Team based war games have flooded the video game market for some time now. Many of the successful instances of these objective base shooters were born into this world as mods for games like Half-Life or one of the many variations of Quake. The largest success story of which was Counter-Strike. While the modding community has always been strong place with loyal followers, it doesn’t always have the muster to push these mods into the realm of a full-fledged game. New World Interactive hopes to break down that wall with their community’s help in taking their Half-Life 2 mod Insurgency: Modern Infantry Combat to the big leagues with Insurgency.
Built on the Source engine Insurgency looks to capture a place on the market that isn’t always considered when people think of gaming. Instead of trying to make another Call of Field: Modern Honor game, Insurgency bases itself in realism. That means no ridiculous kill streaks, you won’t be taking a hundred hits from a bullet before you fall over, or over exaggerated simulations of warfare. I have to say that is refreshing. However, this is no surprise coming from the team considering some of them had worked on another mod success story, Red Orchestra.
Game types are much of what you would expect from any other military shooter. Insurgency features the typical capture and defend modes, but deviates from the norm in that there are two separate modes that use this style of play. Occupy is probably the most like other games in that two teams fight for control points against the clock to accumulate points. The highest score at the end of the round determines the winning force. The other mode, Firefight, is more of a mad dash to capture points. The first team to either capture all of the points or gather the largest number of point by the end of the five minute round wins. Elimination is the currently the last active mode, that should be able to be figured out by its name. The team with the last soldier standing wins the round. Firefight actually is the most fun of all the modes in Insurgency, if only because it emphasizes the need to survive as well as haste. It’s a weird balance to achieve and still be fun.
As Insurgency stands, it is still in an alpha level build. The team is working on a schedule that puts out nearly weekly updates, sometimes sooner if balance issues occur like they had with certain game breaking explosives or changes to weapons that clearly create a power vacuum. If jumping in, you’ll have to expect some things like that. You’ll start to notice some of the little things like a body getting stuck in a building, extreme ragdoll effects, how maps don’t fit certain play modes, and command and menu items that aren’t as finished as they should be. Nothing about those is game breaking. It means that you just need to have a little bit of patience. The largest complaint while playing though had to be the map issue. Some maps are just huge, even if the server is setup for a 32 player capacity. Granted some of this may be due to the game having a map making community already.
Another thing that makes Insurgency different from all the games in the market is how it handles weapons. Each force has a different set of weapons, namely what you would expect them to have in the real world like AK-47s and M16s. Cash isn’t something you collect in Insurgency like you would in say Counter-Strike. Supply is generated based on score and team points over the course of the game. These supply units are then used to buy upgrades for your weapons, like scopes, silencers, or hollow point bullets, or ordinance like grenades or RPGs. What makes it great is that these items persist through death, with the exception of C4 and the RPGs. It helps ease players into the game instead of stressing out about having a crappy pistol if you aren’t doing so hot in your current game.
Currently Insurgency is being offered as part of the Steam Early Access program, perhaps at the behest of being unable to reach their goal in a previous Kickstarter campaign. At a price of $14.99 it isn’t too steep for entry. You need to remember that you aren’t buying a full game right now. This will change, and often, before a final version of Insurgency will be released. That doesn’t mean you need to stay away though. Some of the most fun I had playing the game was when a developer was doing tweaks to things on the fly or asking for input from the players. You found a lot of nuances in a game you might not have run into in a contained environment that’s aim is at making its player base happy. I don’t know many companies that try to do that in the current gaming world.
Let’s hope that all the cards fall in the right order for Insurgency and New World Interactive. I’ll be hoping for their success.