Insurgency: Sandstorm - Jonny-Higgins
Hi everyone, Jon Higgins here from New World Interactive.

After the successful launch of Insurgency: Sandstorm last month and a busy period over the holiday season, our team would like to give you a brief update on where we are with the game's development and what fans can expect over the coming months.

After the last update on December 21st we gave our team a week off over Christmas and New Year’s to recover and spend some much needed time with family and friends. During this period, however, our community and design teams were spending a huge amount of time reading through hundreds of reviews and comments across Steam, Reddit, YouTube, news sites and more, gathering feedback and prioritising our year ahead.

After reviewing launch and reading your feedback it was clear that our first update needed to focus heavily on quality of life and community features, but also deliver additional content.

We hinted at some future plans in our The Insurgency Legacy Continues blog post back in December, and while we are not yet ready to discuss the full line up of changes for the February update, you can view some confirmed content and features below.




  • Five new weapons including the MP5A5 and MP5A2, which will be available for Security and Insurgent Breacher classes respectively.
  • A new Community Testing Environment right in your Steam Library for easier and more open testing of upcoming updates.
  • Competitive improvements including tiebreaker rounds, leaver penalties, and more.
  • Vote Kick for community servers and additional anti-harassment / griefing measures.
  • Clearer indications around restricted areas, game rules and spawn waves.
  • New cosmetics including Tropentarn camouflage, new gloves, and new eyewear.
  • Some other surprises you might not expect.


In addition to the above, performance and optimisation will continue to be a top priority for us. Players systems and setups vary greatly and it's important we gather as much information as possible. We encourage anybody who is having issues to submit information to our team via the performance discussion and support section of the forums to help us identify and resolve any issues.

We also received a lot of feedback about the in-game community and player behaviour. Our team will be working on various design changes, bug fixes, and other game-based solutions to address or mitigate these issues. However, some of these will require time for us to concept, implement and iterate upon. In the meantime, it is vital that the community aid us and our partners in finding and addressing issues.

As such we have published a new guide detailing the steps you should take if you encounter someone cheating, using game exploits, harassing/abusing players or otherwise griefing, as well as additional documentation regarding Easy Anti-Cheat.

Read more: Community Guidelines - Cheating, Exploits and Harassment.
Read more: Community Guidelines - Easy Anit-Cheat

Two recurring topics regarding in-game player behaviour were vote-kick and in-game reporting options. Our team take player behaviour very seriously and are committed to improving player experience. Some of the changes in the February update should take steps towards this, however, we would like to take this time to clarify our current stance on the above.

In our previous titles, votekicking itself was abused by some players as a means to harass, grief, and troll, so we’ve had some hesitation about adding it to Sandstorm. However, we’ve heard your feedback and we understand that when used responsibly this can be an effective tool in dealing with disruptive players. As such we’ve decided to add it as an option for community servers. We’ll continue to monitor community feedback on this and other systems and make changes accordingly.

We’ve also seen some requests to include an in-game reporting system to deal with these kinds of players. This is something we have discussed, however, creating and managing such a system with investigations and reviews of every reported player would put a great strain on our development and community management resources. Frankly, we’re unable to effectively monitor every single player’s behavior and support such a system. We would rather focus on creating good community tools and automated systems to deal with these kinds of issues and put our resources toward creating content and improving gameplay. That being said, an in-game reporting system is something we might explore in the future, targeted at the most disruptive players. For now, we ask that players follow Community Guidelines - Cheating, Exploits and Harassment.

As we’ve said before, launch is just the beginning for us. We have a huge amount of post-release content planned for Insurgency: Sandstorm, and are excited to bring the game to consoles this year and to explore additional platforms in the future. We will be sharing a lot more news over the coming weeks, so be sure to subscribe to the NWI newsletter, bookmark our blog and follow @InsurgencyGame across social media to stay up to date with all our announcements.

