- Gaming Resources
- About Us
I have spent a week playing Nuclear Dawn, and I’m very upset that I have to take a break from actually playing the game to tell you about it. To me it seems unfair to the comrades in arms that I have made over the course of the week too. You see, I have realized that my true calling in life is to be the greatest Assault trooper known to man. My job is spotting cloaked stealth units with my drop down Tac Visor, providing suppressing fire for the heavy chaingun wielding Exoskeleton squads as all hell erupts around us. But I’m writing. Nuclear Dawn is something that became deceptively addicting, and pulled me in deeper and deeper. It’s easily the most satisfying, and balanced team shooting experience built on the Source Engine right now, and that’s not even coming close to explaining why the game is so incredibly satisfying.
No, the thing that makes Nuclear Dawn such an achievement is the fact that it puts one person in the role of Commander. This person is then responsible for placing strategic structures on the battlefield in real time in order to support the on the ground troops. For the Commander, the view of the game is much different, and is something more akin to a Source powered Command and Conquer. You get an overhead view and the ability to spend resources, and build structures. Victory conditions are also the same as most RTS skirmishes… wipe the other Commander off the face of the Earth, preferably via nuclear delivery. But the defining difference between Nuclear Dawn and other traditional RTS titles, is that here you aren’t going to be spending time mining, or harvesting. Instead your resources pool directly depends on the ability of your troops to capture resource points on the map. Each side starts with a collection of nearby points for immediate control, but things get predictably heated when you start venturing into border territory. Early segments of the game therefore, are almost the most crucial. I’ve seen the tide of war turned late game in Nuclear Dawn a couple of times, but it’s such an infrequent thing that I feel pretty self assured saying that you need to capture most of the map in the first few minutes. After that holding, and pushing an advance is key, and to do that you need to have a game that creates a serious need for teamwork.
Again Nuclear Dawn aces this with flying colors, by creating four distinct classes that are superbly balanced. Assault, Stealth, Exo, and Support are the choices on hand, and every class has it’s own advantage and distinct weakness. Stealth guys are able to cloak and slip behind enemy lines, but can be easily spotted by someone like me, playing an Assault trooper, and dropping down my Tac Visor. Exo units are wearing heavy armor, and can equip heavy weapons that deal out insane amounts of punishment, but they are slow, and can be taken down without Support. It’s not just a suggestion of cooperation, it’s mandatory for success. This is something of a slightly sharpened double edged sword in some respects. On the one hand the commitment to being so strictly cooperative and team based is more than admirable. It’s how it should be done, when making a game like this. But, that same commitment also results in a very steep learning curve, that will require you dying. A lot. Only by getting shot in the face repeatedly as virtually every single class, will you start to learn and develop a play system and strategy that allows you to win. Some players will stick around for this, and feel a true sense of gratification, and skill development once they come to terms with the game’s mechanics, but there will be some who won’t be able to take the brutality of the journey to get there.
But again, I stress and reiterate that none of this matters without your Commander. If your Commander is an idiot then you are all doomed to a fiery radiated death before your feet even touch the virtual battleground. This is because your Commander is going to be responsible for placing useful things like Support Stations, and Turrets. Things that are crucial and vital to the success of the people doing the on the ground fighting. Without the adequate amount of supplies and unmanned weaponry on the field, you will quickly lose ground to a strategically superior foe, regardless of how well the individual soldiers are playing. In fact, most in game arguments start over mismanagement of resources, or a poor lack of planning when placing structures, and some of these arguments can lead to an outright mutiny, provided via a handy dandy button helpfully labeled “Mutiny”. Get enough Mutiny votes, and out goes the old Commander, giving someone else an opportunity to get you all killed. This human element is not only hilarious to behold but it adds a tremendous sense of pressure to the role of being Commander. If you’ve ever played Starcraft, or Command and Conquer, you know that the units will never make personal insults, and threats directed at you because you’re not doing your job right, here you won’t be so lucky. And even that little turn of the screw is genius.
The bottom line is that this game isn’t just good, it’s flawless. It’s got a level of balance, and polish that I’ve seen huge budget Triple A tactical shooters completely shoot for, and miss. It’s insanely deep and rewarding, and has all of the unlocks, and level grinding that have become par for the course for the genre, but still manages to breathe vibrant new life into it with the graceful fusion of real time strategy into the mechanics. I am hooked, and am honestly grateful that I have a competitive shooter that’s finally worthy of my time again. Don’t even hesitate the next time you see it on Steam, just buy it.
Nuclear Dawn is available now for PC.
It was developed and published by Interwave Studios.
You must be logged in to post a comment.