Nuclear Dawn is the new game by InterWave studios and is out now causing havoc on servers worldwide. What makes the game stand out from everything else out there is the unique blend of top down RTS commander management, blended in with FPS style gameplay. So Muslim Gamer has reviewed the game to see how the mix has turned out.
Nuclear Dawn is available from Amazon, Gamersgate, Green Man Gaming and all other good online and retail stores.
Nuclear Dawn had no problems passing our Eyefininty test. We tested it with high settings and the full 6020 X 1200 resolution and averages around 80-90 FPS with no issues at all. The only gripe I had, which is the same issue with most games we test, is the fact that the HUD is not centred on the middle screen. You will see from the Eyefinity Screenshots below that the map is on the right and chat window is on the left screen. This is really a #firstworldproblem and not really anything I can blame Interwave for. The game was never advertised as Eyefinity compatible but you give credit where credit is due. For example Witcher 2 cant even play on 3 monitors and that’s up to versions 2. No problems with Alt- Tab either. The game went in and out of the desktop in around 3-5 seconds so it passes here too. We did notice that during Eyefinity mode the centre screen would show but the 2 side screens would stay black, again another #firstworldproblem and nothing to worry about. No problems with the 7.1 G35 headphones. Sound quality is great and it gave us the option to use 7.1 in the settings, so all the basic tests pass.
Now to the game itself. Nuclear Dawn has been created using a modified Left 4 Dead 2 engine, so you get that familiar Source styling your used to in the game but with the additions that InterWave have added. The atmosphere of a war-torn post-apocalyptic city scape is there as the buildings are nicely bullet ridden with wide gaping holes to run in and out of. The sky has an eery colouring that looks to be HDR styled so a nice little touch adding to the atmosphere.
As the round starts the 2 teams set off from their respective bases at each end of the map, you can see team mates scurrying through alley ways and streets as each class takes their position across the map. I have always preferred games with larger maps and I found that Nuclear Dawn was right down my alley. The game doesn’t confine you to claustrophobic maps where a 30 second run that takes you from one side of the map to the other, many of them involve strategy and and timing as you watch the map with one eye and peer around the corner with the other, making sure an Exo isn’t waiting for you with his chain gun.
Saying that, not all maps are large in scale. For example the metro map has a tight configuration where the action is always close to the spawn at all times. When you look at all the maps together, the game has a nice mix of small and large designs to keep you happy through the 32 player multiplayer sessions. What would have been very tricky for the developers is not only designing a FPS game, but one which has RTS elements in there too, all while ensuring that it is enjoyable for both types of players at the same time. Snipers are able to climb onto rooftops and be annoying as annoying as snipers are while providing smashed shopfronts with dark corners for the front lines to sneak in and out of capturing the next stand point. All in all I enjoyed the maps and thought there was enough variety in there to make each round different and fun.
In total you get 6 maps with the game, but as the game ships with a SDK, expect the modders to do their magic and release fan content soon enough. The launch maps are as follows,
Downtown which is is based on New York, Hydro based off the wastelands of post apocalyptic Russia, Oasis is amongst the broken buildings of Dubai, Metro from Tokyo, Clocktower will be familiar to our British friends from London and finally Silo which is a snowy map inspired by Syrdakh.
Nuclear Dawn has 2 warring factions in its post WW III world, the Consortium and the Empire. Ill get into a bit more detail below, but the 2 sides are more than just red team vs blue team, there are differences in gameplay, weapon sets and commander management, all with their own advantages and disadvantages. Each has 4 classes to choose from, with the possibilities to further specialise according to your play style. InterWave have nicely balanced out features with variety enabling lots of different gameplay. Want to play a sniper, no problem, you can either be stealthy and get invisibility, but pay for it with reduced health, or go with the assault sniper and get the extra health, but this time give up the invisibility. With the support class you can either help the team with Medikits and your assault rifle or choose to go down the path of an anti-structure engineer with EMP grenades and get a shotgun instead.
