by Ingvi Snædal
previewed on PC
Before I started working in this industry, I used to complain a lot about how pathetic it was that no matter what game you play, you’re always playing an American. Turns out, the market wasn’t to blame. We were. The game journalism industry appears to ignore anything that doesn’t come from a Western studio, and therefore, most of the great Eastern European games are ignored. Luckily, we here at Hooked Gamers have a longstanding relationship with these developers and love seeing the industry growing as rapidly there as it does in the West. Nuclear Union is an upcoming game from 1C Company, developed by Best Way, the minds behind the Men of War series; and if the final product is as good as the premise, it might just be worth picking up.
On October 29th 1962, the US launched a full-scale bombardment of the Soviet missile sites in Cuba. The Soviets responded by launching nuclear strikes from Cuba on three key areas of the US. A nuclear war ensued. You will play as a high ranking Soviet pilot who took part in strikes on US soil, but it is back in Russia where the action takes place. You find yourself in the Moscow region in 2012.
The whole world has been decimated by nuclear war but the Soviet government still stands, weakened though it may be. You are carrying secret documents that you are obliged to hand over to a superior officer. In order to do this, you’ll have to progress through a number of Soviet outposts, traverse the radioactive wilderness, battle bandits and mutated monsters, and solve environmental puzzles. If this all sounds familiar to you, keep in mind that this is the Soviet union, with Soviet weapons, a Soviet setting, Soviet vodka, and a Soviet plot with Soviet moral choices.
The game is created by Best Way on a new version of their in-house graphics engine. You will be able to recruit up to two party members to accompany you on your travels and, although you will not be able to control them directly, you will be able to issue commands to them during combat. That aspect of the game is still in the works, however, but what we do know is that the game will feature a system similar to the VAT system in Fallout 3, where the player can select body-parts to attack and then watch as his character takes them out in slow motion. The game will feature loads of interesting an unfamiliar weapons as the weapons manufacturing industry of the Soviet union moved underground when the bombs started falling and some of the prototypes we never saw in reality will make an appearance in their theoretical present forms in the game.
Environmental puzzles in the form of anomalies will colour the landscape. One such, shown at this year’s Gamescom, was a sort of gravitational core that had debris floating around it. Some of the debris was stationary with others in orbit around them. The moving piece of debris would have to be touched in order to stop it, which would send another one flying. In this manner, the player would have to progress through the anomaly or alternatively, figure out a way to make one of the pieces crash into the anomaly’s core, allowing them to loot whatever object is inside. Other anomalies will be present.
As this game is still in early development, little else is known about it. What we saw at Gamescom didn’t look much in the way of graphics, but I find the setting incredibly appealing. What intrigues me the most is how little a part the United States play in its story. It will undoubtedly be a refreshing change of pace to play a Soviet officer, in Russia, and not be considered the antagonist.