Available : 25 March (US) 28 March (EU)

Devastation © Arush Entertainment
Previewed by atrkid

Devastation is the latest game made by Arush Entertainment. I'm sure you're wondering who they are now ! Arush is the publisher of Duke Nukem, The Manhattan Project, which was based on the earlier platform Duke Nukem games, but in 3D. Now this game is their first attempt in making an FPS.

To do so, as more and more often is the case, they decided to aquire an existing engine, rather than developing their own. Devastation is based on the latest version of the Unreal engine, which you can see in Unreal 2, UT2K3, and Splinter Cell. The main advantage using this technology is that it provides developers with easier development, which will be discussed further in the preview. The game takes place in an alternative hippy community, and your goal is to harvest crops.

The game was fully remade, and is now taking place in a devastated (you guessed it before i'm sure) world. People are divided between small resistance groups who fight for their freedom (and for survival), against a massive corporation trying to corrupt the police.
You are one of these resistants, and belong to a revolutionary group. This revolution action will lead you through various locations, from San Fransisco to Taiwan and Japan.
Now that you know about the storyline, let's talk about the gameplay. This means the weapons, AI, movements, and levels.

The game was obviously made with a single player game approach in mind, which means you'll get to explore large levels, each with a storyline and scripted events. Scripted events ? Yup ! You're helped by your revolutionary friends, who'll guide you throughout your mission. Keep in mind though, that if they die, the mission's over (you don't expect them to do the tough job for you, do you ?). There's over 30 weapons, and 32 levels.
Most of the weapons have a secondary fire, which makes their use even funnier, as there is a large variety offered in order to crush your enemies :
guns, double guns, machineguns, shotguns, railguns, sniper rifles, knives, bats, bottles (!) will help you blast your way through the levels, where you also will find special weapons, such at machine guns or turrets. There's also a the "rat drone". What is the rat drone ? Try to picture the crossing between a remote controlled car, a bomb, and a rat ! (i've had a lot of fun trying to picture it myself too :D). Our little rodent with antennas will allow you to explore places you cannot normally reach, seeing through his little eyes, to activate certain switches, or explode something. Yes, you can explode the rat ! Watch out though, some enemies might see your rat and run away, while shooting it (picture this too !). But the rat is the only sneaking material you'll get in this game. The rest is pure action.

Well, this is not entierly true... The game features 2 different modes, Arcade and Simulation. Arcade will bring you basic, fast paced gunfight action, while Simulation will be more realistic weapon shots and impacts. While we're at it, let's talk about the game's engine. The Unreal 2 engine focuses its technology on the physics engine, and the light engine, which means you'll get realistic light effects (seen Splinter Cell ?), and realistic physics: everything has a weight. You can pickup a can, move it, kick a box, shoot a guy in his leg and he'll fall, shoot barrels and they'll move. This part of the engine is very impressive because it allows interaction with almost everything you can think of. For example, you can pickup a bottle, throw it near your enemy, to distract him. The levels are pretty big, but linear: you won't get lost, but you'll have to deal with an important amount of bad guys.
The multiplayer mode features all the usual modes (dm ctf etc), plus a new mode which is a deriditive of domination (in UT) and last man standing.

Overall, the game was fun to play. The storyline seems to vary enough throughout the missions, there is severe blasting and guns, and simply fast action. There are some concerns for now though. The AI in this preview version was... more artificial than intelligent :) Basically the enemies were pretty moronic in their moves. But it's interesting to see that they will not react and aim the same way if you're hidden behind a car or a tree for example. Also, while having your little 30 weapon mayhem with you during the in game missions, the multiplayer part plays differently, and the action might turn out a bit messy. Let's see what happens for the final version, supposedly coming out in late March.

Try it if you liked : Kingpin, Blood 2, New World Order, Unreal 2.