To tell the truth, before playing the demo of Devastation, I have never even heard of it. I’m sure I have read a news clip about it somewhere, but it never showed me any interest so I ignored it. This gave me the chance to look at Devastation with unknowing eyes, which were highly impressed. For a new company, Digitalo has achieved themselves as a potential competitor in the gaming industry.
This is a game where surround sound is required for the full affect. Detail had to be the main factor when dealing with the surroundings in the game. Step on a pop can you hear it crunch; you kick a crate, you get the sound of contact with your foot and every time it bounced on the ground. These sounds and others play an integral part with the game’s AI. Footsteps, cans bouncing, gunfire ricochets; these are just a few of the things that tip them off to your position. The voices are very well done and add the right feel to each character’s personality. A jungle/techno group called Messy, which is made up for former members of Bauhaus, does the music. I never heard any of their stuff, but after this game I am looking forward to more.
The only complaints are the weapon sounds are too quiet and aren’t very dead on compared to most games. Game fans have brought this up and Digitalo has assured everyone of a patch reworking all weapon sounds soon. Another is one of the character’s voices. At times he has a pure Australian accent, and at others it’s just plain English. I hope this doesn’t really affect everyone else’s opinion of the game.
Devastation uses a revamped version of the latest Unreal engine along with MathEngine Karma™ physics system to add some absolutely stunning visual effects and detail to a post-apocalyptic urban world. The textures are some of the best I’ve ever seen in any game, and very realistic. Using the Unreal engine brings the games models to life, especially using the physics engine to produce quite real death animations. Watching a guard being shot, then slumps against the wall with his hand on the door handle shows you the amount of work that was put into this game. The particle effects add a high touch of realism to flames and explosions. This game needs to be played with the lights out to make you really feel the levels. The unique thing about the engine is the amount of debris on the ground. You can’t take 3 steps without kicking a can around or knocking over boxes. There are pylons, balls, garbage cans and rats everywhere you look.
Some of the first seen errors are few, yet noticeable in the game. Now and then, when restarting a level, I have come across an enemy, where before you find them peeing on the street or in a urinal, and then after restarting the level, he’s not there, but you see piss still pouring from out of nowhere. The big mistake I find is that there is too much debris in some areas. I have gotten stuck numerous times because of too many boxes bouncing around in a room or a clipping error around garbage cans. I’ve watched my NPC’s start walking in the sky overhead and staying there until I have completed the level. As well as they can follow you up ladders; yet I have not seen one get out of water when say walking around in the sewers.
There really isn’t much to say about multiplayer. It is very much like all other games. You have your usual deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, etc. What is nice about it, is the keeping the world’s debris during gameplay. Rather than shooting the guy behind the corner, shoot the gas barrel beside him to kill him or listen for the kicking of cans and boxes to tell where everyone is. Not too mention weapons are placed in spots where you have to look for them, as well as most of them allow for dual weapons. Health packs are found in little white packets that are lying around where you sometimes wouldn’t expect them. The maps are quite well balanced and it being a dark world brings a new fear of snipers when playing. This being a new game, it is expected that the pings are so high even in a four-player game. On a local server, I had an average of 120-200 pings, and that was with most of my settings turned down. Because of the use of Unreal technology, this game does include very friendly mod tools to help expand the multiplayer community behind this game.
Single player is a very thrilling experience with Devastation. The storyline is your typical leader of a rebellion against the mass corporation that runs a world where technology is banned. Cut scenes utilizing the game engine tell each mission. The addition to the game is the use of NPC’s that are actually useful, in most areas. There is a very simple list of bot commands the give them; Hold, Follow, Attack and Defend; although, they don’t really listen to the Hold command very well. You have the ability to give them what weapons to use and to take a weapon from them for yourself. Due to the fact you can only carry a certain amount of guns in the game, just consider them as pack mules that you can’t let die. During gunfights, you will notice that both the enemies and your NPC’s have to reload after emptying a clip. I find this a very nice detail to the game and very useful when you’re near death. Through the game you’ll find terminals that give you access codes and others that give you security camera access. As in multiplayer, the location of weapons and health play key parts too. Trying to find health when you need it can be tedious due to the fact they are small and hidden most of the time. Your NPC’s seem to be able to heal themselves right after every fight.
Devastation is a new game with a new look for an old genre. With bugs that can be expected from a company trying to make their mark in the gaming industry, this game will develop a very nicely following, even if it’s a small one. With the addition of a few new ideas, mod tools, and a very popular game engine, it’s not hard to see this becoming an underground hit. Although short on the replay value, Devastation is a very enjoyable experience and should be tried by all.