New World Interactive
Insurgency: Sandstorm - New World
Hello again! Welcome to our guidelines on cheating, exploits, and harassment. In this post, we discuss different levels of abuse and how our community members can help us in dealing with these issues.

Cheating

We have partnered with Easy Anti-Cheat to help us find and ban players who use cheat software, hacks, or custom scripts to disrupt our players’ experiences in Insurgency: Sandstorm. We take cheating very seriously, so we appreciate all of our fans who help us in combating this issue.

If you come across a player that you suspect is cheating or if you find a cheat available for Sandstorm online, please fill out a Cheat Report for Easy Anti-Cheat to investigate. If you’re reporting a cheat for sale/download, please include a link to the relevant site. If you encounter a player who you think is using hacks or cheats, grab the replay ID of the match from the History section of the main menu and it include it in your report. Be sure to watch the replay first and include the approximate time that the player can be seen using a cheat in the report as well.

How to find a replay ID and Steam ID:
  • Go to the Main Menu
  • Select “History”
  • Mouse over the replay, then click “Copy ID” and paste it in your report.
  • Start the replay and go to the scoreboard
  • Click on the suspected player’s name and “Copy Steam ID”. Then paste it in your report.

Click here for the EAC Cheat report: EAC Cheat Report

For more information about EAC, including bans and appeals, check out our EAC post here: Community Guidelines: EAC & Cheating

Exploiting Design Issues

Our team has been working very hard to get Insurgency: Sandstorm to where it is today, and we are still developing improvements and new content for the future. That being said, we have seen some players exploiting bugs in design. Examples of this include:

  • Hiding in rocks/walls
  • Exploiting Out of Bounds areas
  • Glitching into unplayable areas
  • Spawn camping

If a player is exploiting these mechanics or does something that feels unfair (but they’re not necessarily using hacks), please take a screenshot or video along with an explanation of what is happening, and send it to support@newworldinteractive.com so that our team can recreate and address the issue.

Harassment/Trolling/Griefing

We have received some community feedback on issues with toxic players, offensive language, and trolling in Insurgency: Sandstorm. New World Interactive does not condone this type of behavior and we’re taking steps to ensure players are able to effectively deal with this whenever it is encountered. Some of these fixes and additions include:

  • Fixing the mute function so it carries over between rounds.
  • Adding toggleable profanity filters to text chat.
  • Adding spam protection to text chat.
  • The ability to vote to kick players on community servers.

It may take us some time to implement these features, but we are working on various plans to discourage toxic player interactions. We recognize that players intentionally harassing others can be pretty annoying. Whether they’re yelling something racist on the microphone, repeatedly (and purposefully) standing in the line of fire, purposefully teamkilling, or taking other actions that can be considered trolling or griefing, we get that it can be very frustrating or offensive. No matter how irritating this can be, don’t try to confront these players. Shooting them in retaliation or shouting back at them will not solve the issue. Hold Tab, hit that mute button, put those blinders on, and don’t feed the troll.

To see the full list of what’s coming next, check out our Community Update post. We have a ton of content planned for Insurgency: Sandstorm so keep the feedback coming! To report bugs in Sandstorm, check out our Technical FAQ. Having performance issues? Check out our Performance Tips.
Insurgency: Sandstorm - New World
Hello everyone! We figured it was time to provide a bit of an overview about the third-party system we use to detect hacks & cheats, Easy Anti-Cheat. Our previous titles Insurgency (2014) and Day of Infamy used BattlEye for this purpose, however we switched to EAC for Insurgency: Sandstorm. EAC is one of the industry leaders in game security and Anti-Cheat and is used by many popular games including Fortnite, FarCry 5, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and fellow indie shooters Squad and World War 3.

What is Easy Anti-Cheat?

EAC, provided by Epic Games, is designed to prevent, detect, and ban cheaters in multiplayer online games. It recognizes cheating software on players’ systems while Sandstorm is running and removes accounts abusing the game with those. EAC is used by a ton of other games and you can see the full list here: EAC Partners

Do I Have to Install EAC?

