Insurgency Sandstorm is a fast-paced realistic first-person shooter developed by New World Interactive and Published by Focus Home Interactive. Insurgency Sandstorm is the successor to Insurgency. The game is multiplayer only and has a steep learning curve.
As mentioned earlier, this a multiplayer only game, however, this doesn’t mean it is exclusively PvP. There are 3 game modes to choose from: PvE, PvP, and Competitive PvP. Within these game modes there are more sub game modes such as Push (One team attacks, one defends), Firefight (3 objectives, all must be captured to win), Skirmish (same as firefight, but you also have to capture the enemy base) and Capture the Base which is like Firefight and skirmish, but you can use vehicles. For PvE there is only one game mode (at the moment) called Checkpoint where your team has to capture progressive checkpoints, there are 2 more planned game modes on the way.
There is a pretty steep learning curve to the game, however, it isn’t as tricky as other games like Rainbow Six Siege, Rising Storm 2: Vietnam. Etc. The loadout system (which is built similarly to the one in Insurgency) is quite good, it gives you a specific amount of points to allocate to different things, such as your guns (Primary and Secondary), sights, grenades, armor and other stuff allowing for balanced gameplay even with many customization options. Even if you pick the best gun, you may be making compromises in other areas. Vehicles are a new addition to Insurgency, but in my experience, they don’t affect the game much due to their weak ‘armor’ which still leaves them vulnerable to grenades and RPGs proving them to be not very useful. Sandstorm’s gameplay is fast-paced yet tactical. It’s more like run and gun but you still have to plan and strategize, especially in QCBs. Overall, despite there being times where the game is a bit boring or irritating, I think majority of players will come back for the adrenaline-inducing moments and the exhilarating experience. My biggest gripe with the game is that it sometimes devolves into repetitive death cycles which can frustrate and drive off players.
The loadout system pretty good in this game. it is a shame that there are fewer weapons to choose from than in Insurgency, however, there is still a wide variety of weapon attachments to choose from though. One thing that is a bit annoying is that Security forces have to put extra points into a pistol and Gas mask, which I don’t like the idea of. Furthermore, at times hit registration doesn’t work properly which can get rather annoying.
Also, a vote kick feature definitely needs to be implemented soon. It’s pretty much a necessity to any multiplayer game.
The game looks amazing, almost everything is well detailed from the guns to the buildings. Albeit the character models are a bit lackluster, especially in comparison to the quality of the rest of the game. The gore is also extremely well done. The sound design is good, all the weapons feel and are powerful, the voice acting is quite good (voice lines, coughing, etc.). One thing I think needs some appreciation are the smoke grenades, they look amazing, very “smoke-like”. The game’s UI is also extremely clean and slick, compared to the original Insurgency. Sandstorm has a lot more polish to it. One rather strange issue I found was that there is no possible way to look at your character models’ feet. This may seem like a silly thing to complain about but I found that so strange that I just had to include it.
In my experience so far, the Insurgency Sandstorm runs decently smooth, but I’ve experienced quite a few hiccups in the whole experience. I’m able to run the game on very high settings with occasional frame rate issues at all. The control scheme is quite intuitive, with everything being able to be re-mapped. There are occasional texture bugs where you can’t see your character model at all and occasionally a wall will be untextured for a second, and then return to normal. , there have been reports that there are more glaring issues with the game: https://www.reddit.com/r/insurgency/comments/9ev1h4/problems_facing_insurgency_sandstorm/
In conclusion, Insurgency Sandstorm looks and plays extremely well. Its sound design is amazing and is fairly well optimized. I think there is quite a lot of replayability in Sandstorm with its main edge over other games being the adrenaline-inducing moments in between boring or lackluster times. Despite these pros, New World Interactive needs to fix some aspects of the game especially in balancing. At $30 I think the game deserves a 7/10 but at anything below $20, I think it’s definently worth it (9/10).
Final Score: 8/10
Plays way too many games ans should probably sleep more.