First-Person Shooters have always been a highlight genre for the past decades, as they provide players with an experience that’s immersive and rewarding simultaneously. The current influx of FPS titles to the market means that the scene continues to flourish and more players are looking for other options outside the realm of your Call of Duty’s and Battlefields. We had sleeper hits like Titanfall showcase just how far you can take a FPS by throwing in mechs, and allowing players to scale walls in a futuristic style. Then you have the more realistic tactical style of FPS in the form of Rainbow Six Siege, which puts players in very difficult scenarios and working with your teammates is the only way to secure victory. Insurgency: Sandstorm sort of falls in between that of Call of Duty and Rainbow Six Siege because it offers players a tactical team based approach, but with that very wild and frantic style that Call of Duty is known for.
What to Expect
While Insurgency: Sandstorm does provide players with the quintessential first-person experience, there are some areas that it needs to work on, primarily in the technical department. What you’ll expect in this game is quite similar to any other FPS on the market right now, in that it’s fast paced and full of non-stop action, where you’ll need to be constantly aware of your surroundings at all times. Much of the action takes place in the dry climate of the Middle East and so you’ll be racing around trying to find some place to hide, avoiding enemy fire and ensuring your team survives at all costs. Those who don’t prefer to compete can always take part in the Story Mode (wasn’t available in the beta) once it becomes available in the full release. Just as a reminder, the version we played was the Early Access Beta, which only focused primarily on the PvP aspect and gave us a taste of how the competitive environment online would feel like.
Since much of the game focuses on cooperative play, it’s good to have a headset available should you find the urge to join in. Of course, you could opt for just playing on your own and fight against other players, but the selling point of Insurgency: Sandstorm is to definitely have a group of friends you know duke it out against other players online. With all that being said, let’s jump into the review.
On the visual spectrum of things, Insurgency: Sandstorm does a great job of capturing the realism of the Middle East along with all the weapons that you use throughout the game. While not groundbreaking by any means, it still does a solid job of ensuring that players can feel immersed while interacting with the world around them. Character models, on the other hand, we felt needed a little extra work because the way they animate at times looked a bit off putting, even stiff at times. There’s a great deal of detail both inside and outside of buildings, but if your computer can’t handle all of the details then the game will start to lag significantly.
The detailing on the weapons are decent but not amazing by any means. They do capture the realism of each weapon but for some reason we felt that the texture mapping could’ve been better, as well as the character models themselves. Motion blur really adds a nice effect to all the action happening but as stated earlier, if your PC settings don’t sync up well then the game will underperform. It’s something we need to stress because PC settings play an integral role on how the game will look and feel, and so make sure that your PC specs can handle everything on screen.
Insurgency: Sandstorm does a decent job on replicating gunfire, running, sneaking and every sound effect you can possibly think of. This is certainly a big deal and it’s good to see that the game ensures to maintain as much realism as possible, so as to not rob players of the experience. When talking through a mic to another player everything seemed to sound quite clear, even with all the action happening around us. There were still some glaring issues however, such as sound clipping when too much gunfire would go off in one area, and some explosions from grenades didn’t really sound intimidating. Since this game is still in its beta stages, we feel that these areas will be patched up before the September release.
As with any FPS, the gameplay is fairly straightforward. You can choose to either work on your own and take down the enemy or team up with other skilled players and tackle the other squad tactfully. Whichever way you decide is of course up to you, and that’s the fun about it all. In the Beta of course you’re only limited to certain options but it was still fun to run around and shoot people who like to camp. Before any battle begins you’re able to choose your favored class and then go into battle, seeking out any prey that stands within your scope range. There’s a lot of back and forth happening and all of it is quite exciting. However, there were times where ping became a problem even though we chose our preferred server to play on. That of course is always going to be an issue in any FPS game, so we took it with a grain of salt and continued playing.
As we mentioned before about the weapons in the game, we feel that this area needs a lot of attention since a lot of guns felt off in some way. One in particular was the sniper rifle class, which we used for a large portion of the beta and we weren’t too impressed with the scope and how poorly it performed. Not being able to change the reticle didn’t sit well with us but also just aiming with it didn’t feel very smooth. Of course weapons in the SMG category were totally fine, but it was just mainly the sniper class that we felt needed some adjustments.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Since our playtime with the Beta was quite short (we only had a few days to really jump in) we didn’t get a lot of time to really sit down and sift through all of the details. Overall, from our experience we feel that Insurgency: Sandstorm definitely has potential to do better, but it definitely needs to improve on its weapon performance and ensure that servers can run smoothly for most of the time. Our PC could run the game at high quality but the game can at times still run into problems which caused a lot of slowdown, especially when there was a lot of action happening in one area. Framerate drops were consistent in those moments and it really hindered performance big time. Adding in more customization to classes would be nice along with allowing players to customize their character on a deeper level as well would be interesting.
The game is fast and frantic, and encourages you to work with others to claim victory.
Map details were very nice and realistic.
Framerate drops when too much action is happening.
Weapon performance needs to be improved upon, mainly the sniper class.
Sound issues do happen from time to time, such as explosions not really sounding too explosive.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Well, that about does it for our Early Access Beta preview for Insurgency: Sandstorm. We hope you found the review to be insightful and gave you enough information about whether you’ll try it out or not. Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest gaming news from Japan and around the world! Of course, hit us up on Twitch to watch us playing all of our reviewed titles live!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!