Well over a year ago now and closer to two years, Nuclear Dawn released and Iceberg Interactive was kind enough to let us review it beforehand. I was personally intrigued, partially because this wasn’t the publisher’s main genre and because its idea of blending shooter and strategy together sounded like the best thing since that weird Command & Conquer Renegade game. They need to do a remake of that one, by the way.
Sadly, by the time it was set to launch, the game was still suffering from overbearing issues, prevalent in the mod scene from whence it came. To illustrate: Nuclear Dawn is forever imprinted in my mind for the sole shooter experience where, after 10 hours of gameplay, I only racked up 1 kill. A sole kill for multiple hours of labor and infinite deaths; that works on even the most kind-hearted soul’s nerve. In my review, I stated that despite a good appeal, there was no way to reach this online-only game’s inner sanctum. Those that knew how to play already reigned supreme and those that entered it were their tribute.
That is, until I came back to the game this week to farm it for Steam trading cards. While uninterested at first, I did want to give it another chance after all this time. Lo and behold; they had changed their ways considerably. One of the prime things in aforementioned review was this quote:
“[Nuclear Dawn] needs to severely loosen the leash. If there’s one game that would profit from having bot play or a campaign mode to learn the ropes, it would be this one. Unfortunately, as it doesn’t, Nuclear Dawn is a fun ride that most will only experience vicariously through others, while getting chewed up and spat out themselves.”
Therefore, I was quite surprised when loading up the game, I found a way to play with bots on a map of my choosing. Not only does it help me learn maps, hone my skills, but most of all, it allows me hop into the pilot seat of the otherwise elusive Commander mode. It turns out that when there isn’t a team of vile insulters chewing you out, the commander position is easy to pick up and learn. Simply take in resources, make one or two researches and then complete the rest in an easy to manage network. Now, bots aren’t of decent quality and there is some clunky feel to controlling the commander view, but what’s important here is the ability to learn mechanisms for yourself, before getting destroyed online. I can’t be held fully responsible for the addition, though I feel like my statement at least contributed to it. I can now finally let go of my grudge towards Nuclear Dawn. Hell, if I had more time, I’d be up to play it a lot more now. It’s a pretty great game.
To give you a view of how things went down, I recorded such a match and provided gameplay commentary. You’ll be able to see Commander mode for yourself, as well as the benefits of the buildings, abilities and so on. Hopefully it will trigger more people to revisit the game.