Sandstorm, which saw a year or so of opacity and a lack of certainty that it would ever come out since “revealed” at E3 2017, recreates the same visceral gameplay of the original Insurgency anew in the Unreal Engine, while bringing minor tweaks and changes to the game that keep it interesting.
The most significant new feature in Sandstorm is that you can spend in-game currency, earned with each match, to buy cosmetic character options (except right now you can only earn XP and currency through the public match-making system, which precludes most hardcore fans from experiencing this part of the game as they are playing on servers hosted by the same groups that hosted Insurgency 1 servers). Other new features include being able to plant an explosive charge on a cache even if you dont have explosives – something that often caused issues in the game because the people who didn’t die didn’t have the explosives to complete objectives. Additionally, there are vehicles now – trucks with heavy machine guns mounted on them; you can now call in air support and artillery support like in Day of Infamy.
Really Sandstorm is just an upgrade – new graphics, with the gameplay mechanics of Day of Infamy now included.
The only major change I’d mention is that the default sound is much, much better – everything has kick to it and the weapons sound wonderful.
Right now there is no mod support, which was a huge contributor to keeping Insurgency alive, but NWI says it’s coming. There are still servers with supposed gameplay changes like Angry Bots, Armory, or Bot Massacre, but not weapon skins, custom maps, custom sounds, UI mods, etc. The game is also a bit barebones, for those who preferred co op. Right now the only mode available is checkpoint – no Survival or Raid or Stronghold.
Really the only upsetting things about the game are that it occasionally retains the same glitches from alpha, and it’s such a faithful recreation of the original that it has the same problems. Bots will snipe you across the map with molotovs when playing co-op, for example. Unlike before when you could see the trail of fire arcing through the sky towards you, now it’s just a surprise – you’re dead. It also often seems the bots have AP bullets and can shoot through anything they please – an option you aren’t afforded. Pictured above is a glitch that survives since alpha – sometimes your hands will disappear on spawn and then never come back until a new map is loaded.
If you already own Insurgency, the answer is obvious. If not, I would check this out – it’s one of the few moderately realistic military shooters you’re going to find. The game still has a fair amount of issues left over from beta like floating weapons or bodies when you kill people, and unfortunate performance issues, but overall it’s solid.
Suffice to say performance has improved marginally with each patch, but the recommended specs from the developers are absurd. An i7-8700k is recommended, yet an older GPU seems to be fine. The game has significant issues if you use an older processor than recommended, for instance since alpha the test machine used for this review has a 6700k and the game stutters and has significant hitching.
Time Played: 87.8 hours
System: i7-6700k, GTX 1080, 32 Gb DDR4-3200, Evo 850 SATA SSD
Verdict: Gild it