Insurgency Beta Impressions – A Return To The Glory Days of FPS With a Modern Twist

I’m going to get this out of the way right now, I love this game.  Period.  It has it’s problems, but it’s also a beta.  And no, the developers aren’t paying or even asking me to say that.

If you are a fan of Counter-Strike, but moved on to more modern games recently, Insurgency will feel like both a breath of fresh air and a return to the glory days of FPS gaming, before all these super massive games like Battlefield and Call of Duty stole the show with their explosions and aiming down sights mechanics.  That said, it is a beta, it has it’s fair share of bugs and balance issues (one of which my team takes major advantage of in the video below), and right now, unless this review has gotten you interested in playing it, it’s not worth $20, but, I know it will be in full release, though the price will probably go up then. [EDIT: Reverb Games have clarified to us that the price will remain at a ‘cool’ $20, even at launch.]

Now of course, being wrapped up in a balancing act between the old and new mechanics of FPS games means that with every step Insurgency takes forward, it runs the risk of having to take a step backwards as well.  This is obvious in things like the graphics, which while not a deciding factor for me in terms of quality of the game, doesn’t exactly have that skyscraper-falling-down, in-your-face-explosion, lens-flares-for-everyone, feel.  While I think most players won’t be bothered by Insurgency’s lack of modern hyper realism found in games like BF4 and Crysis 3, it’s certainly a noticeable contrast that in some ways makes the game feel old.  For Insurgency to look like a modern shooter, it would have to run on a modern shooter’s engine, which would totally change the feel of the gameplay.  Gameplay however, is where Insurgency shines.

With most team-based FPS games, you have some sort of timer or respawn counter ticking down to the deciding moment of victory or defeat.  While there is a timer in Insurgency’s various game modes, it doesn’t have that “beat the timer” feel that BF3 in particular has.  We’ve all been there before, 10 tickets left, one MCOM left to plant.  Your heart starts racing, not because you know it’s up to you and ten of your teammates to get the bomb planted but because you know you only have 10 respawns left for your whole team before you lose.  Of course, both feelings give quite a satisfying rush, but the aftertaste isn’t always so sweet knowing if you had 1 more ticket to spare, you might have won.

In the video above, my team nearly gets wiped right at the start of the match, that’s why I don’t spawn in until later in the match.  It’s up to two of our teammates to fight off the enemies, push up, and take the objective.  Watching them duck in and out of cover reminded me of those days in Call of Duty 4 or World at War playing Search and Destroy. Watching them actually pull it off gave me a rush I haven’t felt since those days of SND before quickscoping for montage clips took over.  Unlike BF3, I know we still have a chance to comeback as long as my teammates stay alive.  In a game of BF3 rush, two tickets might as well be the point at which you admit defeat.  That rush, that knowing even one teammate can totally flip a match around, is what makes Insurgency the tactical FPS game that I enjoy so much.  That and the CS-inspired, modern FPS-styled map design.

Overall, I’m really looking forward to Insurgency’s full release and, after getting my hands on it, I have nothing but confidence that New World Interactive is going to release a fantastic game easily worth the $20-$30 they’ll probably ask for at launch.  That said, if everything above gave you the itch to play it and you’re a fan of the more old-school FPS games like Counter Strike, $20 is a well spent investment, though server population limits your choices to a handful of matches at any given time.

Insurgency is available on Steam via their Early Access program for $20 here. The game’s website can be found here and has a healthy forum community.

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