Sociologists claim that were a nuclear or other catastrophic event of global scale to occur, humanity would not devolve into looting and Mad Maxian crime sprees. The predominant theory is that an event of this magnitude would scare us into coming together, focusing on teamwork, and working toward a better goal for humanity’s sake. While Nuclear Dawn for Windows PC blasts the player into a possibly inaccurately war-torn, post-apocalyptic wasteland, it does echo the sentiment that teamwork is paramount to survival.
Nuclear Dawn’s most obvious departure from other games in this genre is the marriage of real-time strategy and first-person-shooter gameplay modes. This partnership allows players to focus more on tactics than arguing over which map they prefer playing. Players are taken on a well-rounded tour of the battlefield with the ability to not only serve as a soldier but to also command troops. Unfortunately, the innovation falls flat after that, cutting off prematurely and creating a sense of unfinished potential. This is only exacerbated by the fact that there are still many bugs. Perhaps the most detrimental of all, though, is the lack of a single-player campaign mode. The multiplayer, while fun and challenging if you pair up with competent players, is only as good as who’s playing, and if anyone is playing. Disconnecting from a game due to bugs, attempting to sign back on and not finding any lobbies can be frustrating for even the most patient of gamers.
I like the direction Nuclear Dawn has taken with cooperative and competitive multiplayer. Learning basics in the tutorial and working well with your teammates is a must to succeed. Players are offered a sense of security knowing that those who strive for bettering their stats alone and trying to reign supreme without assisting their team will be greeted with a heaping dose of reality check if they bring that mindset to this game. Playing this game also requires more than a run and gun mindset, linking success in the FPS modes with how well you strategize in the RTS section. That said, this game follows the philosophy of all or none. There’s no avoiding FPS if you just want RTS and vice versa, so this game is not for those who have difficulty enjoying either genre.
This game is also not for those who have had enough of post-apocalyptic atmosphere. The game doesn’t break any new frontier in this vein, but it manages to present the locales well enough. While there is more detail to be found here than most Source engine games, don’t expect to get lost in the environments, as the levels are geared more for quick strategic gameplay than lollygagging. There are multiple different locales not only across the United States, but also internationally. The settings are as varied as the modes of gameplay. The dramatic soundtrack will also get your heart racing, though the voice acting could use some work. While you control your side on two different fronts, the FPS system is fluid and intuitive without a cumbersome tactical display. The FPS is solid, though there’s a lack of flexibility in class functions which can grow tiresome. Classes are only allowed specific approaches to their tactics, forcing a harmony where all the pieces have to come together, but also limiting what each individual can accomplish.
All in all, Nuclear Dawn offers something for FPS and RTS players to enjoy beyond the typical cookie cutter games that identify with these genres. The game is solid, and it offers some exciting opportunities for new releases in this format. The future for the RTS/FPS medley will definitely owe a lot to this game.