To play Insurgency: Sandstorm, EAC must be installed together with the game on your computer. When you play our games, you are agreeing to New World Interactive’s Terms & Conditions to allow EAC to to monitor and identify hacks and cheating software in your system while playing the game. We are committed to finding and banning players who use cheats in our game and to do this, EAC must be allowed to run.

I’m Getting EAC Error Codes when I Start Sandstorm. Help!

View EAC’s troubleshooting guide here: EAC: Troubleshooting Guide

If you have followed all of those steps and are still encountering EAC error codes, contact them directly here: EAC: Contact Technical Support

I’ve Been Banned! What Do I Do?

EAC has found cheat software, untrusted and/or unknown system files, debuggers, or otherwise suspicious software on your system or you may have used custom scripts that have caused you to be flagged. If you have received your ban from EAC, you can find a ton of information on how EAC handles bans here: EAC: Account Bans

Please bear in mind EAC has a zero-tolerance policy against cheating.

Make sure to scan your systems regularly for viruses and suspicious files. Don’t download files from untrustworthy sites. Put that anti-virus to work!

If you feel you received a ban in error, submit a ban appeal to EAC here: EAC: Insurgency: Sandstorm Ban Appeal General response time, according to EAC, is 3 to 14 days. While this may seem a bit long, we recommend players submitting appeals refrain from sending multiple tickets as this may increase your response time.

I Found a Cheat for Sandstorm or a Player that is Cheating.

Please fill out a Cheat Report for EAC to investigate. If you’re reporting a cheat for sale/download for Insurgency: Sandstorm, please include a link to the relevant site. If you encounter a player who you suspect is using hacks or cheats, grab the replay ID of the match and the Steam ID of the player and it include it in your report. Be sure to watch the replay first and include the approximate time that the player can be seen using a cheat in the report as well.

How to find a replay ID and Steam ID:
  • Select “History” from the main menu
  • Mouse over the replay, then click “Copy ID” and paste it in your report.
  • Start the replay and go to the scoreboard
  • Click on the suspected player’s name and “Copy Steam ID” then paste it in your report.

Click here for the EAC Cheat report: EAC: Insurgency: Sandstorm Cheat Report

If a player is exploiting game mechanics and does something that feels unfair but they’re not necessarily using hacks, (ie spawn camping, exploiting out of bounds areas, etc.) please take a screenshot or video. Send it along with a timestamp and an explanation of what is happening to our support email below so that our team can recreate and address the issue.


We have worked hard on Insurgency: Sandstorm to provide balanced gameplay for our fans and our team takes cheating very seriously. We appreciate our players out there who have been helping us crack down on cheaters in our game, and we hope that as we continue working with EAC we can keep the amount of players using hacks to a minimum.
Grand Theft Auto V - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

A lot of people first discover this Pulitzer Prize-winning* column via the Steam pages for their favourite games, and it’s always a pleasure to welcome in new readers to RPS’s most respected feature. So if you’re new, welcome! Please settle in and find out why Steam Charts is the industry’s most respected and revered games journalism.

(more…)

Grand Theft Auto V - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Ho ho ho! John still hasn’t returned after Christmas, missing presumed drowned in egg nog, so I’m filling in today. Valve have already blarbed about 2018’s best-selling games so we’re back on the weekly charts. Last week’s top ten was largely familiar, though catching the tail end of the Steam Winter Sale has introduced a few surprises.

(more…)

Insurgency: Sandstorm - New World
We are releasing a patch today to address some issues that have popped up since launch and to make other general improvements. This includes new enemies in Coop, changes to Competitive, and more. We hope you all enjoy! Please read on for the details.

