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Have You Played... Dystopia?

Cyberspace and meatspace meet

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

If I’m mentioning NeoTokyo, I have to ask about Dystopia [official site] too. If the two Source mods could be combined in some kind of magical combine-o-tron, I’d be so happy. NeoTokyo has the style but Dystopia has the guts. It’s a multiplayer cyberpunk FPS with implants, mechsuits, zapguns, and an actual flipping cyberspace for deckers to jack in and zip around hacking servers to help teamies in meatspace. Gosh!

Dystopia has the setup of cyberpunk dreams. Levels have a series of objectives in a Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory way, with one team pushing forward and the other trying to hold them back (it’s punks vs. The Man, obvs). You might need to destroy a reactor, blow open a barrier, escort a hostage, or hack something.

That last bit is really great. Alongside meatspace, each level has cyberspace for specially-equipped deckers to jack into. They zip around as an avatar, trying to breach security and take down enemy deckers. Hacking is vital for some objectives, and can provide handy little meatspace benefits like capturing sentry turrets. Oh, and of course people in meatspace need to defend deckers’ bodies as they stand zoned-out at jacking-in points, and meaties can secure more terminals for extra deckers. Meatspace and cyberspace complement each other just as you’d dream.

I remember a lot of spammy chokepoints and a lot of waiting. A lot of uncoordinated teams. A lot of frustration. A lot of nobbers running around cloaked swinging cyberswords then detonating their cortex bombs (I played some dire rounds, okay). But when a team came together, it could be wonderful.

Dystopia is free to download on Steam, though for now you’ll need to follow a workaround too. Seems a few people still play, on and off.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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