Insurgency Review - Standing out from the crowd


Matt Hadden (Twitter, Google+)
3rd Feb 2014, 2:43pm

Insurgency has been around for a long time now, and the previous Half Life 2 mod has now made its way into a commercial release on Steam, built using the Source Engine. You might groan and think "another FPS title" but Insurgency does a good job at not being just another FPS title.

Story

The game is solely built around multiplayer meaning that isn't any sort of single player campaign or story to the game other than the one that you create yourself. The description of the game states that you play as either the Insurgents or a Security task force in a variety of game modes where you have to outsmart your opponents to win the match.

You are given the choice of 12 multiplayer and co-operative maps set across six distinctive environments, each of which support all five gamemodes and up to 32 players. My biggest gripe is that two of the maps (Peak and Heights) don't really fit with the sort of game that Insurgency is trying to be, it is more suited to the urban maps that are definitely plentiful.

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Gameplay

The first thing you notice about Insurgency is that it isn't just another Call of Duty or Battlefield, most of the game modes give you just one chance to live unless objectives are completed by the rest of the team, and having your entire team dead at once is the end of the round.

You don't have to spray bullet after bullet into your enemies as usually just a quick tap of the fire button is enough to send your foes falling to the floor, and a headshot is a one shot kill. You can probably take two-three hits max before you drop to the floor dead if you're being shot anywhere other than the head.

It is very frustrating at first, especially when you die and have no idea where it came from, but once you start to play smart, play tactical, you will survive a lot longer and enjoy the game a lot more. This game isn't for people that like to go and rush around the map, you need to take things slowly and communication is the key to survival. Friendly fire is enabled on most servers and you generally don't get any kill feeds either.

The most fun with this game is to be had when you play tactical with friends over voice chat, take your time and don't run in like a mad man.

Insurgency separates itself from the usual FPS games of the modern day and has absolutely no leveling or XP system in place. There are 20 different weapons in the game, all with their own characteristics and attachments, and all of which are focused on being as realistic as they can be.

Your kit and weapon selection is determined by what role you choose within your squad, and then you have a certain number of points to spend customizing your loadout and weapon attachments. You can't have it all at once though, you may have to sacrifice magazines to get the fore grip for your main weapon or get rid of your secondary pistol completely if you want to take C4. You also have to take into consideration your weight and how it will affect your movement speed and stamina.

Your kit choice will vary from gamemode to gamemode, for instance a simple firefight gamemode you might want to stock up on all the ammo you can, whereas if you play something like Search & Destroy you will probably have to sacrifice the ammo to get the needed C4, if you're attacking of course.

Every single gamemode in the game feel like they have a purpose and haven't just been stuck on for the sake of it. There's not many of them but all of them are fun to play, and Search & Destroy is probably one of the best.

To finish things off in the gameplay section, it does a very good job of making you want to actually avoid running towards the gun fire. The leaning mechanic helps protect most of your body from the shots but you will often find yourself cowering behind cover as what feels like an endless stream of bullets ricochet off your surroundings. There aren't many games that make you genuinely fear for your life, one of them is DayZ and I think this might just be the other.

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Presentation

I'm not going to lie, Insurgency isn't the prettiest game on the market right now, but it really doesn't matter. The gameplay is fantastic, the sounds are amazing, and it does an awesome job of simulating a proper firefight where you can't just run around like a mad man and hope for the best.

If a fire fight breaks out everyone will dash to cover even if they aren't the target mainly because the guns sound so awesome as it is. Add the suppression effect when you are the target, the bullets hitting everything around you and the sounds that come with that make you feel like you are actually there, and not just playing the game.

The UI is very minimal, and other than friendly nametags and the objectives at the bottom of the screen there is very little getting the way of your vision. You don't even have a crosshair, which might be a turn off for some people, but it just adds to the realism that this game is trying to portray. There's no map either so you need to learn the best routes for yourself and not rely on the map to light up orange when enemies are around. If you want you can even turn off all the floating HUD elements with a key press.

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Overall

Insurgency is a game that peaked my interest when I first saw it had got a full release on Steam, and now that I've played some good rounds on it with mates, it is an amazing game that exceeded what I thought it would give to me.

New World Interactive have done a fantastic job with just about everything, the sound design, the gunplay, the gamemodes, it is refreshing to see a shooter that isn't just the same old that we've been getting over the last five or six years.

Getting your mates on board and playing tactically only adds to the experience and I think this could be a serious contender for a good eSports game. Hopefully the developers give this game the love that it deserves over the next year as it continues to grow in popularity.

9 / 10

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