Developer: Interwave Studios
Release Date: 9/22/2011
For Fans Of: Radiation, Online Shooters, Strange People On Voice Chat
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The Good: Mixes RTS and FPS in a smart way, classes are fun to use, lots of people playing online, tug-of-war action during matches is addictive
The Bad: No campaign, no bots, looks pretty average, ugly menus, 99% of the time you won’t be playing the RTS part, a few balancing issues
Mixing RTS (Real Time Strategy; Shogun 2, StarCraft) with FPS (First Person Shooter; Call of Duty, Quake) sounds like trying to hammer a nail with a banana, but it works here despite not seeing the RTS part too often. Unlike other games that poorly implemented RTS (Brutal Legend) into another genre, Nuclear Dawn does it right. The person doing the RTSing is the Commander and only he can do it. This is an online only game (boo!) so the Commander must be voted in, but usually, that’s the host and rarely will he ever get booted.
The game uses standard RTS elements like building buildings that give your men on the ground more powerful ammo for their weapons (the FPS part is the men on the ground). You have to kill the Commander to win the game, but also capturing energy sources is also key for respawn points. Everyone knows an online FPS needs to respawn points so that’s the Commander’s job by making sure there are plenty. The RTS elements are light and not very complicated, but you have the constant fear of pissing off the guys down below and voting you off if you don’t manage your resources right and build useful structures and give them frequent upgrades.
As the guys on the ground, you are doing all the work capturing resource points and killing that freaking Commander. You get to choose four different classes that have unique powers such as a tank that uses a minigun and can plant it and act like a human turret, or you can use alternate classes for each class like the tank using an energy type grenade launcher to knock out structures. You have a stealth class that can turn invisible for a while and knife people from behind. Plus you get the typical sniper and foot soldier roles that have various sub-classes. The shooting mechanics are simple if a little dated and the whole game is rough around the edges.
Not that the isn’t any fun because fragging with other players is loads of fun because this game has a back and forth kind of like Team Fortress 2 and a game can go on for over an hour. Once a team starting knocking out your resources you can make a comeback and it’s just like a tug-of-war. This can be loads of fun since you can switch classes after each death and use it to deal with a problem like people camping in a small room or snipers that no one can spot.
Nuclear Dawn does not have a single player campaign or even offline bots so this is strictly online only. I really don’t like that and it could use a campaign to get you better at playing it. Mainly because 99% of the time you won’t be the Commander so you get almost no experience in the RTS part outside the tutorial. The menus are also pretty ugly and the whole game feels almost like a mod more than a full-fledged game, but the unique mix of genres is worth a purchase for the low price anyway. The graphics aren’t anything to write home about because they are pretty average and will run on any average computer. This game is strictly for hardcore online players only, but pick it up if you want something new.