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Saturday
Aug312013

Insurgency preview: hold off on this Early Access shooter

If you're not going to do anything particularly new, at least do it well; that is a perfectly reasonable request, right? Insurgency is a new tactical first-person shooter available now via Steam Early Access and fails doing anything new or doing what it does well.

"But Insurgency is an Early Access game and only in beta; shouldn't you cut it some slack?"

No.

The developers are charging $19.99 for Insurgency and, if they are willing to take your money, discount or not, the game deserves to be judged to the point where one can ask the question: "Should I buy it?" and get an honest answer in return. Sure, I may not be the biggest fan of the concept of paying full price to be a beta tester in general, but I have also played other Early Access games--like Mercenary Kings--and would recommend buying them without hesitation, so it's not like I have some anti-Early Acess agenda I'm taking out on Insurgency. But what exactly is Insurgency and why isn't it worth recommending. (I should probably get to that by now.)

Insurgency is a tactical first-person shooter and a sequel to the Source mod of the same name from 2007. It is focused on realism and teamwork and feels a lot like old Rainbow Six games and Red Orchestra--which makes sense since a good chunk of the relatively small team, New World Interactive, is comprised of those who were part of the team that developed Red Orchestra. So far, so good, right? Well, the game is not without problems; it's in beta, after all.

The core mechanics of Insurgency are fine and standard--it controls like pretty much every other shooter available--and the visuals are solid--they won't blow anyone away, but the game looks good; however, the game itself doesn't always run smoothly, has lag issues, and quite a few instances of cheating--yes, it's in beta, I know. On top of that, the game is buggy--no surprise--featuring many instances of clipping--in a realistic shooter, seeing legs and arms sticking through geometry is even more jarring than usual--and other smaller issues--I'm not here to write a bug report. None of this is surprising since the game is in beta, but when paying for a game, I find it hard to accept such bugginess, but I suppose those who would consider buying Insurgency while in Early Access know exactly what they are getting into.

All that said, there are plenty of things to like in Insurgency. The core gameplay is fun and, when you find a good group of guys and gals to team up with, the experience is great (if you ignore the bugs and whatnot). One of the best parts of Insurgency is the class and loadout as each class has different available equipment--plenty of equipment is shared between classes--and, instead of having to earn money to unlock weapons or reach a certain level, the loadout system in Insurgency works on a point system--each gun costs a certain number of points; each attachment costs a certain number of points; and so on--and you only have so many points to spend--extra supply points can be earned during a match if you're just short of that perfect class setup. The loadout system is great and allows players to choose the way they want to play without locking out better weapons for those who have played a ton of hours or are better at using specific starter weapons.

Insurgency also features a decent selection of game modes and solid maps with multiple ways of getting from point A to point B with plenty of great flanking options; though, the spawn system could use a little work because spawn camping does occasionally happen. And the game is frequently updated, adjusting balance, levels, and all the usual jazz. As far as a beta goes, Insurgency isn't too shabby; however, when it costs money to play a beta, things change and, because Insurgency is still quite buggy, lacks a strong community, and isn't finished by any means, I can't recommend paying $19.99 for an unfinished game that doesn't do anything particularly new when there are plenty of great finished games at the same price or cheaper.

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