If the name ‘Insurgency‘ sounds familiar, that is because it is the follow-up to the very popular ‘INSURGENCY: Modern Infantry Combat’ total conversion mod for Valve Software’s Source Engine. We have played a lot of Insurgency this past week and it has been a treat. The game is far from perfect, however, it has true potential – a trait lacking in a lot of games these days.
The game, to its core, is focused on gameplay and player interaction. There are two factions, Insurgents, looking like members of al-Qaeda or Hamas, as well as Security or private military contractors.
Did we mention that the game was hardcore? Many times we ran around a corner expecting to fire guns blazing only to be stopped dead in our tracks by a well placed insurgent squad that was preparing to ambush us. Insurgency aims for realism, so communication is key. Without teammates watching corners, we were cut down as most likely would happen in real life. When we moved with allies we were able to lock down areas and protect one another from potential dangers.
The realistic aspects of the game may leave some with a sour taste in their mouth, whilst others will savour the difficulty accompanying the simulation. With no crosshairs on the middle of the screen, no ammo-count, no map, auto reload, and almost total lack of a HUD, There is no red jelly that is smeared across the screen when you are shot, some shaking and blurring, though most of the time if you are shot, you die. Thankfully, respawns come in the way of ‘reinforcements’ with a new wave coming in every time an objective is captured or destroyed.
The game uses supply points to allow players to purchase and upgrade their weaponry and equipment. Points are acquired for capturing bases, killing enemies, and staying alive. We learned first-hand the value of a well-timed upgrade. We also learned how the game may punish you for trying some unconventional and downright silly combinations such as an SMG with a 4x scope (How was I to know? – ED).
There are a wealth of game modes to tide over even the most hardcore of shooter fanatics. We’ll cover some of the more unique modes, but chances are your favourite FPS game mode is included:
Firefight is a team-based PVP style mode where you must fight to control three objectives, secure all three or eliminate the enemy team to win. The only catch? You can only respawn when your team captures an objective.
Strike is an attack and defend mode where you must find and destroy (Or protect) three weapon caches. Blowing up a cache brings more good guys and time for the attackers, with the opposite affecting the defenders.
Push is where the attacking team has to take points in order, if you’ve ever played Team Fortress 2 multiplayer, then you understand how this works. The big difference with Insurgency is that the defending team only has a certain number of reinforcements. Run out and you lose the game.
The most enjoyable part of Insurgency are the co-operative modes. You are put with a team of between six to eight players to complete a list of objectives. You are then tasked with either claiming or destroying a number of capture points or weapon caches, or to hold a point against waves of AI. The size of your team dictates how many insurgents you will face off against. A smaller team will have only a handful to deal with, whilst a larger team will have more. In either scenario, the game can be very challenging. The AI can be a cake-walk with the right team or a horrible grind that left us angry with the wrong team.
This is where we come to a problem with the game – there are quite a few noticeable bugs. The AI seems to be, for lack of a better word, “Moron-Geniuses” (©CriticalIndieGamer) For example: the AI has the ability to shoot a player through a window with a simple pistol, however at times from point-blank range, it will miss with a shotgun because it will turn around and simply stare at the exquisite painting on a wall. This is a rare occurrence however , the AI is usually balanced to a believable level.
The voice-acting is sub-par at best. On the security side they sound like former military, while on the Insurgents side it is hard to distinguish between ally and foe, due to almost identical voices.
Additionally, the lack of stealth isn’t really a bad part of the game, let’s be honest, silencers can only do so much. It does become an issue when slaying an enemy a street away with a silenced sniper rifle alerts the bots, though. Many times after such a shot we could hear in the distance, “What was that?”.
Sadly, the graphics are somewhat lacking in Insurgency. although, they do appear to be improving. The terrain and scenery are very well done, but the texture work in a lot of places is poor. For an indie FPS who’s developers went from simply modding a game engine to creating their very own game, it’s not a bad effort. We especially liked the smoke, flash, and disorientation effects in the game.
As Insurgency was created using the source engine, we did run in to a number of hackers. Thankfully, this is an issue that the developers are taking seriously, and actively working to alleviate.
Overall Insurgency has great potential, even with some noticeable, albeit fixable bugs. New World Interactive has already stated they are committed to changing and making the game better. At only £11.99 ($14.99) Insurgency is a great purchase. Solo or with friends (or a dedicated group of strangers) it offers a deep, strategic experience that is both rewarding, as well as challenging. If you herald realism above all-else, and can stomach it’s sometimes crushing difficulty, Insurgency will keep you occupied for a very long time, indeed.
Insurgency is available now on Steam