map — the map with the headless Statue of Liberty used in just about all of the promotional screenshots and trailers. Sigh. It appears one of Ravaged’s biggest challenges could be overcoming a lack of interest.
I encourage you to try out that demo to see if Ravaged’s blend of vehicle and FPS combat is for you. So far, when it works it’s fun — just watch out for death from above. I’ll be in and playing for a bit more before I deliver my own final verdict on whether or not it’s worth the $25, so check back here in a day or two.
Ah, the old chicken-and-egg strikes again! Multiplayer game has problems because it lacks players; multiplayer game lacks players because it has problems. What’s the solution? And do you have any plans to try out Ravaged’s post-apocalyptic warfare, or are you skipping it to play something else?