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Insurgency Sandstorm Review.

Insurgency Sandstorm is the follow up to Insurgency, a game released in early 2014. The first game was built from the Source engine, and this time they decided to progress to the latest Unreal Engine. Just like the first one, this game is known for its realistic modern gameplay, amazing sound, atmosphere, and graphics. It standards itself apart from the yearly mainstream shooters due to its slower paced and hard-core tactical style. This is not a game of running and gunning, steady aim and burst fire is the way to go, and the recoil will punish you severely if you don’t respect it.



The developers New World Interactive followed up Sandstorm with one of the community’s most popular WW2 mods, effectively creating a standalone game called Day of Infamy. There they introduced a number of new elements such as the commander class where you could, in proximity to the observer class, call in air support, such as strafing runs, mortar and stuka bombers. In Sandstorm you also have a variety of air support options available including helicopter gunships, mortar, artillery, smoke cover and drones. And in this game when you have both teams using their air support options frequently against each other, it just adds yet another element to the sheer intensity of this game.

Apart from these 2 classes, you also have 6 others including the marksman, breacher, gunner, advisor, rifleman and demolitions. Basically, there’s something for everyone, and you are sure to find a playstyle that suits you. You also have a different assortment of weapons and equipment, depending on both your class and your team, i.e. insurgents or security. The game also has local single player mode, as well as coop, pvp versus and competitive. Another addition is vehicles, there is now a driveable truck with its own mounted gun which can be devastating if ignored.



One thing that can’t be overstated is the intensity of the matches. Every player or soldier sounds genuinely terrified. When there is smoke, the guys cough in game. When there are explosions nearby, your vision and hearing are impacted. The sound of artillery, mortar and gunships even further puts you on your toes. The sound of bullets whizzing by just make you pray they’re not going in your direction. Out in the open you’re vulnerable to snipers, while inside buildings you’re only a step or a door away from close-quarters standoff. You can never really feel safe. As the smoke and frag grenades are throw in through the windows, the doors are kicked in and you better hope you see the enemy before they see you. There are very few lulls in the action. There is really not many other games quite like this, and it really is refreshing as a gamer to have the privilege of experiencing this in today’s day and age where profits for investors seem to be more important than the fun of the gamers.



Other new features that the game brings to the first person shooter table is their reload mechanics. There are no ammo counters on the HUD, so you really need to remember how many bullets you spent in your current magazine. When you reload your gun, you actually put away your current magazine and its remaining bullets back in your backpack, which can then be used later on. If you are under pressure, you also have the option of a fast reload where you actually drop your magazine to the ground, resulting in a faster reload. This adds another layer of depth, as the ammo boxes are really only opened up at the objectives and only after you take or complete the objective, and running back to the last one would usually take way too long. You do also have the option of picking up weapons, ammo and grenades from the ground, so it sometimes comes down to being flexible and using whatever weapons and gear around you.



From many hours in this game and from also reading all the reviews, the one and only issue this game really has is to do with optimisation. Since it is Unreal Engine 4 which is a very new engine, and a change from NWI’s usual Source, it definitely is something that is causing concern among the player base as not everyone is willing to tolerate the jankiness, especially in comparison to highly optimised AAA mainstream shooters

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The overall verdict though is that the game excels and stands out at the areas that matter to me as a gamer, and as someone who has gone through many a shooter in their decades of gaming. The intensity, the atmosphere and immersion, the realism are all absolute amazing. Add to this, good gameplay and gunplay, large and intricate maps and the recent news that NWI have opened up a new Canadian studio, and the promise that workshop mod support will be added, all point to a long term player and good future for this game and studio.


Rating 8/10


Written by Adam

Written by Adam Smith for Gaming Australiang Australia