Bug Fixes
  • Fixed an issue where first person arms and third person cosmetics could become invisible.
  • Fixed an issue with doors becoming desynchronized for certain players, preventing them from being open or closed.
  • Fixed a bug causing the wrong animation to trigger when performing a speed reload on an empty magazine.
  • Fixed an issue causing mines to float when thrown and not detonate when in proximity to vehicles.
  • Fixed an issue where team-mates mines were triggering on friendly vehicles.
  • Fixed a rare issue where the player could occasionally spawn without any weapon or footstep audio.
  • Fixed an issue where muting players using VoIP would not also mute the radio transmit beep sound effect.
  • Fixed an issue in Push where the defending team would instantly be granted a victory once both teams hit zero waves on the last territorial objective.
  • Fixed an issue where stamina drain from simulated movement wouldn’t update the correct value, causing stuttery movement.
  • Fixed Checkpoint insertion vehicle playing the handbrake sound effect constantly.
  • Fixed an issue where the vehicle crash and suppression effect was being applied when a vehicle changed velocity suddenly.
  • Fixed an issue where the cache objective damaged material was not being reset correctly.
  • Fixed an issue with cosmetic and variation names on the plaque widget.
  • Fixed an issue with bipods and foregrips causing them to be detached from the weapon in third person.
  • Fixed an issue where non-rendered characters could become desynchronized when they were then rendered again.
  • Fixed bot specific cosmetics not applying when changing class most notable on counter-attack bot types.
  • Fixed an issue with the “Skirmish Victory” achievement which was making it unobtainable.
  • Fixed an issue where “Road Hazard” and “J.R. .50” achievements were not reliably obtainable.
  • Fixed an issue where the amount of appearance credits a player has would not be displayed when customizing their character from the post-match screen.
  • Fixed an issue where vaulting could cause the player to fall into the ground.
  • Fixed an issue where the Flight Gloves cosmetic would clip with the hand mesh.
  • Fixed an issue where blood pools were not being created under ragdolls.
  • Fixed an issue with teleporting bones which improves performance when limbs are dismembered.
  • Fixed a bug where vehicle crashing audio could be triggered constantly when colliding with a player.
  • Various bug fixes for localization translations across all languages.
  • Fixed an issue where a cvar could be manipulated through INI files to obtain an unfair advantage.
  • Fixed an issue causing prop vehicles to not be destroyable.
  • Fixed LOD issues on certain Security equipment combinations.
  • Fixed LOD bone issue with the shot sleeve button down cosmetic.
  • Fixed an issue where third person grenade launcher reload animations were not playing.
  • Fixed an issue with foregrip bipod alignment on the Mk 14 EBR first person animations.
  • Fixed an issue with hand clipping with extended magazines on the following weapons:
    • G3A3
    • G36K
    • L85A2
    • SVD
    • Mk 18 CQBR
    • Mk 17 Mod 0
    • M4/M16 platform rifles

Optimization
  • Optimized various props in the game to improve level-specific performance.

Visual Improvements
  • Improved character motion with linear smoothing.
  • Fixed an issue where the characters feet were slightly clipping with the ground.
  • Improved jumping and falling animations.
  • Improved character lower body rotation to be more in sync with velocity.
  • Improved weighting for the Hard Knuckle and Soft Padding gloves.
  • Reduced the size of the MP7 compensator.
  • Added explosive throw animation for third person prone.

Gameplay Improvements
  • Third person spectate is now disabled in Competitive.
  • Adjusted the PK-AS optic cost for Competitive to 2 supply to be consistent with other optic options.
  • Added a 3 second grace period after an objective is captured in Checkpoint, where a player who dies will still respawn if killed within those three seconds after capturing.
  • Improved idle kick:
    • Player is kicked when idle in spawn as the last one standing for 10 seconds.
    • Player is kicked when idle outside of spawn for 30 seconds.
    • Added countdown warning messages in chat log before player is kicked.

