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Mini-review: Devastation

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Hi all,

Recently I bought Devastation on a whim and thought to enlighten you, the lowly peons, about this game. Thus, this mini-review :)

This stand-alone game uses the Unreal Warfare engine and places you, a teen hero, fighting the mega-corporations that have taken over the world. Society has collapsed, and the corporations control armies and technology. You are the leader of a local resistance group, and just discovered a secret device that will give the corporation the upper edge forever. The storyline is heavily geared towards young teens with characters to suit this (you know: the rebel teen, the nerdy geek, the babe, the clubgirl). I'm sure THEY appreciate it ;)

The settings are of a post-apocalypse world: war-wrecked cities with most buildings destroyed, collapsed warehouses, dilapidated harbour districts. The detail is very good and very believable, and the levels have a nice flow with some degree of freedom. Gameplay is mission-based, and usually involves you hacking into computers to obtain passwords, disable lasergrids, or collect/destroy items while fighting off private armies. Your objectives (eg. a generator you must destroy) are almost always (with one annoying exception) marked with a reddish glow.

Your opponents are bots, with not so good AI. Often they react to getting hurt by crouching... which does not do a whole lot of good if there's nothing to crouch behind. Silly buggers. Most opponents are humans, with the occassional drones thrown in.

You're assisted by your team members, which you can usually give commands on what to do. Unfortunately they are not that smart either, and often ignore your commands by either getting killed or insisting to 'defend' something that does not need defending. Not that this poses a problem... see below.

After a few levels you get access to "ReGen" technology... which are basically respawners. Now you and your teammates have become 'immortal' and can respawn after death. From now on missions usually also involve destroying your enemies' respawn devices (or they'll just keep coming and coming and....). The game has basically become some sort of Assault mod.

You can choose between "combat" and "simulation" mode. In combat mode you can pick up any weapon without restriction, and just shoot the living hell out of everything. In simulation mode you can pick up only a select few weapons, and you can get overburdened (and slowed A LOT) by picking up more than you can carry. This gets frustrating in the end, ESPECIALLY when you run out of ammo and you cannot pick up the rifles of your dead opponents or that extremely powerful weapon your teammate seems to be carrying.

You can loot corpses, but both corpses and dropped weapons disappear rather fast. Again, this poses a problem in simulation mode where you are already short on decent weapons and ammo, so you'll often find yourself risking your neck running over to fresh kills before they disappear. I suggest trying out the game in combat mode instead :)

Some sort of railgun is the 'best' weapon you can get. There are no rocketlaunchers, or anything else remotely like it. Defeating some mechanical nasties can be very tiresome that way. The end-boss fight is very, very disappointing and involves a stupid trick for which no clue is given. There also seems to be a bug with the respawn devices which results in you not being able to pick up new weapons properly after a respawn.

The developers also boost that you can pick up any items and carry/throw it anywhere. Levels are usually crammed with all sorts of objects and you can indeed pick those up and litter them all over. It also means you're quite prone to running into things and get stuck until you remove/move the obstacle.

In summary: nice to play, and very worthwhile to see the settings. But I'd not buy it again for full retail price, but wait until the price has dropped a bit.

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I saw Devastation for £15 the other day, thinking about buying it.

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