Insurgency: Sandstorm is not a game for everyone and that’s not a bad thing at all. Nowadays, FPS games have to cater mostly to everyone if they want to get the big bucks. Even when they do, most of them just fail to retain their audience. Insurgency Sandstorm is a hardcore military first-person shooter and man, it’s a good one.
Generally, I am not a big fan of multiplayer games. Like take each Call of Duty game that I’ve played, for example, I always start playing the campaign in Veteran or Realism mode. After finishing that, I play some multiplayer matches and that’s really it, I move on to the next new thing.
However, there are some unique multiplayer FPSs we’ve gotten in recent years where I do keep playing them for a lot longer. Hell Let Loose has been one of those games in recent memory and now well, it is Insurgency: Sandstorm.
I love how slow and tactical the gameplay is in this game. If you don’t peek, if you don’t carefully scan your surroundings or watch your corners when you enter a building, you’re probably dead. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a PvP or PvE match, cause both the real players and AI bots are well, extremely skillful.
Unfortunately for me, Insurgency Sandstorm doesn’t have a fully-fledged single-player campaign. However, fortunately for me, it has a couple of cool co-op PvE modes, one in particular called Checkpoint where you along with 7 other players capture and destroy objectives one at a time as you move through the area is the highlight of the Insurgency: Sandstorm in my opinion.
Imagine the intensity of Modern Warfare 2019’s campaign played in Realism, but you also have 7 other people with you. Each map is fairly big and they contain a series of objectives either to capture, defend or destroy. If you get killed, you don’t respawn until your team manages to complete an objective. Oh, did I mention it is intense as fuck? Yes, and I really really loved this aspect of it. You always have to be on guard, you always need to keep a lookout on how many bullets you have in your mag and you have to work with your team to complete these objectives.
The community is really strong and finding a match never takes longer than 40-60 seconds. Now, most of the people you play with are random people, some are good, and most are bad as they just straight-up run toward the action and die immediately, leaving you are maybe 2 other players to carry them. However, sometimes you get guys that are good, like really good, like “Bravo Six, Going Dark” good and you know you are in for a heck of a great time.
The other part of the multiplayer is the competitive side. There are a couple of modes here too like Frontline, Firefight, Ambush, Domination, and Push which is like Checkpoint but against other players. All these modes are similar to the usual modes you get in a Call of Duty game let’s say, Ambush is just VIP Escort or Domination is well Domination.
But again what sets these modes here apart from other games, is the level of intensity. One or two bullets and you’re down, the same goes for the enemy players. Grenades are deadly. Molotovs and incendiaries block paths. Flashbangs are blinding. Guns look and feel great to shoot, in semi-auto. If you go full auto, you will struggle to keep the insane recoil at bay. There are no minimap or damage indicators, to hold your hands. Everything is analog and you have to do all the work in order to survive and win.
As for the presentation, visually it looks just okay. It’s a budget game, but after a few matches, you understand that most of the money went into the thing that mattered the most and that is the gunplay. Now I played the PS4 version on a PS5 and it is a smooth 60fps experience.
Now, I wish we get a native PS5 version of this game in the near future, not only for a better resolution, potential for 120fps, and the rest of the “next-gen” goodness but mainly for the use of the Tempest 3D audio. The audio in the game right now is good, but it’s not 3D audio. You don’t really get the sense of where an enemy is based on their footsteps, or you hear all of the bullets whizzing by, but you don’t really know where they are coming from. That is something I really want to see added to Insurgency Sandstorm as it would elevate the whole gameplay to a whole another level.
Insurgency: Sandstorm, as I said, is not for everyone. But if it hooks you, if you like a true hardcore military shooter, this might be one of the best games you will ever play. Thanks for reading!
The game was reviewed on a PS5 (via BC) using a code provided by the publisher. Insurgency Sandstorm is out now for PS4, PC and Xbox.