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Insurgency: Sandstorm, the third game in the series that began as a Source Engine mod in 2007, has been delayed. Originally planned for a September launch, Sandstorm's release was pushed back to December 12 as developer New World Interactive announced it need extra time to make improvements, upgrade to Unreal Engine 4.20, and 'deliver the best experience possible.'
In the meantime, I tried out the PvE mode in the Sandstorm beta. It's an objective-based horde mode in which players push across maps while battling scores of AI enemies and completing one of three objectives: capturing points, defending points, or blowing up enemy supplies. It's not as deep as a good Payday 2 mission, but it's not as simplistic as a Call of Duty Zombies match, either.
When it comes to combat, Sandstorm delivers that trademark Insurgency brutality with gusto, even in beta. The Insurgency series has always leaned towards realism where it could, and that continues here. An unthinking player will go down hard if they aren’t careful. Shotguns hit like a truck, even at ranges far beyond the standard videogame expectations. This dedication to realistic gunplay creates a distinct pacing in Insurgency where players might spend several minutes hiding in a corner, listening anxiously for footsteps, only to pop out and frantically deliver a headshot on a single enemy. A traditional horde mode pushes you to kill everything you see, but Insurgency’s realistic combat encourages avoidance-heavy play instead, setting it apart from many other horde mode games out there.
Combat clarity could be improved, however: the best shooters communicate heavily with their players by using identifiable silhouettes, smart sound design, and rich feedback to avoid confusing the player. The sound design in beta is a disparate mix that makes it difficult to tell if a friend or enemy is nearby, and that can be frustrating in a game so reliant on sound for positioning. Enemy silhouettes could be a lot clearer, and hit markers or hit sounds would make the combat more readable, though that might stray from the game’s attempts to feel realistic.
There are performance issues throughout, but New World Interactive’s delay will hopefully result in better optimization. Unfortunately, the AI is going to need a significant amount of work as well. There are moments where it can seem clever: planning an ambush or lying in wait in dark corners for unsuspecting players. At other times, an enemy might spin 180 degrees to pick players off across the map, or become so focused on one player that they completely ignore others and expose themselves for an easy kill.
It would be great if the AI was a bit more human-like, focusing on self-preservation and only possessing knowledge of what it could actually see and hear. Right now, the AI seems so stupid that it has to cheat to keep up, which can make combat encounters feel unfair.
Sandstorm’s progression system is cosmetic-only. You earn cash by completing missions, and you can spend that cash to buy the cosmetics you want. It’s a fair, easy-to-follow system that rewards you without feeling exploitative.
Gear customization is based on points, with a set amount of items you can carry, so if you want heavy armor and a modded shotgun, you might not be able to carry any grenades. This pick-and-choose system gives players the freedom to make interesting tactical choices right away, but it also means there are no new skills or tools that can be discovered later on. New World has made a deliberate choice with this system, and it might not satisfy everyone.
Despite the issues I encountered, Insurgency: Sandstorm is immense fun that manages to successfully differentiate itself from other horde mode games out there. If the lack of a progression system is a positive and not a negative for you, then there's little to worry about outside the AI and performance. Hopefully New World Interactive can polish it successfully in time for launch, with special attention focused on improving the bots.
Modern multiplayer military manshoot Insurgency: Sandstorm won’t be fully launching until December 12th. While partially available now as a pre-order beta, the final release (featuring more maps and playmodes) has been delayed for additional tuning, polishing up and optimisation on top of a bonus round of bug-fixing. Developers New World Interactive have provided a checklist of things they hope to have tightened up and locked down by release, which you can see below.
Developer New World Interactive has delayed the release of its team-based tactical shooter Insurgency: Sandstorm. The game, which was originally due to launch on PC next week, September 18th, will now arrive on December 12th.
Announcing the delay on its blog, New World Interactive said, "This was one of the hardest decisions our team has ever had to make and not one taken lightly". However, it felt that the move would ultimately be "in the best interest of the game and our community", allowing the developer time "to ensure we deliver the best possible experience".
New World Interactive's decision comes in response to community feedback gathered during Insurgency: Sandstorm's recent pre-order betas. "We are acutely aware that not all of you are having the ideal experience we want to deliver," explained the studio.
Insurgency: Sandstorm, the tactical team-based FPS previously planned for a September release has been moved back nearly two months. The new date is December 12, though the 10% pre-order discount and beta access will be extended through the new release date.
"This was one of the hardest decisions our team has ever had to make and not one taken lightly," reads a post on New World Interactive's site. "However, we feel it is in the best interest of the game and our community to spend more time working to ensure we deliver the best possible experience."
During the beta the developers received feedback from players, and "we are acutely aware that not all of you are having the ideal experience we want to deliver," the post continues. "By extending the beta and moving our launch date to December, the additional time will allow us to make significant improvements to the game with continued input from you."
Some of those planned improvements include:
You can find Insurgency: Sandstorm on Steam, where there's also 10% loyalty discount for owners of the original Insurgency that has been extended until the end of March, 2019.
I imagine in direct response to all my
moaning insightful criticism, everyone in the world has upped their game and started buying some more interesting games from Steam. Such that this week’s Steam Charts, with an extraordinary four new entries, barely resembles those of the last couple of months! Hurrah! And you clickbait won’t believe clickbait where Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds falls this week! CLICKBAIT!