How do you take control of a scorched planet that's been infected with an alien, mutating virus, battle scarred by years of war between the "pure" humans, their mutated cousins, and a race of cyborg hybrid worker drones? You do it in your car, of course - an armor-plated monster with unlimited ammunition and a desperate driver behind the wheel. That's Auto Assault, a mix of automotive mayhem and online role-playing games that will tax your rig to the max.
Fortunately for each of the three warring races, there seems to be a surplus of equipment, food and other supplies to scavenge from the broken remains of long-dead civilizations. But there's more to life than merely picking the carcass clean: you have to help your race maintain of its safe zones, fight off the constant onslaught of outsiders and make a place for yourself in the world.
Since it's a massively multiplayer online game, the deadliest enemies are other players. Not that you'll see them outside the protective steel shells of their rides. You'll spend most of your time inside four armored walls, rumbling across the tundra. Each of the four classes drives different vehicles, from motorcycles to massive trucks. Like-minded players can join up in mission groups - "convoys," natch - and go out to cause mayhem together.
The publisher calls Auto Assault the most fast paced, destructive MMO ever, and they're not wrong: chewing through enemies at high speed while flying through the air and getting shot at from all directions is the norm. The highly destructible environment offers everything from highway guardrails to rubble piles for you to blow up.
With no damage caused by terrain and no experience penalty for death, players are encouraged to throw everything into combat. The game awards bonuses the faster you take out enemies, so plow right into that crowd of scavengers and run down a half dozen with one powerslide. Even if they surround you and pump you full of lead, there's nothing to lose, except your showroom shine.
However, if your PC doesn't have guts, you'll never get the glory. Auto Assault's minimum specs feel way too low; to really enjoy the carnage, you'll need a 3.0Ghz process and as much RAM as you can stuff into your computer. This is not a game for the faint-of-hardware. Consider a hard drive upgrade too, since AA requires at least 11GB of free space just to install, and more space when the game patches. No joke: if your HD is already packed, you may need to uninstall every other game you own before you even begin to load Auto Assault.
If you're looking for an MMO with voice chat, heavy weaponry, and absolutely no elves, Auto Assault is likely the one. The game delivers on its promise of massive combat action in a twisted shadow of the world we know, albeit for a monthly $15 subscription fee and some steep tech demands. Assuming you can handle both, you'll enjoy committing vehicular manslaughter all over the scorched earth.