Disintegration is a game that is hard to explain. As V1 Interactive Creative Director Marcus Lehto told IGN at Gamescom 2019 “it’s an FPS… technically.” After spending about 90-minutes playing through the multiplayer mode at New York Comic Con I am not even sure if I’d call it an FPS at all- it’s something else entirely in the best way.
Coming from the minds of Mr. Lehto, who co-created Halo, and V1 Vice President Mike Gutmann, who helped create SOCOM: Navy Seals, Disintegration is a truly unique experience in today’s gaming landscape. Ripe with chaotic, frenetic firefights alongside a need for teamwork and RTS-like tactical strategy, Disintegration stands out as an experience unlike anything else.
In the multiplayer demo provided at NYCC, players take control of battlefield commanders who hover above the ground in “Gravcycles” while barking out orders to their three-person NPC “crew.” Commands are simple yet intuitive- one simple tap can direct your crew in the right direction, order them to focus their fire on a priority target, or launch a special attack. It’s this total control over the player’s crew that gives the game its distinct RTS feel, and a well-timed order can be the difference between victory and defeat.
The gravcycle provides a greater view of the battlefield like most RTS games, but it is not a harmless command ship far away from the battle. Each gravcycle is equipped with a wide variety of armaments, perks, and tools that allow the player to not just command troops but get directly involved in the action.
There are multiple loadouts of gravcycles and their accompanying crews that feature completely different play styles. The “Lost Ronin” gravcycle provides a more typical FPS experience with dual three-round-burst cannons and guided rocket launchers while other classes serve as classic MOBA style tanks or healers. The diversity of playable characters allows for a wide variety of gameplay options and gives every type of player a character they can get excited about.
The expert alchemy of FPS-style shootouts and required RTS strategy to succeed as a team results in an unrivaled, absolutely exhilarating multiplayer experience. In the demo provided at NYCC, players were split into two teams of five for a capture the flag style game. One team, the attackers, is tasked with securing “cores” and bringing them back to base before they detonate, while the defending team tries to stop them. It’s capture the flag, except the flag is going to explode and kill your whole team in the process.
Each game is split into two rounds, allowing teams to attack once and defend once, with defenders getting a five-second head start on the match. The map design is excellent, creating natural chokepoints while players scramble to place their crews efficiently to capture the cores. Each chokepoint, however, is susceptible to flanking and multi-faceted assaults, placing a heavy emphasis on team strategy. Part of what makes Disintegration work so well is how the level design influences the player’s decisionmaking.
What truly makes this multiplayer mode stand out, however, is that only NPCs can pick up the cores, making strategic placement of troop and a sense of the map’s flanking opportunities critical to success. The unchecked chaos that ensues as attackers cover their crew’s retreat in an attempt to deliver their cores home makes for truly incredible and nail-biting finishes. Almost every core captured resulted in cheers and high-fives from the various members of the press at the demo.
Despite the intricacy of the gameplay systems and how hard the game is to explain, it is surprisingly easy to pick up and play. That’s not to say there isn’t a level of skill or strategy needed for success- winners will only be made of teams who work together tactically and keep a clear line of communication throughout- but it does not take much time at all to feel a sense of comfort with your gravcycle of choice. This level of relative accessibility allows the player to focus less on the FPS aspects of the game and more on the RTS commanding portion of the game, helping cement the hybrid feel of the gameplay.
What V1 Interactive has managed to put together with just a 30-person team on Disintegration is astounding and down-right impressive. Even at its current pre-release stage, it is already a completely unique and thrilling experience that is legitimately one-of-a-kind. While details on the campaign are still under wraps, I can say that the multiplayer alone makes this game a must-play for damn-near every gamer.
Disintegration releases sometime in 2020 on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC. For more New York Comic Con 2019 coverage stick with AiPT!
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