Developer: New World Interactive
Publisher: New World Interactive
With blockbuster AAA titles like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Halo possessing advertising budgets equal to that of the GDP of a small country, you could be forgiven for not having heard of Insurgency, an unassuming indie title that has earned an impressive “Very Positive” review status on Steam, an achievement that ranks it up there with the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Crysis 2. Insurgency, the sequel to the popular Source mod INSURGENCY: Modern Infantry Combat, is a testament to the increasing quality of games coming from previously unknown developers.
Most FPS games try to be interesting and fun, constantly one-upping each other with new and even more outlandish concepts. From nanosuits to alien coups, we’ve seen it all. While all the big name game publishers seem to be duking it out in this area, Insurgency has quietly cottoned on to the largely untapped market (aside from the likes of America’s Army and to some degree the Counter-Strike series) that is realism. Insurgency doesn’t offer teleportation, sound canons, zombie apocalypses or even an equivalent of care packages; Insurgency offers gaming experience based on real modern combat.
As the game is set in predominantly Muslim nations, the presence of mosques and seemingly Islamic background dialogue whilst the player is in these mosques isn’t unexpected but worth mentioning nonetheless.
Insurgency is a tactical FPS with a focus on realism, as such it contains a lot of violent content. Gore is not really an issue despite the nature of the game making death a main feature. There’s no over-abundance of blood or dismemberment as seen in a lot of games, people generally just die. There aren’t really any cutscenes to speak of except for a few during the initial training session, so there’s nothing to speak of there in terms of violence. I tend to have a strong policy of full-disclosure, so I’m gonna be honest here, I didn’t get close enough to any of my enemies to test out any melee weapons or see if any take downs were possible, as such I can’t comment on the level of graphic content.
From an expletive perspective, Insurgency isn’t the worst game I’ve played, but it’s no Mario or Zelda. There’s only a few actual profane words in use but they’re used fairly regularly, f*** and s*** were the main two that jumped out at me. They appear in a variety of contexts including something similar to “You really f****d him up good!” when a player kills an enemy. In all honesty, there’s really not a great deal of point in covering the profanity aspect of this game as it’s an online game and 99 times out 100 you’ll encounter someone with an offensive username or swearing on their mic or through the chat. Essentially, if you can’t handle people swearing around you, avoid online games (not just Insurgency, but virtually every online game).
In terms of sexual content, there’s not much to speak of except the comments made in the profanity section above. Essentially, if there’s any sexual content, it’s either an offensive background exclamation or user-generated.
As explained in the introduction above, the general setting of Insurgency is that of a hired mercenary company being employed to clear out insurgents in various warzones around the world. This concept of soldiers for hire may make some people uncomfortable.
A quick disclaimer: most of my PvP time went something along the lines of “There’s someone! Never mind…” as I died too quickly to react. Now, I do have a very average internet connection and a good connection speed PS4. I was dealing with a ping of at least 100 (up to 320), so I can blame a certain percentage of my deaths on that; in reality though, I’m just not that great at PvP. When I found the Co-Op game modes, my Kill:Death ratio improved dramatically, as such I spent the majority of my time playing these game modes.
Game mechanics in Insurgency are excellent. New World Interactive went for realism with this title, this means you can’t expect to absorb half a clip of ammunition before you’re close to death. Hit zones are realistic (headshots are ideal) so kills normally take just a few rounds. The flipside of this realism is how quickly you can die. I wouldn’t worry about trying PvP if you have a slow internet connection — as I mentioned above, death will come swiftly.
Upon joining a game session, players are presented with a list of squad members for each team. If a slot is unoccupied, the player can choose to take that position. Among others, available roles include marksman, support and sniper. The main change between each role is access to different types of weapons. The role of sniper allows the use of bolt-action sniper rifles and long range carbines, marksman gives access to medium range rifles and choosing support allows the utilization of LMGs.
Loadout customization in Insurgency is based on supply points—with more supplies comes access to more weapons and attachments. As you play a map you earn supply points that allow you to customize your loadout. In addition to the usual suspects like foregrips and sights with varying zoom levels and peripheral vision, Insurgency includes the flashlight attachment for most primary and secondary weapons. Seemingly a waste of a supply point, the flashlight instead plays a key early role during nighttime engagements when supply points are too tightly rationed to splurge on night vision goggles. As I mentioned earlier, in Insurgency death comes quickly without much warning, but the difference between one second and two can be enough to return fire or take evasive action. This is where body armour comes in — the types of armor on offer include none, light and heavy. Lethal and tactical grenades along with C4 and flare guns are also available. All supply customizations affect your character’s weight, which in turn affects your speed and maneuverability. There are not as many weapons and accessories available in Insurgency as in some other FPS games, but there is enough differentiation to allow each player to cater to their unique play style.
A variety of game modes are on offer in Insurgency, all of which correspond to a potential real-world battle scenario. In general respawning is either timed, will happen when your team achieves an objective, or when one team wins. I found this concept of rationed respawning refreshing as it helps to discourage disposable, Leeroy Jenkins-style playing. On the other hand, it’s also frustrating as it’s very unforgiving. One early mistake potentially leaves you out of the game for 5-10 minutes or more. My personal favourite game mode is Survival. Set at night, you and your team must survive for as many rounds as possible by moving from supply crate to supply crate to gain supply points and upgrade your weapons whilst trying not be killed by the enemy team. Also a nighttime mode, Hunt sets your squad against a team of guards hunting you. Silence is key, and you must try to avoid being seen or you’ll die very quickly, but this is a very fun mode. There are also a variety of other game modes with different objectives, respawn times and rounds.
Graphics in Insurgency are perfectly serviceable, if nothing to write home about. Characters and buildings are clearly recognizable and well detailed. There are a variety of maps available, from tightly packed towns and mosques to government buildings. All maps are set in Africa and the Middle East with a variety of combat situations from close-quarters urban to long-range firefights. The voice overs, sound effects and music are well made and clear. Each weapon type makes a distinctive noise that is easily identifiable. Whilst not up to Crysis by any stretch, the presentation in Insurgency doesn’t need to be. The point of this game isn’t to wow visually, but to wow with a different style of gameplay.
If you like FPS games, try Insurgency. If you’re an army buff, try Insurgency. If you’re vaguely curious, try Insurgency. This game is great and comes with a low enough price tag that even if you’re only vaguely curious, giving it a go is still an option. During my sessions, here were plenty of servers available including some based locally here in Australia (yes, I’m an Aussie), and there werealways people on for multiplayer. I didn’t go for more than five or so minutes on a co-op server before I was joined by a few other players. The co-op modes are a good alternative if you have difficulty surviving on PvP servers. Gameplay is excellentand graphics and audio are more than adequate. Before I started playing Insurgency, I was a little worried that I might have to force myself to play enough for this review. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the game and I will likely be playing more in the future when I can find the time and when I get a faster connection.
The Bottom Line
Players looking for an alternative to CoD may not find exactly what they're looking for, but Insurgency is a great twist on the traditionally far-fetched FPS genre and is well worth it's $14.99 price tag. Hours and hours of replayability, plenty of servers, a variety of game modes, and lots of fun all combine to make Insurgency one of the best Indie games I've played in a while.