We stopped by Focus Home Interactive’s booth for a few rounds of tactical shooter Insurgency: Sandstorm. The original Insurgency turned out to be quite the hit, offering a happy medium between the cartoonish run-and-gun action of the Call of Duty series and the serious, hardened nature of military sims like ARMA. Sandstorm is much the same; I was teamed up with a few other players and tasked with capturing and defending points on a map against a tide of AI.
That might sound easy, but Sandstorm’s brutally unforgiving nature made progression an uphill battle. Even a single bullet to the chest is enough to bring down a player or bot, to say nothing of the lethality of headshots. Slow, cautious play and plenty of communication are the key, and suffice to say it’s difficult to reach that level of coordination with a group of strangers in a noisy show hall.
That said, it’s hard for me to say how well Insurgency: Sandstorm pulls off the tactical shooting that’s currently exemplified by games like the never-ending Rainbow Six: Siege, but for what it’s worth the gameplay felt pleasantly weighty and the firearms were a dream to flail around with. We’ll see if the final game keeps up when it’s released on PC this year and consoles sometime next year.