Insurgency Sandstorm is the latest offering from New World Interactive and whilst it isn’t a triple-A shooter I think it happens to be one of the best multiplayer fps games on the market.

Sat in a building on Summit whilst I am defending site A I see two hostiles running to my right, I turn and fire and with a few shots put them both down, without reloading I return to my original position and almost immediately take out three people in the downstairs room I have been watching.

Insurgency Sandstorm showing a woman soldier walking through a ruined city

How many times have you been playing an online shooter and come across two people and been unable to kill them both because the TTK is too high?

Insurgency Sandstorm is not a mil-sim, it isn’t a Call of Duty or Battlefield clone but what it does do is takes the best of each genre and jams them together. If you have played Squad you will feel a sense of familiarity but will be able to get a kill streak like you could in a COD game.

Insurgency, which was released in 2014 was, in my opinion, one of the most underrated combat games of its time. In fact, before Insurgency Sandstorm was released, I was still playing Insurgency on a regular basis. Its something my friends and I could really enjoy and the community was thriving.

Using a new engine for an Insurgency game, Unity, Insurgency Sandstorm certainly looks a lot better than the previous titles, Insurgency and Day of Infamy, whilst somehow maintaining the feeling of fluidity and movement which I found so appealing in the previous titles.

Insurgency Sandstorm showing a sniper reloading whilst looking over a battlefield with a bridge on his left

That’s not to say its perfect, from time to time you are reminded that this isn’t a triple A game particularly when you drive a vehicle.

The vehicle mechanics are not well implemented, to the extent that, where possible, I will avoid being involved with them. To point that out is nit picking but I am actually struggling to find something I don’t like.

The reason for the fight between the two sides is because one of them is the baddies and one of them is the goodies. As for any deeper and I am not interested and I am sure its something to do with terrorism or the Wests’ meddling in the affairs of the middle east or something along those lines, either way, it’s not important and Insurgency Sandstorm doesn’t need a story.

The game play is really good, the weapons feel right with a  lot of detail, for example, when you are loading your weapon, if you stop part way through, to change weapon or similar the animation for the reload stops and then continues where you left off when you do actually reload. Its subtle but important to understand that New World Interactive took the time to add this to the game. They didn’t need to but they did because it makes sense. And that is a lot of what makes Insurgency Sandstorm feel so good. It’s a mil-sim that is designed to be fun, so if its too realistic for fun, something else is done instead to keep it real but fun.

 The smaller maps with a lot of choke points work really well and even if you like to play as a sniper you will find that you have plenty of excellent sightlines available to you, just be aware, sniping and counter sniping are VERY effective, you will have time to take one or possibly two shots before your position is compromised.

Insurgency Sandstorm with two soldiers crouched looking for enemies as an explosion happens at the end of the street

That is another great aspect of the community that has built up around Insurgency. More than in any other title where it isn’t forced, people talk to each other. Call outs of position and intention are actually vital for a side to push on and win a match.

At the back of a map called Crossroads I was able to provide effective cover to a team ahead simply because information on enemy locations was being relayed to me.

The sounds are on point and weapons sound different enough for you to notice, and the directional audio is perfect. I was sat holding a building with two others and we could hear the enemy approaching. We poised to ambush them and got into position, unfortunately our movements were not subtle enough and we gave away our position. A cheeky incendry grenade came through the window and wiped us out. It was fantastic!

The excitement when you are about to capture a point is palpable, the damage from the weapons is very realistic and one person who catches you napping could potentially take out your entire squad in very short order so you have to have your wits about you.

Insurgency Sandstorm showing a bomb being set off with a mobile device

There are always lone wolves in games but its far less prevalent in Insurgency Sandstorm. It is not possible to slink off and bag a 30+ kill streak alone. You need team mates, you need to listen to what people are saying, you need to understand where the enemy are, which direction they will be coming from and their capabilities. Insurgency Sandstorm is exciting in ways that no other shooter is, there is constant fear that you will get shot. You cannot immediately respawn usually and there are often limited waves of troops to respawn with so every life you have is important. It adds a palpable tension to the game, I swear there are times when its been silent for a while and I am creeping through towards an objective that I have felt this is the best game I have ever played. It isn’t, not by a long stretch but in those moments of glorious silence before the coming furore of bullets and shouting its as close to gaming nirvana as you can get with your clothes on.

I would like to have a little more feedback from the game, there are no hit markers to know if you have taken out a target and if you are sniping from the bottom of the map to the top you will be hard pressed to know that someone has gone down from your shots. Its equally true for those in closer quarters too. You can rarely tell if the enemy is down or just prone waiting to fire back but it’s a small price to pay for such a gem.

If you get bored of shooting other players you could always play through many of the co-op missions that accompany Insurgency Sandstorm. You can play with up to 8 people and the AI are actually very good. They are not pinpoint accurate but equally they are not Storm Troopers so you will need to work together to get through each mission alive.

In Summary

Insurgency Sandstorm is a fabulous game that can only get better. The weapon play is excellent, the graphics show a marked improvement of the predecessor and the community is actually not a toxic pit of 15 year old bitchy American boys looking for a row.

A fantastic blend of realism and fun
  • 94%
    Gameplay - 94%
  • 81%
    Graphics - 81%
  • 93%
    Sound - 93%
  • 86%
    Longevity - 86%
  • 88%
    Value - 88%


A really great blend of fun and realism that should be in your collection

I am a dad to two small children, I am tired, really tired.

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