Snap126Devastation is a first person shooter that takes place in a bombed out future run by an evil corporation bent on world domination (now where have we heard that before?). As you progress through the story in the single player game you add more and more people to fight alongside you in the aptly, if not originally, named Resistance. Many of the linear missions in Devastation will feature team-based gameplay, which could potentially translate to you mowing down heaps of lame-brained AI bad guys while you babysit your lame-brained team members.

Fortunately, you can cast aside those fears. With the exception of a few early missions, protecting your comrades is a non-issue. The plot of Devastation revolves around replication technology, and once you get the corporation’s “spawners†working for you, your team is free to run blindly into enemy fire and play hot potato with live grenades. And they will. Repeatedly. But thanks to the miracles of post-modern technology, they’re safely resurrected at the nearest spawner under your control in only a few seconds, good as new, and ready to go running off to their deaths once again (or twice, or three hundred times…).

However, being relieved of the obligation of safeguarding your team doesn’t necessarily make their antics any more tolerable. Through most of the 22 missions that make up the single-player campaign, your main objective is taking out the enemy spawner, and you will need the help of your team to do it. For those who have played multiplayer games like Assault or Capture the Flag with teammates who refuse to cooperate and generally run around like deranged monkeys, this is nothing new. While you can give your team some orders, the results are woefully inadequate.

The four commands—attack, defend, follow, and hold—are barely obeyed, and only until the enemy is spotted; at that point, they default back to monkey time. It can be extremely frustrating when you need them to cover you while you download codes or deactivate an enemy laser fence, tasks which are required to complete almost every level. But the real highlights are when they sometimes walk into lasers or burning cars until they die. Go team!

That aside, and it’s a pretty big aside, Devastation neither wows nor woes. Running on a foundation of Unreal engine technology, its graphics are passable, but never really original. The world has a generic punked-out look of some place that is in big, big trouble and could use a lot of saving by the good guys. The lighting and particle effects fall short of stunning, but land safely in the plus side of the spectrum. Friends and foes alike are nicely modeled. The usual subjects of weaponry are all there — pistols, shotguns, rifles, etc, plus some more advanced sci-fi weapons later on.

Snap32Devastation is a game that seems to suffer from confusion as to what it wants to be. Single-player mode feels so much like playing a multiplayer game with a bunch of your dumbest “friends†it makes you wonder if it really wants to be a single player game at all. Playing online is adequate, but nothing that hasn’t been done before and better. There is also a feeling that Devastation seems to want to be a strategy-shooter hybrid, but the tools just aren’t there. There’s no tactical map, no way to give more complicated orders, and no reasonable sense that they’d be followed anyway. Little fun ensues as a result.

Devastation is story-driven but completely derivative and pointless in the end. The thrill of finally overcoming it all and completing a mission quickly wanes when you realize that the next mission is just more of the same in a different level. Only those truly desperate for a new shooter should enlist in this rebellion.

System Requirements: Pentium III 1 Ghz, 256 MB RAM, 1 GB HDD, WinXP

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