  • Adjusted the competitive ruleset team switch timer to be 20 seconds instead of 10 seconds.
  • Insertion vehicles can no longer be destroyed.
  • Tweaks to Competitive player ready requirements:
    • Require at least one player per team to be ready before starting the game on a matchmaking server.
    • Don't end the round instantly if the required player count dips below the minimum.
    • Elimination conditions will be met if a team becomes empty.
    • Match is abandoned if there is no longer the required number of players.

AI Improvements
  • Added new “Elite” enemies. Elite enemies wear distinct clothing and use better equipment, and will sometimes come during counter-attacks.
  • Ensure bots firing rockets are now fully ironsighted for a second before firing.
  • Bots in crouch cover should stand up so they can shoot targets that are below them.
  • Added missing driver for Security insertion vehicles.

User Experience Improvements
  • Added an alert sound which triggers when the ready-check appears in Competitive matchmaking.
  • Requeuing in competitive matchmaking must now be performed manually and is no longer automatic.
  • Added the following options to the audio settings page:
    • “Sound In Background”: toggles whether game will continue playing audio when alt-tabbed.
    • “Mute VoIP Radio Beep”: allows players to mute the VoIP radio transmit beep sound effect triggered when players talk over VoIP.
    • “Mute Voice-Over Radio Beep”: allows players to mute the voice over radio transmit start and end beep sound effects for when ingame characters speak.

  • Updated the first support indicator to be less visually obstructive.
  • Added ruleset “CompetitiveTheater” which has no rule changes, only the loadouts, allowing community servers to create their own.

User Interface Improvements
  • New style for fire mode indicator on the HUD.
  • Updated competitive rank to display current division within the tier. Progression within a tier starts with division 4 and ends with division 1. For example, a player who is at Silver division 1 who increases in rank will go to Gold division 4.
  • Added new 2 round burst icon for weapons that support it (G36K).
  • Updated player level icons with new assets. The beginning Bronze levels should now be properly represented with a layer of moss.
  • Updated VoIP activity icons.
  • Updated loading icons.
  • Fixed antalisasing issues with drum magazine HUD icons.

Map Balance & Fixes
Hideout
  • Moved A Insurgents spawn to a more protected location on Push Security.
  • Reduced camping spots in a few buildings.
  • Moved the A spawn slightly on Push Security.
  • Refined restricted areas on Push Insurgents and Firefight East.
  • Several minor adjustments to improve level flow and balance.

Farmhouse
  • Switched fire particles to blueprints.

Refinery
  • Refined blocking volumes to smooth out player movement.
  • Fixed several minor exploits.
  • Switched fire particles to blueprints.

Summit
  • Expanded restricted area for A Security spawn on Push Security.
  • Refined bot cover nodes.
  • Fixed various exploits.
  • Fixed a certain missing wall.
  • Fixed various rock seams.
  • Fixed various blocking volumes.
  • Fixed various minor issues.

Precinct
  • Cleaned up and refined materials to address performance.
  • Fixed a few issues where the player could get stuck.
  • Fixed an issue where a hallway suddenly became very dark.
  • Fixed an issue where a player could get under the map.
  • Fixed numerous exploits.
  • Added a bit more cover near B on Push Security.
  • Added a bit more cover for objective G on both Checkpoint scenarios.
  • Refined restricted area for A Security spawn, on Push Security.

Crossing
  • Fixed various issues with rocks.
  • Moved insertion point on Checkpoint Security.
Insurgency: Sandstorm - New World


Hi everyone, Jon here from New World Interactive. After the successful launch of Insurgency: Sandstorm last week, our team would like to give you a brief update on some of the things we are working on and what players can expect in the future.

First of all, we would like to thank each and every one of you who believed in our team and helped make Insurgency: Sandstorm the massive success it is today! It means a lot to our small team, coming from a hobbyist background as modders, to becoming a top seller on Steam at launch.

We would also like to extend an extra special thank you to all of our community who pre-ordered and helped our team test during the alpha and beta stages of development. The game had many rough patches during its development cycle, but thanks to your feedback and suggestions we’ve brought it to the place it is today.



