From top to bottom, Insurgency is certainly a thinking man's shooter.
There is a lot to like about Insurgency. It is very much a game that requires group participation and teamwork, player skill and tact, and a whole lot of patience. While this may throw off some, the tension that the game can bring on from a moment-to-moment basis is truly exhilarating. This is as close to a being in an actual warzone that I've experience in a game, personally, and it does so while still remaining a highly entertaining time. Don't get me wrong though, this is far from the arcadey 'fun to be fun' sort of experience that you see in many of today's competitive shooters, so if the description of the game has you a bit worried, be well assured that this game is not for you. For those interested in the idea of a game based largely around team-play and smart decision making, this could very well be the game for you. It certainly is for me. At a $15 price tag, this game has quickly become my favorite competitive online shooter of a long while.
From top to bottom, Insurgency is certainly a thinking man's shooter. From deciding what class you want, weapons, attachments and gear the game constantly tasks you with thinking ahead, planning your moves and deciding just what sort of role you will play within your team. This is done through a points system that allows players only a certain number of items to take with them in the battlefield. This is a great system and is very reminiscent of the one used back in the original Black Ops. It gives a lot of choice to the player and allows them to decide what they feel is most necessary and what will most aid them in whatever play style they decide to take. Whether they simply decide to throw everything into their weapon, go for a bit more armor, or simply just want that frag or flash grenade as a little assurance, the freedom the system gives the player and just how it handles said player freedom is definitely something I wish more games would offer.
That's all fine and good, but none of that truly matters if the base game itself isn't good, right? Very much so, and I am happy to say that Insurgency is a fine shooter all around. While I certainly wouldn't say it's the end-all-be-all of the FPS genre, there is no denying that Insurgency's gunplay is very solid; having much to do with the overall weight behind the guns and the feel of the recoil. While the game certainly doesn't enter true simulation territory, all the weapons in the game handle very much like how you would expect their real world counterparts would. What's a very good thing, and not something that you would expect from what is a budget priced title, is the weapons also very much sound as you would expect their real would counterparts to. All the gun sounds had a real punch to them and were very distinct from model to model. This really is something of note, considering you don't see sound design of this level often times in even a AAA release. Visually, the game is a bit lacking, however. While it's certainly not a bad looking game, it is running Source Engine and simply doesn't hold up to many of today's releases. Then again, this is a release selling for a quarter of the price of your average AAA title, so there will obviously be cuts somewhere. Everything said and done though, it's not an ugly game and they did a very good job realizing their vision here. What's more, being that it is Source, this game will run well on many machines and the options menu offers a fair amount as to accommodate a large range of rigs. As for the performance itself, I was barely ever dipping under 120fps at any time with a single GTX680 and an i5-3570k , with the graphics maxed and even some extra options running via my graphics card itself. Easy to say, performance shouldn't be an issue for too many people.
For the competitive player, Insurgency is broken into six different modes which all fall under one of two set-lists; 'Tactical Operations' or 'Sustained Combat'. The differences between the two being in how they handle respawns and going about your goals in general. Either way, you will be spending your time either simply taking out enemies, destroying the opposing team's weapon caches, holding key points on the map, or any combination of the three. While there may not be all that much variation in the modes themselves, in the twenty or so hours I put into the game none of them got stale. They all felt very much worthwhile and the two set-lists provide enough difference to the overall feel of the game that playing otherwise similar modes still felt a fair bit different in comparison. Other than that, they even have a co-operative mode that pits you and your team some actually fairly aggressive AI opponents as you move forward to try and take points. A surprising addition that can honestly be a lot of fun and can act as a good alternative for those who aren't big on competitive online experiences.
As I stated earlier, Insurgency is very much a tactical shooter and heavily relies on team co-operation. Having experience with games such as Battlefield, and even Counter-Strike, I say this game is definitely in a league of its own when it comes to playing with tact and requiring conversing with your team to stay alive, more comparable to the sort of experience offered by Red Orchestra than anything. There is no mini-map, there is no spotting feature. There is just you, your gun and your team. The only way to truly hope to stay alive for any real amount of time is to keep alert, move slowly, check corners and keep in contact with your team. Even then, once they're dead, they're dead. You can't speak to them, they can't speak to you. This is very much a hardcore experience where only a few bullets will drop you and making just one dumb move will have you waiting in the lobby until a new game starts or you get the rare chance to respawn, considering the mode you are playing allows for it. It's a tense experience and it's not going to be for everyone. For every one player who finds such an experience rewarding, there will be another who just finds it to not be a worthwhile experience. That's just the way of things. As for me, I find Insurgency to be a truly compelling experience and it may have just become my new go-to online shooter.