By: David Tavernier
Insurgency is a game that may make you recall several other games in popular tactical FPS series, such as Call of Duty, Counterstrike and Battlefield. Just like in the Counterstrike mod of old, the battle between “Terrorists” and “Counter-terrorists” has been replaced by “Insurgents” and “Security” forces. This being said, Insurgency is not just a rehash of Counterstrike with a new coat of paint. There are elements of the game that make it seem much more realistic, leaving Counterstrike feeling more like an arcade shooter than an accurate simulation of war.
Insurgency‘s controls should be familiar to anyone who has experience with the Counterstrike or Call of Duty games. You can sprint, duck, go prone and use iron sights as well as scope on the fly. This, however, doesn’t mean that Insurgency‘s controls are an exact recreation of those from previous popular shooters; in fact, in their own way, they strive for realism.
In most first-person shooters, each weapon has a crosshair that indicates where each fired projectile will hit. Insurgency does away with all that. None of the guns have an ordinary crosshair. You must either use an iron sight, a holographic sight, a scope, or you must buy a laser sight that will cast a red dot wherever you aim your gun.
Another realistic element to Insurgency is the weight and feel added to each weapon. Every weapon has its own recoil, and it often pays off to buy an extra grip for your gun, or a heavy barrel to reduce this. You can also spend your supply points on grenades, extra ammo, or armor. Even with heavy armor, however, you will die extremely fast in Insurgency, just like real life.
This emphasis on realism means that Insurgency requires more skill than your average tactical FPS and therefore has a higher learning curve. This learning curve may scare away newbies, but it will certainly attract hardcore shooter veterans that want to show off their skills.
Insurgency uses the Source engine, so if you’ve played such games as Half-Life 2 or Counterstrike you should know what kind of game you’ll be looking at. Because the Source engine is so old, you shouldn’t expect the visuals to be more than adequate even at the highest settings. That being said, some of the effects are eye-popping. A burning car in the background will send up plumes of impressive smoke that look like those found in real life photographs.
Although there is some realism in the graphics, the sound effects in Insurgency are much more lifelike than its graphics. All of the weapons have their own unique noises, and the music often features a heavy pounding of drums in order to emphasize the war-like nature of each match. These touches are welcome and help the player become immersed in the game, even with its simple visuals.
As an online-only game, much of the draw of Insurgency is the countless hours of gameplay you can spend on it. There are a total of seven maps, and there are seven different game types. There are also numerous firearms, grenades and armor types to choose from. All of these elements make sure that the gameplay is fresh every round. You can specialize in close quarter combat, use a mid-range automatic weapon, or snipe from afar. No matter what your play style, you should be able to create your own customized loadout that matches your favorite playstyle.
The three most popular game types are Firefight, Search and Destroy, and VIP Escort. In Firefight, you have to kill all of the enemy team members or capture all of the objective points. In Search and Destroy, you have to destroy two of the enemy’s weapon caches. And in VIP Escort, you have to guide a particular VIP team member through enemy territory to a specific rescue point.
One good thing about two of these modes is that making headway in them will resurrect teammates so that they can have another go at the enemy. Capturing objective points in Firefight and detonating weapons caches in Search and Destroy will bring back dead team members as reinforcements. This is nice because it means that you will spend less time dead and more time in battle.
All in all, the wide variety of maps, game types, and armaments will be sure to keep you coming back for more even after many hours of gameplay.
Insurgency won’t be for everyone. Those that aren’t interested in realism and just want to have a good (read: arcadey) time should probably look elsewhere when spending their hard earned money. For FPS veterans that want to try a realistic FPS with a high learning curve, though, the difficulty in mastering the game and amount of content makes Insurgency‘s price of $14.99 more than justified.