The Unreal engine is getting around a lot these days, and the latest game to pop up powered by Epic's technology is Devastation. Developed by Digitalo, it's promising online and bot-based teamplay modes along with a complete twenty mission single player campaign.
Guns, Lots Of Guns
Set in the now familiar cyberpunk world dominated by corporations, Devastation pits you against big business as part of a resistance group. The graphics throughout are suitably foreboding, from the bomb-damaged factory in the opening level to a chase across the rooftops with sentry guns and guards to take care of.
Luckily then you have access to a bewildering array of guns and other weapons to aid you in your quest, including everything from knives and pistols to chainguns, grenades and sniper rifles. My personal favourite though was the "rat drone". Simply drop the poor rodent on the ground and, thanks to a chip implanted in its head, you can steer it around to sneak past guards and find your way through pipes and holes, seeing everything it sees. The hapless animal even has some explosives strapped to it, so if you come across someone you want to blow up, just press the appropriate button and you have an instant shower of meaty chunks. Tasteful.
Thanks to the much lauded physics engine that's been included with recent versions of the Unreal technology, the game also allows you to use your surroundings to your advantage. For example, if you find a bottle on the ground you can smash it against a wall and then use it as a weapon. Or you can grab an empty can and throw it off into the distance to distract someone. Accidentally kicking beer cans or moving things around makes noise, so it's even possible to drop litter behind you to make it harder for people to sneak up on you while you're busy sniping. And on a purely aesthetic level, the "rag doll" physics means that when you shoot somebody their body will slump in a realistic manner, rather than simply landing horizontally on the floor with bits sticking into walls and hanging out over ledges or stairs.
Devastation might not have the most imaginative setting or back story, but hopefully it will make up for that with action-packed gameplay and a vast selection of entertaining weapons. We've yet to see the multiplayer modes in action, but the sheer variety of tactics made possible by the physics engine and plentiful weapons can't hurt. And with the game due out in Europe this November courtesy of HD Interactive, we should know more soon...