That being said, we are aware that even now there are some issues fans are facing and we would like to outline the steps our team are taking to address them.

The first is the subject of cheaters. As the game rises in popularity we are seeing some users starting to develop and sell hacks for the game. This is an unfortunate consequence of all competitive online games. However, our team are taking a firm stance against anyone found to be using cheats in-game. We recently banned many accounts found to be using cheat software and will continue to be vigilant against anyone who tries to ruin the experience for others by cheating. We encourage the community to report anyone they see cheating or offering hacks for sale to both New World and our anti-cheat partner Easy Anti-Cheat so these users can be permanently banned from the game. On a technical level, our team will continue to look at ways to close any potential exploits and loopholes for future updates. There is also the case of people exploiting the game itself to cheat. This might include spawn camping, or other things that feel unfair to the general gameplay. These issues are also very important to us to address.

All rounds played via NWI matchmaking are recorded and stored on our servers, if you encounter a player you suspect of using hacks please grab the replay id of the match from the History section on the main menu and send it to Easy Anti-cheat report system, along with the users SteamID.

How to find a replay ID and Steam ID:
  • Mouse over the replay, then click “Copy ID” and paste it in your report.
  • Start the replay, go to scoreboard, then click on the suspected player’s name and “Copy Steam ID”. Then paste it in your report.
If you encounter a player who is exploiting game mechanics to do something that feels unfair to the gameplay (ie spawn camping) please take a screenshot or video along with an explanation of what is happening, and send to support@newworldinteractive.com so that our team can recreate and address the issue.



The second is in relation to performance issues some users are experiencing. First of all, we ask that all users read the minimum system requirements explained thread on our Steam forums to fully understand what specs your PC will need to meet to run Insurgency: Sandstorm. However, we are aware of some users having performance issues despite apparently meeting our recommended specs. For people who are having these issues, we recommend checking our performance tips.

If you still encounter issues, we ask that you help our team identify them by posting in the Performance Discussion & Support section of our forums. Please try to be as descriptive as possible and follow the posting guidelines to help our team gather the relevant information.

Our team have also been working on numerous in-game performance improvements and solutions to common issues reported since launch, we hope to include some of these in our upcoming patch toward the end of this week, however, more updates will be coming in the new year. Launch is just the start for our team. We will continue to improve the game's performance based on community feedback as well as more substantial optimisations in the future in order to target consoles in 2019.



Although the holiday period is rapidly approaching, our team is pulling out all the stops to ensure our fans have the best experience possible. We are busy reading all of your comments and suggestions as we plan out the year ahead, and would like to encourage all our players to join in the discussion on the forums with thoughts and feedback.

If you are enjoying the game please consider giving us a recommendation on Steam to help spread the word. It helps with players who are considering buying the game and it helps grow our community.

As always, we will continue to update you as we make progress, and are looking forward to sharing more information about our first content update in February as part of our free post-release content plan.

For all of you celebrating, we wish you all happy holidays!

New World Interactive
Insurgency: Sandstorm

I’ll never forget the screaming. We'd just locked down checkpoint C, a three-storey townhouse in a wartorn village, and the six of us had taken up positions guarding all windows and entry points, waiting for the counterattack. First a pregnant silence, then a racket of assault rifle bullets and panicked shouts. We were repelling them. The timer had almost expired. Then a squadmate threw a speculative incendiary grenade at a doorway, and the screaming started. The area was being contested, and the insurgent contesting it had just been set alight. The round ended with six of us watching in mute horror as he crawled, wailing, through the fire, into the hallway where he eventually expired. 

This unscripted moment from one of Insurgency Sandstorm's eight-player co-op matches against waves of AI forces really does speak of its qualities. Not just of the eerily convincing soundscapes it conjures, full of dialogue and terrifying reverberations, and not just of the inherent tension to its control point-based modes. It also demonstrates an ability to convey the ugliness and horror of modern military combat, without the need for overwrought scripted sequences as with Battlefield and Call of Duty. Not bad for a series that started life as a Half-Life 2 mod.

