Upplagd: 29 maj
There were very few games like "Nuclear Dawn" prior to its release; only the original "Natural Selection" and one (maybe two) other games fit in the same black sheep category of FPS/RTS. There was ample fun to be had in the game's myriad roles: you could sit in your team's bunker as the commander and spread buildings deliberately towards the enemy base in a game of chess, supplying and defending your pawns; you could play as the hulking siege, crushing the other team's build-out; you could suit up as the the equivalent of the heavy in "Team Fortress 2" to lock down valuable resource points; you could slip through enemy lines as the stealth, literally turning invisible until you were ready to stab sieges, snipers, or even commanders in the back; you could play as a support, healing teammates, repairing the commander's buildings, or wielding flamethrowers and gas grenades; or you could be an "assault" to hunt down spies with your thermal vision and protect all of the other classes around the map.
Ultimately, the game wasn't just about kill-death ratios, the FPS's typical "gold star" award; it was about cooperating with a commander who linked power plants, relays, spawn points, and supply stations across the map to feed you ammo, while you grabbed and defended resource points to help him or her build these structures. Sometimes the matches were over in an instant, with expert commanders extending a few relays right to another commander's base while veteran players held down resource points. Other times, matches turned into classic trench warfare as expert teams clashed, or new players stumbled. Sometimes, commanders were demoted, either because they couldn't get the job done or their teammates didn't understand how to do the job for them. There was little room for goofing off, but plenty of room for brilliantly-executed plans.
The game always suffered from a lack of buy-in; it was rare to find all of the servers filled to capacity, and tournament organization was difficult. However, this was counterbalanced by an incredibly close-knit community which simply had fun together, as well as working on mods and Steam Workshop additions. Even as the developer's support waned and server populations dwindled further, the community remained for some time.
While the subsequently released "Natural Selection 2" was graphically astonishing, I found it to be incredibly demanding on my sub-par rig when it came out. This is still a plus over what some might consider previous-gen graphics in the case of ND, although the innovative gameplay more than made up for the graphical shortcomings. The gameplay styles in ND and NS2 were also incredibly different, with NS2 being incredibly fast-paced; the learning curve in NS2 was nearly impossible if, like me, you had no experience jumping into the game. Again, this wasn't necessarily a bad thing, just a difference. The units in ND's two different factions were somewhat unique, although some of these differences were not as big as they could have been - particularly when one looks at the "aliens vs. marines" dynamic of NS2.
However, these comparisons aren't really fair. On it's own - and for its time - ND was a fantastic blast, and still could be. If you can still find a server to play on, it's absolutely worth a shot. For $10, it's not much of a risk at any rate, particularly if a sale happens along.