Malcolm Owen On April 26, 2003 at 12:25 pm

Has anyone noticed the trend in games to reveal the future as a dank, dark, war-torn hellhole? Doesn’t anyone believe that the times to come may be full of peace and love and tranquillity? Then again, we’d end up with a lot of games like Tetris, and that could be a bit boring after a while. If you look at many games, you will find the same formula of "Apocalyptic Future", "Big Corporation Control", "You play the Underdog role", "Defeat the Big Bad Companies". Sadly, Devastation slots quite nicely into this pigeon-hole that I have defined, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The first line of the manual tells us that "The year is 2075 and Earth is a ravaged and devastated planet" (Apocalyptic Future) that is controlled by huge companies determined to force the planet’s population to do what they tell them to do (Big Corporation Control). Flynn Haskell is a leader if a small guerrilla group that is slowly fighting the oppression (You play the Underdog role) and after a huge problem occurs, Flynn decides that it’s time to go for the big boys instead of attacking the small fry local problems (Defeat the Big Bad Companies).

While playing the game, you genuinely do get the feel of being in a harsh, war-torn environment. Destroyed buildings form an adventure playground for you and your team-mates to run around, all with the force of a "next generation" Unreal engine running on all cylinders to keep up. You can immediately take this as a note to upgrade your machine, as this is power hungry. Even my initial test machine struggled a bit at first before I had to turn some settings down, and before you ask about it, the machine can play Unreal Tournament 2003 pretty well.

A lot of what you see you can also pick up, e.g. chairs, which you could, if you felt like it, start smacking around the head of someone opposing you. (There have been many times in real life that I have wanted to do that to someone, and it finally transpires that in a game I could recreate it almost perfectly. Of course, we have much heavier and softer chairs here, so it’s hard to compare)
You have the usual compliment of weaponry at your disposal, from melee weapons to handguns, automatics, shotguns, sniper rifles, explosive pineapples (grenades) to a rat. Yes, you heard me correctly, a rat. You can wake up a specially modified rat, set it down on the floor, and then control it from it’s viewpoint towards a target, be it to explore or for the much more impressive use of finding a group of people standing around and then blowing it up. After playing the game for many hours, I couldn’t tear myself away from playing with the "rat o’ doom" to review it, and so I allowed my own mother to have a good look. She got sucked into playing with the "rat" as well, so I can only conclude that as a weapon it’s good, but it’s more fun as a toy. I only wish real life would catch up so that I could have one for my very own.

The lucky(?) people whom you have on your wild adventures through the troublesome lands are actually not stupid for once. For NPCs they are pretty good, and are not dumb enough to block your way too often. They’ve run out of ammo and you’re a crap shot? Chuck your gun to them and they will continue to vent their anger against the opposition.
The ethos of "Teamwork" and "Teamplay" is different to that of Rainbow 6 or being in a team of over-careful and precision-powered Counter-Strike enthusiasts, where one wrong move could mean your plan is gone. Here it’s more a "Suck it and see" attitude that you have to live by, a more free-flowing version of CS on a public server than clan warfare.

Sadly, shortly after receiving the review copy of the game, I was alerted to a 66mb patch file, that when used would fix sound issues and a multitude of multiplayer and in-game problems that only slightly makes me wary about giving it a very high score as most of the problems could have been fixed prior to release, but this is negotiable.

As FPS games go, this is pretty good, and if you feel like being the "Underdog" in an "Apocalyptic Future", don’t let the ideas of it being another hashed-out clone fool you, this is actually worth a shot for once. Heck, even playing with the rat is worth the price of the game alone!


A fair bit of good AI for your teammates makes the game more involving.


Very nice, moody and detailed.


Required a patch immediately to improve, but still Ok


If the “Apocalyptic FPS” genre required there to be a king, this would be a good contender to the throne.

Comments are closed.