Splitgate: Arena Warfare – Game Review

Splitgate is a free to play online multiplayer Arena Shooter developed and published by 1047 Games which attempts to emulate Halo’s online multiplayer arena with a Portal twist. In the game, players must compete in a team or solo in a variety of game modes, however, they can use their portals to move around to any* point on the map (as long as you’ve placed your portal there). I was really excited for this game and started writing a review for it about a year ago. Unfortunately my laptop, along with all my unwritten reviews, was stolen. So I’m rewriting it now: Splitgate a year later.

Splitgate’s launch trailer – It looks really cool

As stated previously, this game looked fun, really fun. As a long time Halo fan, in fact Halo 3 was my first ever FPS, I had high hopes for this game. The portal aspect combined with an FPS is something (as far as I can recall) that’s never been done before in a first-person shooter. And I’m happy to report, that that part is honestly great. It’s a shame that the rest isn’t nearly as good. It overall just suffers from a lack of general polish and it just feels… boring. That’s not to say there aren’t fun moments, it did get my heart racing and my legs to stiffen up at times, but overall, I wasn’t nearly as invested.

To start-off with the gameplay – it’s literally a carbon copy of Halo for the FPS side of things. Now, this isn’t inherently bad, however, they didn’t do an amazing job. They have a lot of gamemodes which are just lifted from Halo, yet some – like SWAT – don’t make sense in a game like this (this is a complaint I found on the Splitgate subreddit). It also just feels clunky – and not the Halo 3 way, just… clunky. Movement just feels bad in general, the only aspect I do like is the portals.

These are done really well, the controls are easy and they’re (the portals) generally well executed. The ability to look through them is trippy but cool and unique and especially the ability to see yourself if you position you portals correctly. It should be mentioned that you cannot see through enemy portals, which is done for balance and (I assume) performance reasons. Another thing that should be mentioned is that you can only place your portal on certain surfaces – but those surfaces are plentiful and well spread out.

 I do have one major gripe with the portal system though, you frequently clip the edges and end up not going through when you need to. While I understand this is something that you have to get used to, it’s still really annoying and (at times) rage inducing. I once just hit my fist on my desk like Totto Wolf after Bottas crashed in Germany (F1 reference for those unaware) when I died because I failed to enter my portal for the umpteenth time.

This could be fixed by making the portals slightly bigger than they are right now allowing you to travel through them with more ease when you are under stress. There are grenades which are only used to get rid of portals, however, in my experience, I’ve never really seen them used that much.

The main offender of which is… ghosting? I mean, seriously? It’s not my keyboard, it’s definitely an in-game issue. If you give too many inputs at once (ie move left sprint jump and shoot) at the same time your gun just won’t fire until you give it a second input. This is completely wack, like for a competitive area shooter, where gunplay is literally 70% of the game, this is inexcusable. An FPS game where you can’t consistently shoot…

Speaking of shooting, the guns are all from Halo – which isn’t much of a surprise, but I’m willing to excuse it – but unlike Halo, they’re all really bland and uninspired. They don’t have any punch and just, in general, don’t have any character – recoil patterns are all relatively the same and they all feel really clunky. Especially the reloads, unlike most modern shooters which will resume the reload from before, Splitgate starts it from the beginning, which wouldn’t be a problem if all the reloads weren’t so slow. Building off speed.

I know my aim was a bit potato in these clips, but I want to draw your attention to the reload fail which was quite annoying

The TTK is really slow as well and could really do with a rework if I’m being honest. There are also major problems with weapon balance, the shotgun is completely useless and the sniper – while good has such a long cooldown (what is supposed to emulate a bolt I assume) – can easily be outclassed by my pistol. In fact, now that I think of it, I use my pistol just as much, if not more than my assault rifle, which is saying something.

Moving on to the visual style of the game because there’s not much more to say. It looks completely unlike the trailers; the first time I entered the menu screen I legitimately thought I needed to get my eyes checked. The in-game models are better, but by no means are good. The textures look really… low res. Everything has a noisy edges and it just looks blurry. Despite what I’ve just said, it doesn’t look HORRIBLE, it looks just under mediocre. This doesn’t really affect me much, however, I know for a lot of people I will,

The level design is interesting, but I only really remember 3 maps out of the roster. One of which has a void underneath which while fun and interesting, makes it really annoying when you mistime a jump or just misstep.

The game runs great, I was getting over 140 fps on average, even when I had a bunch of chrome tabs open. But there are a lot of bugs. Even when I took a break from writing this review and hopped in, I experienced a new one where my HUD completely disappeared and I had to shoot in order to change my character’s orientation. There’s a lot to fix – though I do see a lot more improvement from before – bugs aren’t as frequent (but they’re still relatively common).

In conclusion, Splitgate is a game that brings something really unique to the table. The portal mechanic is honestly really well done, and I applaud them on that, however, this is completely overshadowed by a lack of overall polish. The game visuals look like you need glasses and soundtrack is meh, the guns are bad – sounds isn’t good and they feel weak. Finally, the game overall just isn’t finished. I do suggest you take a look, it is free (though there are loot boxes which are honestly not worth your time), but only if your interested in the portals – it isn’t worth downloading otherwise in my opinion.

Final Score: 4/10

(the portals are the main things bringing the score up)

Plays way too many games and should probably sleep more…

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Aditya Rao

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