Sandstorm is equally brilliant as a co-op or competitive multiplayer game, offering competent large-scale 16v16 fights with vehicles but really excelling at tighter encounters on chokepoint-heavy maps with fewer combatants. The exact nature of the conflict you're fighting and dying for is non-specific but the reference points span Black Hawk Down to Zero Dark Thirty via The Hurt Locker—in other words, a patchwork of post-millennium war in the Middle East. Among the men in bomb vests sprinting at you and the RPG fire, what stands out in particular is that no one's playing the hero. 

I haven't played a multiplayer shooter as exciting as this for ages, and I'll be coaxing friends into its co-op mode for months to come

Instead, every player-controlled and AI soldier sounds terrified. They shout out when they spot an enemy, when they need to reload, or when an objective state has changed, but they never sound like they're relishing the fight like Call of Duty's psychopathic operatives do. They're bricking it, like any sensible person would do. I'd love to see the inner workings of Insurgency: Sandstorm's code so that I could understand how developers New World Interactive manage to trigger appropriate canned dialogue at just the right junctures. That said, they've probably got their hands full, what with this game releasing, so walking an imbecile through their complex systems maybe isn't the most sensible use of their time. 

Nevertheless, the game's unusually articulate soldiers have plenty of provocation to sound terrified in a given match, treated as they are to very few lulls in the action and bombarded by surprise attacks. Co-op consists of a series of checkpoint captures, in sequence, while AI attack each one in waves. Competitive modes, meanwhile, range from Hardpoint-like power struggles to traditional two or three point control scenarios. There's no attempt to reinvent the wheel that's turned at the centre of modern military online shooters, nor any great imperative to do so. Insurgency: Sandstorm just gets on with doing the fundamentals brilliantly.

Weapon behaviour takes a bit of getting used to, mind you. There's no extra layer of visual or sonic feedback for successfully shooting an opponent, so you're sometimes at a loss as to whether your long-range shots connected or not. The active reload mechanic is also sure to catch the new player out at least a dozen times, but these are concessions to realism that Insurgency Sandstorm absolutely convinces you are worth making. 

Eventually the absence of hit confirmations becomes something to actively enjoy, just like those moments you remember to lean around a corner and hit your mark. Here, more than anywhere except arguably ArmA, you can take tremendous pride in playing like a professional soldier and forgetting about K:D ratios.

If nits must be picked, it's the vehicles that stick out for their rough and ready implementation. I've had some great moments in the gunner seat of a converted pickup, true, but the vehicle handling itself and the extent to which map design actually accommodates them just isn't quite there. There's the lightest touch of jankiness reminding you this isn't a triple-A shooter, but it's only with vehicles that you feel the experience actually suffers for it.

Even with those creases, I haven't played a multiplayer shooter as exciting as this for ages, and I'll be coaxing friends into its co-op mode for months to come. I'll also try—and occasionally fail—to describe just how good it sounds from moment to moment to anyone who'll listen. See you at checkpoint C.

Update: This review has been updated to reflect the maximum co-op player count of eight, and that bullets do not self-replenish.

Grand Theft Auto V - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Hey, remember the good old days? Those giddy times I like to think of as last week? When the Charts felt fresh and new, filled with potential, as if any interesting game could take a top spot? Well, forget all that because it’s all gone to shit again.

(more…)

Insurgency: Sandstorm - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Matt Cox)

I don t know if I m cut out for this. It pains me to write that. I m RPS s shooty boy, the kid with the crosshairs. I chomp M4A1 rounds for breakfast. But an average round of Insurgency: Sandstorm tends to chew me up instead, then squat over me while informing me about my poor life choices.

I think I m having a good time?

(more…)

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