Ever since I played "Dino D-Day" I've been slightly worried about source mods converting into a indie games, especially the multiplayer ones such as "Orion Prelude" and "Nuclear Dawn". I've been watching ND for some time and was slightly mixed on it, but you know what they say "never judge a book by it's cover" so what is this
game made up of?
The main quirk of Nuclear Dawn is you can switch from a FPS view to a top down RTS view where you can place buildings such as turrets and dispensers. There two big catches to this; one you haft to be a commander to do this and two everything needs a little thing call electricity. This gives a new dynamic to the game. However though you may think it, but this isn't a new idea in fact this hole action RTS idea was nocking around back in the old Half-Life 1 days. "Natural Selection" first had the exact same idea (which in fact a sequel for Natural Selection is planed to come out next year).
The problem I had with "Natural Selection" was that being a commander was hard and extremely confusing to understand. "Nuclear Dawn" fixes this problem with some very easy to understand tutorials, however the problem is that there's no practice mode so the only way to refine your skills is in multiplayer. Also getting picked to be a commander is just blind luck and half the time you'll get kicked. Now I was only able to play about 5 times as commander so needless to say I didn't really master it.
Most maps are well built and has this strange feeling that your always progressing, I haven't really put my finger on it but it maybe due to the fact that the levels are made for you to go anywhere so flanking is key and easy to do. There are some levels I didn't like, for example "Metro" didn't really work however I put that down to the colour pallet, everything just blends together into a ugly look. However Metro is just the exception most of the maps are vibrant and easy to navigate. It's design I truly praise in Level Design because you can see where your going and what your doing and the maps still has this style that makes it stand out and fun to play.
There are four classes to choose from which boil down to assault, spy, heavy and support. Each of these classes has different load-outs to choose from and there own special skill. For example the spy's special skill is that he can tern invisible and backstab players, while assault has a sort of inferred view which can see invisible spies. There very well balanced and are all very distinct. Most classes come with at-least two different load outs for example the assault class has a machine gun load out, a sniper load out and a grenade launcher loud out. Each comes with 2 perk slots which you can pick.
You unlock perks from levelling up the problem is that there's no point to this levelling up system, it would be allot better if you had all the perks unlocked from the beginning as you can only pick one perk at the beginning and levels take so long that it takes forever and your thinking to yourself "was it worth the wait" the answer most of the time is "no doesn't fit my style" also there about 12 perks in total so there's only going to be two or three you'll find useful.
Of things to come from Nuclear Dawn. As it uses Valves Source engine a SDK is on the way and the Devs say that the best community made maps will make it into the updates and become official maps (like in TF2) So modders get ready. Also in the original Nuclear Dawn mod vehicles where going to be included however they haven't made it into the game. However recently in a interview with the devs vehicles where talked about and it seemed like there could be something coming later down the line, but only time will tell if it's true or not.
Interwave have made a fantastic little game which is well made and has a lot of polished. I hope this game gets a big community because I would love to play more of this. Keep your eyes on these people because there's a lot of talent here.