I appreciate Insurgency more than I like it. Sat playing this modern military shooter, I must confront the fact that - while I enjoy playing solider in any number of abstracted worlds - the reality of a warzone does not appeal to me, even in game form.
Of course, playing war has the advantage of not actually killing you – but Insurgency does a fantastic job communicating everything else that must be faced on the battlefield. To all but the best players, every moment of the game will feel like a frantic mess, a whirling cacophony of dust, and gunshots that usually result in premature death.
Despite the confusion I feel starting each round, I have to concede my uncertainty it my own fault. The controls are the standard first person configuration, and I can easily pick these up, but I am unable to bring my experience of the genre to bear in combat.
Death greets me around every corner, as my fragile solider is cut down by more experienced, keener eyed opposition, who pick me out of the environment while I am still wondering what direction the noise of gunshots is coming from. All semblance of tactics go out the window at this point, as the only things I can see clearly are my own gun, and the objective marker. In combination, these problems have me heedlessly dashing towards my objective only to be quickly taken down and forced to wait 30 seconds to respawn.
Still, at least when I do finally get spat back out on to the battlefield, I am in the safety of my barracks where I can select my load from the armaments on offer. With a limited number of slots available, balancing my infield equipment, guns, and attachments from the real-world options proves to be the most involving part of Insurgency. Do I want to sacrifice the accuracy of a red dot site for heavier body armor? I never do, but given my longevity on the field it’s something I should probably consider.
Insurgency does what it does well, and proves to me that sitting behind a monitor is as close to a real warzone as I ever want to get. For players looking for a real world shooter, it provides an interesting and well-constructed challenge that removes the majority of arcade elements present in many similar titles.