Developer: New World Interactive
Publisher: New World Interactive
Available: Now on Steam for PC/Mac £10.99
Based on a 2007 mod for the ever popular, if slightly creaking source engine. Insurgency is a team focused multiplayer FPS available on Steam. With the shooter genre as saturated as Frugal Daz’s pants at the launch of a new Apple product, does Insurgency offer anything to make it stand out from the crowd?
Diving In The Deep End
I took my first tentative steps into Insurgency within the tutorial mode, considering that lots of multiplayer shooters offer you the opportunity to cut your teeth with a single player campaign, it appeared to be a welcome inclusion in the solely multiplayer focused game. The training section was nearly as far as I got, its a woeful broken mess. I can forgive the fact that the instructor during this segment it quite simply the worlds best ventriloquist, I swear his lips never moved once! What is unforgivable however, is the myriad of bugs that more often than not leave you unable to complete the training.
Events fail to trigger- leaving you stuck between objectives and woe betide you if a grenade accidentally kills you, you’ll have to start the whole thing again. The tutorial leaves me grateful that a single player campaign isn’t part of the package, I dread to think what a mess the developers would make of it if they can’t handle a half hour training exercise.
Fools Rush In
So! On to the bread and butter of the game. It offers twelve maps; five adversarial modes with a couple of co-op options and all are available from the off. If you’re expecting the shoot, kill, get killed then re-spawn mechanic like other shooters, Insurgency definitely isn’t for you. Nearly all the game modes revolve around capturing, defending or attacking enemy control points, called supply points in this game. If you die, which believe me you will, spectator mode will be the only sport on offer here – until your team manages to achieve one of the aforementioned objectives. All of your vanquished team mates will then re-spawn, with the idea that as a squad, you advance on the objectives once more.
The reasoning behind this cycle of life and death is a clear push to promote good team work, however in nearly 10 hours of playing, I’ve yet to hear anyone in my teams communicate, despite me incessantly blathering on into my microphone.
Its both the harsh reality of death, where one shot can and will kill you. Coupled with the strict re-spawn system that will leave you as a spectator, more than playing. It left me wishing that the developers had included a standard game mode with quicker re-spawns. Whilst against the whole ethos of the game, it would at least allow players more hands on time with both maps and the actual game itself. By doing this, the learning curve would not be quite so frustrating, enabling you to actually be effective in all the other modes without having to sink in tens of hours.
Are You Ready?
At the start of each match players choose which discipline they want to be, different classes have different weapons, so you won’t end up facing off against a team of all out snipers etc. However, if a team-mate chooses ahead of you, you may well end up playing a class you’re not comfortable with.
Upon selecting a specialisation, players can then equip their solider how they see fit. Everything in your load-out, from the guns themselves, attachments, explosives, side arms and armour have a points cost with ten points available to spend. This does lead to a lot of variety, but for some incomprehensible reason, an option to save your load-outs or tweak them from the main menu is strangely absent. Having to alter this every match really is a tiresome endeavour, in fact I’ve now given up and just stick to the pre-baked options, definitely an opportunity missed.
Back Street Affair
The twelve maps where the action takes place and bullets bullets will be flying are pretty much split between urban area’s, with predictable choke points and more rural open spaces, where snipers and marksmen rule. The tight alleyways and thoroughfares tend to work better, but you will find yourself battling over the same piece of dirt in repeat plays of the same map. On the flipside the outdoor areas feel very unfocused, you’re much more likely to die before you even spot the enemy. If you are not quick enough to select the Sniper or Marksman class you’ll be back in that spectator mode before you know it.
None of the maps really stand out, graphically or in terms of game-play, which combined with problems already mentioned make it hard to learn the intricacies of each area. I found them generic at best and boring at worst – devoid of the dynamic and engaging ebb and flow of combat that can be found in other tactical shooters.
How Does It Feel?
Glitchy. I checked the store page more than once to make sure I wasn’t missing the fact that this was a beta release, unfortunately its not. Whilst shooting, aiming down the sights and turning all feel natural. In fact I’d go as far to say that it offers some poor weapon handling, its let down by shonky movement controls.
The games slow pace of movement is intentional, however I’m pretty sure if I was dashing around under fire, I’d move my backside a bit faster than if I was running for the bus. At times it feels as if you’re playing on a thin sheet of ice, your character movement feels a bit floaty, like you’ve had one too many Babycham down the local discotheque, which may explain my next issue.
Having never been in a fire-fight, I can’t comment with any authority, but I’m pretty sure I’d manage to get through a door without hitting the frame. The same goes for just about any element in the environment, hug a corner too tightly and you come to a full stop. Moving around a trash can? Forget it. A fallen log? Better find another way. Cover, which is a rather useful thing in FPS, especially when the game is modelled on realistic damage, is a complete pain in the backside. It’s better off avoided altogether unless you intend to camp in one spot. It’s things like this that completely took me away from full immersion after the game has managed to build so much immersion up.
So it sounds pretty shit right? Well for all its faults, I do keep going back for more. The intense but short battles that can occasionally unfold, are at times absolutely captivating. Cautiously advancing though the maps to enemy objectives, trying not to run blindly into the muzzle of an assault rifle- really does build atmosphere. I think the pay-off for playing with your friends, (like in Payday 2 as an example), would be huge. However the game just doesn’t feel complete or quite competent enough for me to recommend that any of them to purchase it, at least not yet.
I’ve struggled and also been reluctant to score this game, it definitely feels like a beta and not a polished end product. This is however, a full release. I will will watch with interest as the developer updates it, at the minute its a solid if rather sloppy game, but it is chock full of potential waiting to be fulfilled.