Platform: PC, PS4, XONE
Release Date: December 12, 2018
If you pay attention to changes in wishes of multiplayer shooter gamers, one can find the demand for realistic FPS games as quite stable. Classic shoot’em-up games like DOOM are rare nowadays. People want real ballistics and damage models. And, there is nothing to say about realistic weapons and equipment: no endless ammo is allowed.
Long ago, when realism was not that popular, the Half-Life 2 mod titled Insurgency: Modern Infantry Combat became a valuable thing for people expecting more of an FPS-style game. As it frequently happens, the mod appeared as a standalone game later and got quite positive user reviews. Today, gamers who are hardcore writers from the cheapest essay writing service will tell about the newly released Insurgency: Sandstorm which released in December 2018.
Old Friends Are Best Friends
The main Sandstorm idea remains unchanged since the launch of the original 10-years ago. Here, you meet two rival teams: Insurgents and Security. Teams fight each other somewhere in the Middle East. Each team has goals that can be achieved by eliminating opponents. Battles are standard: they all include capture or defense of checkpoints in different variations on different maps. At first glance, it seems that there is nothing new to speak about. But Insurgency is not that simple.
There are three main game modes: cooperative fights vs AI opponents, team battles with up to 32 participants, and 5v5 ranked games. AI fights can serve as training grounds and nothing more. They are doubtfully worth your attention.
Ranked games are more interesting: here Insurgency makes a small step towards being a competitive game service like Rainbow Six Siege. Another relating feature: player statistics including almost every detail up to the number of seconds you spend crouching.
Still, I didn’t find competitive matches very interesting: as for 10 players, maps could be smaller. In addition, cooperation with random teammates is usually poor. Perhaps, this mode can bring more fun if you have friends on your team, but for now, it is only for players who need that competitive ranked game element exactly.
If you want to understand what Insurgency really is, play 16 vs 16 skirmishes and enjoy it. Here is the full variety of content presented: many players, large maps, different fighter classes, and equipment and weapon kits. Gear deserves a separate description as the whole gameplay seriously depends on it.
Before the Storm
Customization in Sandstorm includes three points:
- Character’s appearance: face, camouflage, accessories from gloves and boots to tattoos.
- Class: the number of single class fighters on the map is limited to maintain balance. For instance, there can be only two commanders and two snipers in a team. Of course, only gunners can start with machineguns and demolition specialists with grenade launchers, but nothing prevents you from taking the gun of a killed player directly in action.
- Equipment: the chosen class influences the precise gear set you carry.
These systems let the players choose individual equipment parts based on their own playstyle or the chosen role.
Two classes stand out separately: Commander and Observer. The Commander directly controls the fight… well, they are supposed to do that, but if you’re expecting good cooperation with random players then you’re naïve. Nevertheless, Commanders have their threads to change the battlefield situation, and only one good Observer is needed to use them all. I mean calling serious support of different kinds: from artillery strikes to the pack of unmanned air drones (Insurgents and Security have their own variations of such abilities).
Why do you need an Observer? Because Commanders are helpless without them: the Observer has to be nearby to let the Commander call the helicopter, for instance. Otherwise, the Commander can only shout into the radio trying to order the Observer to take the position ASAP.
Another cool fact: use microphones carefully, because nearby enemies can hear you. That’s realistic, just like many things in Sandstorm.
I’ve mentioned realism not accidentally – you’ll have much of it here. One-bullet-death is usual. You need to take inertia into account while running: there’s no way to spin around in-place quickly to avoid being hit. Banal things like severe weapon recoil and suppressing fire simulation are present, too. By the way, forget about hit markers – realism is realism.
As a rule, more realism means less dynamic gameplay.
But, Insurgency is the exception. Developers did a great job: they could set enough realism in the game without sacrificing action dynamics to it. To win, you need both quick skilled hands and cold mind. First you think, and then you act.
Yes, it is better to fight carefully. Yes, you need to wait 30 seconds on average to respawn. But the feeling of a serious firefight stays with you every second. Excellent sounds matter a lot for the atmosphere: explosions, shots, bullet hits, and wounded men shouts are not worse than those in a good movie.
Mission Plan Issues
I wish I could say something good about graphics, locations, and their design – but I can’t. There are not many maps, though they’re designed and processed pretty well: lever designers cared about gameplay, too. For example, there are no many win-win positions for “camping”.
Unfortunately, the game suffers much because of bugs and bad optimization. Low-quality textures, jamming doors you can’t pass through, “invisible” soldiers with only their armor and weapon visible: this all prevents from enjoying the game. One of the most irritating issues: short but serious frame rate drops when watching through the scope. Maybe, my hardware was the reason, but I couldn’t solve this trouble even after switching to the lowest graphics preset. It’s not pleasant to get hit in close quarter combats because of such “freezing” frames.
Insurgency is just like the developers describes it: a really hardcore tactical shooter. There is more than enough tactics, but you can have fun without teamwork as well if you want. Lots of hardcore realistic features do not dominate high action gameplay dynamics. And Sandstorm definitely is a shooter: weapon models, customization and sound let you enjoy the shooting process as it is.
All that is left to do is to fix bugs and optimize performance. Let’s hope developers won’t have any problems with that.
+ Realistic weapons and damage models.
+ Balanced dynamics and hardcore combination.
– Bad optimization.
– Not enough maps.
Final Review: 4 out of 5.