I couldn’t pass up the deal offered by EA with its Origin Humble Bundle. It gave me the chance to try out a few games that I would have never picked up otherwise, particularly Battlefield 3 and Medal of Honor.
While I enjoyed the single player campaigns in both, the multiplayer modes got dull quickly. I realized players weren’t actually playing with each other–they were playing next to each other.
To put it simply, the games lack teamwork. Sure, Medal of Honor has a Squad mode and Battlefield 3 has some maps that force players into close-knit large-scale battles, but in the end players aren’t really working together. They’re not using tactics and you can guess that you don’t have a squad that has your back. Sure, it’s better than the name-calling and immaturity of COD, but I still found it rather depressing.
I wondered whether the old days of games like the original Ghost Recon or Rainbow Six were forever lost. They had slow-paced battles that forced players to use check their corners and use tactics. They forced players to take up different positions, and work together to sweep different parts of the map. In those games, the guys who tried rushing around the map not caring whether they died were the first to fall.
Then I saw the beta release for Insurgency, which claims it is “leading an indie revival of the tactical shooter genre.” I figured I’d give it a shot.
I joined a room, and I remember I was checking a corner when another player said over the mic, “I got your back.” I can’t describe the relief I felt.
Players were working together, some telling their teammates when they wanted to move up, teammates giving cover fire, and players moving slowly across the maps, clearing rooms as teams, and all around working together.
But what I found most interesting was that most of the players seemed to be playing to have fun. Players were joking with each other, congratulating each other, and there didn’t seem to be many who got angry when a player didn’t do so well.
On one match, a player called another player a “fag.” Other players responded by telling him to watch his language and saying “Go back to COD if you’re gonna talk like that.”
I’m surprised to find a game like this. Well, I should say I’m relieved to find a game like this.
I was relieved.
In terms of gameplay, there are a few points that sets Insurgency apart from most other FPS games, and help create the type of gameplay that encourages teamwork.
There are two teams of players: Insurgency and Security. And on each team there are also several Squads with four slots each. Players need to join a Squad in order to spawn, and each player in each Squad also has a specific role and a Squad Leader.
One Squad may be diverse with a rifleman, a machine gunner who gives cover fire, a guy with a shotgun (breacher), and a recon guy with an SMG. Another squad may have three snipers and a guy to watch their backs.
When an enemy fires at you, your screen starts to get blurry. This means that “suppressing fire” plays an important role, and one player can lay suppressing fire an enemy while another flanks him.
Insurgency also uses a unique system for respawns, which makes players think about their moves carefully.
Each team get a small wave of respawn points, which can drain quickly. In order to get another wave of respawns, players need to capture control points on the map. It not only gives added incentive to capture control points, but also incentive to prevent enemies from getting another wave of respawns.
The respawn system also creates some epic moments. I’ve been among an entire team of players watching our last surviving teammate capture a control point while going Rambo on a wave of enemies.
And every time I’ve seen a player fail to respawn their team, comments are usually along the lines of “you still did well.”
The game is still in beta, so there are still a few bugs. I’m also curious to see what the developers will be adding, since Insurgency seems like a pretty strong game despite its beta status.
There are a couple things I’d like to see.
A large map or two would be awesome. I’ll never forget some of the large maps in Ghost Recon that had players hunting each other, and the large maps in games like Project Reality. What large maps do is make troop encounters less common, and so when players run into each other the battles are always epic.
I would also like to see some unlockable content, or something to reward players for winning. It’s nice to have a sense of progression, even a ranking system, to give gamers added motivation to play. As things stand, there aren’t any badges or rewards, either, although the player with the highest score does get their portrait shown at the end of each match.
Already, however, Insurgency is a fantastic game. It’s still in beta, so I’m sure there is much still to come. And for anyone looking for a FPS game where players use strategy and work together, this one’s for you.