Posted: December 11
When Dystopia came out in 2005 as a mod for the then brand-spankin'-new Half-Life 2, the screen shots looked cool enough that I decided to use a gigantic chunk of my internet's monthly download limit (gg, Aussie internet) to give it a try.
What followed absolutely set my personal bench mark for online FPS games for the next decade.
It may be just a mod, and it may have been released by a small team- but make no mistake. 10 years later, there hasn't been a single multiplayer game released that even comes remotely close to touching Dystopia in terms of how good it is. Halo and CoD with their multi-million dollar budgets? Get that ♥♥♥♥ out of here. It's not even on the same planet, and I say that as a player of both. That this mod died out never having recieved the attention it deserved is one of gaming's biggest unknown tragedies.
The split objective system which sees each team attempting to take objectives in both the real world and the cyber world requires a level of coordination and teamwork that no FPS has even attempted to recreate since. You can dominate on the field as much as you want, blasting the other team to kingdom come as soon as they respawn- but unless you have a guy in cyberspace that knows what he's doing to get those doors open for you, you aren't going anywhere near the objective, sorry. The thrill of successfully sneaking behind enemy lines to find a hacking terminal that you can use to quickly unlock an unwatched backdoor or call an elevator to let in your friends with the big guns is a huge rush.
The class system lets you choose from a standard 3-class list (light, medium, heavy) each with it's own possible loadouts. Maybe you'll be a light cloaked stealth guy with hacking gear. Maybe you'll be a walking behemoth with a rocket launcher on one arm and a pneumatic fist to punch people's heads off on the other. The weapons are balanced nicely and there's no 'perfect' loadout that trumps them all, it's just important to have the right one at the right time.
Dystopia remains to this day the only game I would unflinchingly give a 10/10. Download it. Tell your friends. Bring it back.