This is what is going to give the game replay value while reducing the rage factor by over 9000. Several times while playing Exo (the sturdy tank class) I got taken out by a stealth class. Stealth have the ability to go invisible and run around a lot quicker than everyone else. Their arsenal includes 2 knives which have the insta kill ability when landed right. After dieing a few times to the stealth class, I switched over to Assault which gave me the ability to see the Stealth class, lets just say I swiftly sent him back to the spawn point. Every poison has a cure
So overall I would say the classes are well balanced BUT I should also say I sometimes found the Assault class a little easy to get kills with. If you feel like going Rambo, definitely play the assault class. As is the flavour with most games these days, the more you play the more unlocks and achievements you get, adding to the satisfaction the more you play. There are 60 ranks and 12 unlocks for each weapon, with stuff like bigger ammo packs and armour piercing rounds as you go through.
- Exo: The heaviest of all classes, it demands respect with its heavy machine gun and almost unlimited supply of bullets. What the Exo lacks in speed, it makes up for with overwhelming firepower, against both infantry and structures.
- Assault: Assault players aren’t your common foot soldiers. Armed with a number of kits that cover all tactical roles, Assaults are the most versatile combatants in the game. Moderately armoured, with powerful long range weapons, they are a force to be reckoned with, especially when they use their Tactical Visors to spot cloaked Stealth’s.
- Stealth: The lightest player in the field is quick on its feet. The Stealth’s special ability is a light refraction cloaking mechanism that renders them invisible to the naked eye, and allows them to take down any enemy with razor sharp knives, or from a distance with a sniper kit. Beware though, as Stealth’s are true glass cannons, and will easily perish in open combat.
- Support: The support ensures that both structures and players remain upright, with its engineer and medic kits respectively. In combat, a support can cripple enemy fortifications and troops with EMP and gas grenades, and if the situation calls for it, the flamethrower weapon kit can burn a path straight through the toughest enemies.
This is the cool factor with Nuclear Dawn, the Im different neon sign, the reason why it isn’t just another FPS on the list. But have they pulled it off??
Ill explain how it works first. At the start of each round you can nominate yourself to be a commander, if selected, you go into the commander bunker and begin the RTS side of things. Like any other RTS, you have resources to collect so you can build what you need and upgrade your technology. The new tech gives extra commander abilities as well as giving your soldiers extra’s like siege. The resources are the capture points on the map, so as your team holds more of the map, you get resources at a quicker rate. Similar to how classes have different advantages and disadvantages on each side, commanders play by the same rules.
For example, if you want to build a forward spawn point for your team, you first start with getting power to the front lines by building power lines. One side has wireless repeaters while the other must have direct line of sight for each node. At first seemed a little unbalanced as the wireless nodes are easier to build around corners and get cannons up in the nooks and crannies. However I soon realised the disadvantage is that it has a shorter range and is more expensive. During the 4 days of playing, I was never complaining about balance (apart from the assault class, i still think that is a bit of an easy mode) so Interwave have got the balance right id say. The game is by no means a deep RTS, it has the elements of the genre when playing as the commander and that’s about where it stops. On the flip side how much RTS can you squeeze into 10-15 minute rounds?
The commander can really make or break your side, but saying that, the commander cant do anything without the soldiers securing capture points for resources, the structure of the game really does encourage team work. And so far the Nuclear Dawn community seems to be obliging as I noticed lots of people using the built in comms to communicate with each other and the commander during the games.
The game scores full points here. There is nothing in the game that would make me say there is anything offensive in there or that you cant play this with or buy this for the young ones. I havent come across any language or graphics that are offensive in anyway, so feel free to purchase it for others.
After the first few days of playing I was having a great time with the game and had to pull away from it to write this review. But ill be honest here and say the first day I played my notes had a few crosses on it. The second day I got off the game and noticed my notes had changed from things that I thought could have been better to things that were nicely done. The reason for the change is that while InterWave have polished the game nicely overall it seems as though they skimped on introducing the player to the game properly. There are tutorial videos which you can watch but they didn’t tell me enough about commanding to avoid being flamed. There is no single player mode so I had to figure things out in multiplayer.
When it comes to the classes Ill say at first I couldn’t enjoy them fully as I couldn’t tell what the advantage and disadvantage of each class was. But once I got over the initial learning curve and played for a few days, I found that I had settled in on my favourite tactics and map spots and from that point on Nuclear Dawn was a great change from the standard FPS game.
If your looking for a FPS to play with something different to offer, or if your a fan of both the FPS and RTS genre, the game can definitely keep you happy. I think the games biggest enemy is its launch date. Its going up against some big boys with some big marketing budgets, which I think unfortunately, could take some of the spotlight away from the game that is Nuclear Dawn.
Muslim Gamer Score 8.5
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