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Nuclear Union First Look

by Joost "Myrthos" Mans, 2013-09-16

During Gamescom Russian publisher 1C showed a first playable build of Nuclear Union in its current state, which they said was pre-alpha. It only covered a small part of the game at the beginning of the story. This article describes the elements that were shown in this demo.

The overall story has not changed with respect to our previous preview. Nuclear Union takes place in an alternative reality where the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 ended in a nuclear war in which our hero was a member of a bomber plane ordered to bomb the United States. On their way back, the plane crashed on Soviet territory knocking our hero unconscious. Once he wakes up he finds himself somehow 50 years in the future and wants to find out what happened. For this he needs to reach the capital to report in and learn what has happened to him.

In most games a post-apocalyptic world is in compete anarchy. In Nuclear Union however the Russian state never collapsed completely. There are gangs and savages roaming the wild, but there still is a Russian government in place that secures certain areas of the former Soviet Union. The plot for the game has been written by a famous Russian Science Fiction author named Alexander Zorich (which is actually a pseudonym, behind which there are two Ukrainian writers).

The demo showed the hero in a local settlement where he talks to the head of the settlement to tell him that he needs to get to the capital to report in as he crashed his plane. The head of the settlement does not believe our hero, as no planes have flown for 50 years. Still, he does mention that in order to get to the capitol he needs a helicopter to fly across the contaminated area in order to get closer to the capital, but only the local bandits have an operational one so they are the ones to talk to.

Before we go there however we are off to buy some weapons in the shop. The demo only had a couple of hand guns in this stage. They promised to have a whole range of weapons available in the final game, especially more powerful ones, but for now we had to do with hand guns.

The game does not have an open world, but uses zones that allow you to move from one area to the next, which takes only a short time. On the world map all these areas that can be visited will be visible. The amount of visited and to visit areas will grow as you progress in the games. You can always go back to any area you visited before, so none of them will be locked. In some cases it is even a requirement to visit areas again to solve quests.

Nuclear Union allows you to have companions that follow and assist you. You cannot control these companions and they will use their own AI to assist you in combat. In the demo there was only one companion, but they did mention that the maximum amount of companions will probably be something like two, depending on further balancing. The companions can be selected from a larger group of potential companions you will encounter during your travels.

The game has a pause option that can be used during combat. Once triggered it is possible to aim more precisely to an area of the body of the opponent and do more damage. However to use this pause mode special action points are needed. These action points will slowly regenerate over time, making sure you cannot use this option too often and make the game too easy.

The combat in the game for the most part looked rather straightforward and is for the main part about aiming and shooting and making sure you are not hit too often. The tactical element in the game that was shown was related to the pause option and knowing what the weak spots are of the monster or opponent you are fighting against. As the demo always had a full amount of action points, it was possible to use the pause option very often, so most fights were not that challenging. I do think that the fights will be much more difficult with the pause option working as intended, but that was not made clear in this demo.

There will be a skill tree for each of the different weapon types, allowing you to become more proficient in using the ones you like best. You gain skill points for a particular weapon by firing it. The more you use it the more points you end up with. At the moment there are only skill trees for weapons and health, but work is commencing on the RPG system adding more skills to that system, implementing skill trees for things like; dexterity, strength, luck etc.

One of the important elements in the game are the anomalies that are present throughout the game world. These anomalies can be game changers that can either help or hinder you. In this build only one of these anomalies was shown where your temperature would rise when getting closer to the anomaly and if you would not stop and go back you would burn. The demo did not really make clear how these anomalies influcene the world and the actions you can take, but there is a bit more info on that in our previous preview.

The road to the helicopter will result in you having to solve different quests for the gang leader. In the dialogue it is often possible to select a different path that will allow solving a quest in a different way from fighting. These alternative paths will only succeed if the required skill levels you need are high enough. Then again being successful in combat requires sufficient high levels of your weapon skills as well.

It will still take quite some time until the game is finished (Q2-2014) and many parts that are planned are not in the current version of the game, the most visible of these are voice overs and lip-synchronization, but the current version looks already quite nice visually and played without any problems. So here is hoping that the game will implement all the missing parts in the right way resulting in a great game.

And as a last comment I can also say that Space Rangers HD, which has been available in Russia for some time, is now in beta with the translation being finalized.

Box Art

Information about

Nuclear Union

Developer: Best Way

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Post-Apoc
Genre: Action-RPG
Combat: Pausable Real-time
Play-time: 20-40 hours
Voice-acting: Full

Regions & platforms
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Cancelled
· Publisher: 1C Company

More information

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