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I'm scared, Fif. It's that rat circus out there, I'm beginning to enjoy it.
As yet another shining example of Kickstarter's impact on indie developers, Ravaged is a multiplayer, class-based first-person shooter by 2 Dawn Games that combines the brashness and twitch action of Unreal Tournament with the vehicular system and color palette of Borderlands. It employs no-nonsense approach to damn good fun—no more, no less.
Before you write off 2 Dawn Games as just another indie developer, know that the small international team have contributed to other top-tier titles like the Battlefield franchise—they know what they're doing. But instead of going down the route of serious wartime firefights, Ravaged takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where more militarized Resistance and bandit Scavengers face off in a Mad Max-esque showdown over territory and simple resources like fuel. In this way, there are similarities to Brink but it's hardly as stern, especially where tennis ball bombs are concerned.
Gunplay is fast and furious, with quick regenerating health and a generous respawn time. Each side has five classes that cover the typical spread of soldier, sniper, heavy weapon specialist, recon, and engineer. The Resistance and Scavengers aren't completely symmetrical, but they're close enough that the gameplay remains balanced. So between the eight maps and two announced modes, both of which center around capturing spawn points, it's still a fair fight.
What separates Ravaged from the rest of the 32-player FPS landscape is the focus on vehicular combat which features ground types like simple ATVs and buggies, as well as air support like the Gyrocopter and MH-6 Mini Helicopter (which take a lot of technique to control). The majority of the ground vehicles have seats for multiple players, with perhaps one as the driver, one manning the turret, and two more just enjoying the ride while providing cover support. If any of the passengers sees another spawned vehicle, perhaps a Tractor Tank or Pickup Truck, they can easily hop off and sprint to it before the enemy team capture it.
Even with all the video game comparisons I made in the first half of this preview, it took a while to come up with them while I was playing Ravaged for the first time. That's only because it fits a hole in the FPS genre that has somehow been left behind, the kind of FPS that makes you chuckle with a tongue-in-cheek Goofy-like "geh-huh" even if you die. Best yet, Ravaged is only $24.99 for a single key or $59.99 for four keys. Ravaged releases on October 17, 2012.