|Dev: CCP Games|
|Pub: CCP Games|
|Release: June 29, 2012 (open beta)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Josh Wirtanen
DUST 514 is an enigma, in that the concept is so innovative and complex that the game shouldn't even exist yet. But it does exist currently, in playable, though not yet public, form. Cheat Code Central's "Team Josh" (myself and Contributing Writer Josh Engen) got some face time with the game while at E3 this year, and we compared notes afterward.
For the uninitiated, DUST 514 is a PS3-exclusive component of EVE Online, one that is so completely integrated into the EVE world that it almost couldn't function if separated from it. In fact, EVE and DUST both exist on a single, unified server, going as far as to share a single economy. They even share the same "namespace," so if there's a character named "Dustbunny" in EVE, you can't create a character named "Dustbunny" in DUST.
However, where EVE is a space-faring MMO, DUST is a first-person shooter that plays a bit like a Halo game (though Aim-Down-Sights is in play here). Essentially, EVE has players and "Corporations" battling over control of planets, and DUST puts players into the shoes of the soldiers fighting these battles on the ground. DUST players will be able to interact with EVE players in real-time. For example, DUST players can "paint" areas on the map where they want a tactical air strike, and EVE players will see these areas from space and be the ones actually pulling the trigger on these air strikes.
Speaking of planets, EVE Online contains thousands of planets, literally, and all of these are fair game for DUST players to fight on. The reps we spoke with weren't clear on whether this would mean that there would be thousands of maps, that particular maps would be reused, or if there would be some sort of randomly generated terrain in play. However, we were told that an expansion is planned for 2013, which will add "hostile terrain" such as lava flows.
While this sounds like it could be problematic, making it a headache to find a planet with any action on it, CCP has actually implemented it all brilliantly. First of all, the Corporations in EVE carry over into DUST, so if you are part of a corporation that wants to take over a planet, you will have a definite planet in mind to battle on, where there will most likely be resistance. But for players who want to skip all that Corporation stuff, there are NPC-delivered contracts to herd players into active areas of the game. In fact, players can even offer contracts to kill another player they have a particular problem with, meaning the option to be a contract killer is on the table.
When you spawn on the actual battlefield, you are a cloned soldier. This means that every time you respawn, a fresh soldier is cloned. This also means that when you die, you lose the weapons you were carrying for good. Thankfully, you buy your weapons in bulk, so if you buy, say, a sniper rifle, you'll buy a quantity of 50 sniper rifles. Once you die, you will lose the one you're carrying, but you will still have 49 left.
The game mode we played was called Skrimish, and it functioned like a Call of Duty Domination match: There were various points across the map that we were trying to hack into and capture. We could spawn on any point we had captured. (We were also told there's a TDM mode called Ambush, though neither of us got to play it.)
Additionally, players are able to call down vehicles from space (almost like in Starhawk), which are able to come down anywhere on the map where it's feasibly possible for them to land. In fact, during my play session, another player had called in a gunship, and I was able to spawn directly into it.