DUST 514, created and developed by CPP Games, the same masterminds behind the awesome behemoth of EVE Online, is changing the gaming landscape forever. Cross-play has been something that’s happened in gaming before; Nintendo has done it with the Wii and DS, and Sony added it to the Vita and PS3. However, CCP Games is going even further. Their previously established universe of EVE Online is getting an expansion.
The worlds of EVE and DUST are connected; corporations in EVE can send out contracts for missions on certain planets, and mercs in DUST can accept them for some handsome hazard pay. As a merc on the battlefield, you can coordinate with your employer to send down orbital strikes from ships that hover over the battlefield.
Putting all of the technological infrastructure aside, DUST is one of the deepest shooters I’ve ever seen. For purposes of the closed beta, you’re given a couple million points to distribute to your character, upgrading things from assault rifle ability to additional drop suit upgrades. For a beta, it was pretty overwhelming, even for a veteran of both shooters and MMOs. The CCP Games staff said it would take years to max every stat and upgrade out. That rivals Battlefield 3‘s ambitious 2 year plan.
Gameplay-wise, DUST is hectic at first. It takes a bit to get used to the controls, and I’ve had my share of spawning in front of enemies only to die again. Higher-level players aren’t necessarily better than you skill-wise, but they are better equipped than you. This can be frustrating for newer players, and can be seen as an unfair advantage. However, once you overcome this steep curve of frustration and learning, DUST is flat-out fun. Whether it’s dominating the battlefield as an infantry unit, or getting in a vehicle and tearing the other team apart, DUST offers many different ways to dispatch your enemy. Personally, I specialized in assault rifles and upgrading my drop suit. Sure I took out plenty of infantry units during the shorter 15 minute ambush matches, but when confronted by a skilled LAV or HAV pilot, I was decimated in seconds.
Other than lag, constant desynchronization, and bad spawning, this is easily one of the best shooters I’ve played. The controls are smooth and responsive, but they’re not your traditional CoD mechanics. I wish I could customize the controls to better suit my tastes, but that’s just me nitpicking. DUST 514 launches exclusively for PS3 later this year, free of charge. I’ll be downloading it. Will you?