Review – Disintegration
Disintegration is the first game from V1 Interactive, a small studio started by Halo co-founder Marcus Lehto.
Disintegration has the player take on the role of Romer Shoal, a former Gravcycle pilot and celebrity turned outlaw. As Shoal, the player leads a small resistance force made up of humans and integrated humans; integrated humans are those that have undergone the process of ‘integration’ by having their brain preserved in robot bodies. The player, as Shoal, is in a battle against the Rayonne, whose plan it is to wipe out the last remnants of human life. The campaign levels are broken up by a number of cut scenes that explain this in a little more detail. The story is a decent one but the ending did feel a little, crescendo-less. I’m not sure what it was about how it ended, but it felt like that there should have been something more.
On top of the story, Disintegration brings an interesting genre of game, as it sees the player placed into a hybrid first person shooter (FPS) / real time strategy (RTS) environment. What does this actually mean? Think of this game as an RTS player inserted directly into the game. So instead of having an overview of the game and commanding units from the outside, the player does it while trying to stay alive as well. The player must engage in combat directly from the seat of their gravcycle while strategically commanding ground units similar to the way players command units in any RTS game. The ground units do have some form of autonomy though and they will attack a threat, and when not commanded, move with your line of site. The new mechanics and hybrid game style take a bit of getting used to but once I got the hang of these, my success increased and mastering the art of both is a must for the higher difficulties. The game does offer 4 difficulties to the player that is interchangeable between missions. The difficulties and associated guidance for each are as follows:
- Story – Minimal commanded unit gameplay required
- Recruit – Low emphasis on unit commands
- Maverick – Emphasizes commanded unit use
- Outlaw – High emphasis on utilizing commanded units and gravcycle abilities
These difficulties make a significant difference to the game play and length of the missions. I played different missions on the first three difficulties through my first play through with ‘Story’ difficulty seeing me breeze through a mission in around 25 minutes with ‘Recruit’ and ‘Maverick’ taking nearly double the amount of time. This is due to the more strategic approach required to complete the higher difficulties. Each mission also adds specific challenges as a form of side objective. These challenges can be collected prior to missions by talking to the other characters in a common space, which can be compared to spaces offered by games like Anthem. This is a space between missions that allows the player limited chat to the other outlaws and is tailored to the last completed story mission. I would love to see this space used for more, as interacting with the other outlaws and other aspects of the areas could be used to expand on the backstory of the characters and the game. Completion of each challenge provides the player with an upgrade chip that can be used to improve the player and their team. This will be discussed in more detail further in the review.
The first mission sees the player jump straight into the action as they are guided through some of the basics involved in piloting the gravcycle and commanding your team. The gravcycle does take a bit of getting used to but a few missions practice should hopefully see you flying like a seasoned professional. Piloting the gravcycle can feel a bit slow though and at times I found it easier to sit back and let my units do the work. This feels like it plays as intended as efficient use of commanded units is key when addressing higher difficulties. There are also different variants of the gravcycle to get used too as you undertake story missions. Each mission has the player pilot a predetermined gravcycle variant that comes with a different primary and secondary function, normally one attack and one support. It is not just the gravcycle that you will be introduced to throughout the story though either. The player will need to pilot these gravcycle variants while learning to command characters with different attacking abilities. These abilities include concussion grenades, missile barrages, a ground slam and more. The frustrating thing for me was that the player can not customise their loadout or squad between missions, with each being predetermined. Being able to customise your pre-mission loadout would add another layer to the game, allowing you to address each situation how you would like and not how you are forced to. These predetermined loadouts do force the player to learn the strengths of each gravcycle and commanded unit though and this is important for players looking to jump into some multiplayer action. The twelve missions the game offers the player do feel repetitive at times with only a limited variety of objectives. I feel that this may have something to do with the fact that the player never puts boots on the ground in the story missions, limiting what the player can actually do. Overall my whole campaign play through took roughly 8 hours to complete and provided a solid offering from start to finish.
Dominating enemies on the battlefield brings a level of satisfaction with it, as well as player progression. The straight forward player progression system sees mission completion, destroying enemies and even scavenging items provide the player with salvage, which is the games equivalent of experience. Collecting salvage increases the player’s level and in turn unlocks higher tiers of skills and attributes that require the use of upgrade chips to increase each character. Upgrade chips can be earned by completing challenges or found through scavenging in each mission. Each in-game character, be it Shoal or those commanded by Shoal, has health, attack and other abilities that can be increased using these upgrade chips. Finding these chips and levelling those skills and attributes is important for those looking to complete higher difficulties.
This game brings with it an Australian classification of M, and while there is no nightmarish bloodshed, the killing of enemies may not be one for young ones. Those that can determine right from wrong should not have many issues with what is on offer here though, and if they enjoying viewing the game while you play then the questions will probably be more about how to get a human brain into a robot body. The only thing that may hold younger players back is the complexity of fighting your battle and commanding your units at the same time as the battlefield can get busy. In saying this, the control scheme is not as complex as I feel they could have been, which is a positive with so much going on. Piloting, while slow, isn’t too difficult and commanding units is done using RB (on Xbox) and the D-pad.
The replay aspect of Disintegration is likely to come with the multiplayer aspect of the game more than the campaign mode. The campaign offers the ability to select individual missions and while it is a decent story, it offers little reason to return outside of the completion of the few challenges offered in each mission. Increasing characters skills may make you want to test them out on a higher difficulty, but once the challenges were done, I didn’t feel the need to enter a mission for the third or fourth time. This is fine for me though as I am looking forward to commanding my squad in multiplayer.
On the multiplayer front, I was unable to find a game due to this being a pre-release version and am unable to comment on the multiplayer side of the game, other than what it offers. Multiplayer currently offers three game modes in:
- Zone Control – Three zones that can be captured by commanded units from each team. Captured zones earn points and enemy takedowns earn points.
- Collector – A game mode similar to Kill Confirmed in Call of Duty. Players compete to collect “brain cans” that come from three sources. These are defeating enemy gravcycles, defeating commanded units or by collecting them from random spawn points across the map
- Retrieval – This game mode is split into an attacking and defending team. The attacking team must retrieve cores and have their commanded units deliver them to a location protected by the defending team. Most cores delivered after both teams have attacked wins.
There is a level of customisation that comes with multiplayer that allows the player to pick one of nine “crews” who offer specific characteristics to help change it up on the battlefield. Each crew offers the player unique weapon loadouts, controlled units and Gravcycle characteristics to suit their playstyle.
Overall, Disintegration is a decent first offering from V1 Interactive. The game looks and sounds great and delivers a solid story while bringing together elements of FPS and RTS with a decent level of success. The game mechanics feel repetitive at times but the roughly 8-hour campaign will keep the player interested until the end. Those interested in the FPS/RTS hybrid or looking for something different may be interested in this game.
+ Impressive graphics and audio
+ Gameplay is smooth
+ Story is decent
– Predetermined mission loadouts
– Mission objectives can get repetitive
– Needs more strategy elements for a RTS hybrid
Score: 7 / 10
Disintegration was reviewed on the Xbox One, it is also available on PlayStation 4 and PC.
The developer provided a game review code. The thoughts on this title were ours and ours alone.
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