Dust 514 review – A monochromatic warfield
Dust 514, when announced at E3 2012, was one of the most interesting projects on show, as it set out to herald the Free-to-Play universe to home consoles. This is a huge gaming universe made by CCP, the software house behind EVE Online. The idea behind the game is that of a connection between EVE Online, CCP’s flagship MMORPG, and Dust 514, with a persistent war field where players’ actions on a single planet could really change something in the “geo-politic” assets of the galaxy. A great idea and a great team for a free-to-play deeply inspired from the gaming experience of Battlefield 2142 and other multiplayer shooters occurring in huge maps.
After days of open beta and the last big update we can finally bring you our Dust 514 review and tell you if it’s a Stairway to Heaven or a Highway to Hell.
In Dust 514 we assume the role of a space mercenary that, after choosing a breed, must use dozens of clones to fight on different planets. End of the plot! Usually an MMOFPS doesn’t need a story but in this case something more could have been a point of strength and not just an excuse to kill someone. After a good video in CG we have to make only one choice, which kind of soldier we want to be. After this there won’t be anything about the narrative context of the game, as players only have to fight, which was of course expected, but some more lore couldn’t possibly hurt.
In the character editor we can chose between four breeds, but it isn’t a vital choice because there’s no differences between any of the skills, weapons or abilities. We can’t customize anything about our character, we can only be ” grey“, as the entire game design. After this poor editor session we have to fight…a chaotic game interface. The store and other interfaces are really confusing and full of useless text. Something needs to be done to fix these problems as soon as possible because it can be the reason of so many dropouts.
As I said, Dust 514 isn’t only “inspired” by Battlefield 2142, but seems a monochromatic clone of the futuristic MMOFPS made by DICE in 2006. In the main game mode we have to capture some bases to attack the enemy spaceship with missiles, exactly the same mode known as Titan in Battlefield 2142. We can win in two ways: destroy the enemy spaceship or kill all the clones of the enemy team. The other game modes are classic for this type of game, as team death-match, but nothing really new.
During the fight there are also player-driven vehicles that we can use within the battlefield with “rapid deployment”, and they are the only thing that can really change the course of a battle. Why, you might ask? Because the gaming experience “on foot” is very poor.
The game design with that monochromatic grey color palette makes the overall visibility really chaotic, so much that it’s hard to spot the enemies. Also the feedback from weapons is strange and quite inaccurate. In fact, if you use the iron sight with rifles, guns and other weapons your point of view becomes narrower and it’s even harder to hit the enemy. I also had a pretty dumb experience with the default set for the medic: it is a syringe useful to resurrect companions but there is no indicator to find out who needs help on the battlefield; not very handy.