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INSURGENCY: SANDSTORM
Set phasers to hardcore.

HANDS ON PREVIEW (BETA)
By JAY TEE
07/09/18

There’s definitely a place for an uncompromising, hardcore military shooter in today’s market. Big franchise stalwarts like Battlefield and Call of Duty are riding high on the battle royale craze, so a leaner, more focused title will almost certainly find an audience. Enter Insurgency: Sandstorm, a multiplayer only follow up to the surprise hit PC original from 2014.

Though the previously revealed single player campaign has been postponed beyond launch, the sequel still has plenty to offer. Developer New World Interactive are looking to build upon what worked first time around; realistic bullet behaviour and player health, and an overall more considered pace.

Based on our hands on time with the Beta, Insurgency: Sandstorm delivers on those core tenants. It’s a little rough around the edges, but there’s a lot here to like. The punchy sound design, slick player movement, and consistent intensity make for a winning combination.

THE BASICS - First person shooter set in modern era, with realistic bullet damage / physics.

PLATFORMS - PS4, XB1, and PC

PLAYERS - Offline - 2, Online - 32

CO-OP? MULTIPLAYER? - Co-op PvE mode for up to eight players, and 32 player competitive matches.

DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT - None announced.

TARPS? - At the bottom of all our previews, you’ll see a series of absurd looking images (with equally stupid, in joke laden names). These are the TARP badges, which represent our ‘Totally Accurate Rating Platform’. They allow us to identify specific things, recognise positive or negative aspects of a games design, and generally indulge our consistent silliness with some visual tomfoolery.

PREVIEWS KEY:

Back of the Box - A broad overview of key features and gameplay mechanics.

Get Schooled - Background info on the developer, fun facts, and viewing the game in a broader context.

Inside Scoop - Random thoughts and musings, along with hopes and concerns.

This is an unforgiving title, demanding sharp reflexes and good spatial awareness.

LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS ARTICLE!
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW, TWEET US @JAYTEE_GA, OR E-MAIL: EDITOR@JTGA.CO.UK.

TARP BADGES:

PLAYLIST BONANZA - There are three core game modes available in the Beta, with simple location based objectives ensuring you’re never too far from the action. Respawn times are brutal though; if you happen to bite the dust right after a spawn wave, you could be waiting a good 30 seconds before you’re back in the fight.

CUSTOM SOCKS - You can customise each weapon with a variety of scopes and attachments, tied to one overall total figure that forces you to balance your loadout (in much the same way as Call of Duty’s ‘Pick Ten’ system). Most weapons are pretty effective, but anything above a x2 magnification will take some getting used to. The aiming mechanics are very realistic.

PRO TIP - Use cover. The health is very realistic, and you’ll get floored in a couple shots if you’re not careful.

BACKSTORY - Developer ‘New World Interactive’ kicked off the Insurgency series as a Half Life 2 mod. Once it blew up (pardon the pun), they spun it out into a standalone release. They’ve continued a close association with Valve, releasing a WW2 tactical shooter entitled Day of Infamy, built on the Source engine. That game, incidentally, began life as an Insurgency mod!

SPREAD THOSE WINGS - Insurgency: Sandstorm will be ‘New World Interactive’s’ first console release, even though the PS4 and XB1 versions have been delayed into 2019. And despite the shelving of the single player component, they have confirmed that it could make a return as an expansion or update later on down the line.

FUN FACT - The original Insurgency game had over 4 million players.

GET PREPPED - It’s refreshing to find that smart play, and careful planning, are two gameplay approaches regularly encouraged and rewarded. I found the first couple hours extremely challenging; there’s a steep learning curve, but if you invest the time, you’ll quickly learn the ropes.

SCOPE-TASTIC - Recoil is punishing at medium to long ranges. Once again, investing the time to get to grips with the various scopes and weapon types is paramount to success. The elongated respawn times might lead to frustration, particularly if you just want to dive back in, so patience is a necessity.

MOUSTACHE GATE - I had a weird glitch where every character had a thin, black moustache. I had no choice but to accept it.  

Insurgency: Sandstorm successfully builds on the original, with a solid beta trial ahead of its launch later this month. There’s a huge amount of potential here!

*Beta access provided by New World Interactive*

The IT’S A TARP! badge is awarded when a game offers a real challenge.

The BREACH ON ZULU badge is awarded for a game that consistently demands intelligent strategy / tactics.

The CHALLENGE ME BRAIN PUZZLES! badge is for a game that is tricky, but rewarding, to master.

The MAYORAL ELECTION badge is for a game filled with high pressure moments that put your skills to the test.

The BATTLESTAR GALACTICA badge is for a game with a visually realistic and / or grounded setting.

The WAR-ROCK! badge is for a game that absolutely deserves ongoing player support.

The DOME badge is for a multiplayer game with small to medium sized maps / courses / levels.