We've been playing shooters loosely based on Middle Eastern conflicts for a while now. The War of Terror created a video game bubble that wouldn't burst until the early/mid 2010s, where most shooters moved on to grappling hooks in space and what not. Nowadays, if you want to even make a dent while existing in that setting, you need to be doing something remarkable. Insurgency: Sandstorm is up to that challenge.
Insurgency: Sandstorm is developed by New World Interactive, developers of Day of Infamy and the original Insurgency. The first game was a well regarded multiplayer shooter that focused heavily on hardcore gameplay. This translated into high lethality, very limited HUD, no on screen cross hairs, etc. Sandstorm looks to up the hardcore presentation even more, by basing much of its hyper-realistic presentation and level design on real-life places.
How did New World achieve that? By consulting the people who'd been there: U.S. soldiers. Lots of testimony, recountings, and GoPro footage helped the dev team get the wails of bullets and the splats of mortar fire locked down. The look and feel of the places and the people fighting in them came from extensive research into current conflicts like the Syrian Civil War and the Yemen conflict. Players won't just assume the roles of desert insurgents in this military shooter. New World wants all sides and parties represented, so they took great care to let the customization options include gear from special forces, government armies, and native militias from these oft misrepresented regions.
Of course, the core tenants of the actual gameplay remain. A bare bones HUD makes sure the meta data stays out of your way. You have to use your wits and your skill in mid range firefights, because you are not a bullet sponge. Recoil, sight-aiming, and bullet trajectories are all factors you have to consider in moment-to-moment encounters. Three competitive online modes return from the original game — Push, Firefight, and Skirmish, as well as the co-op mode, Checkpoint. For when you and your friends are done blowing each other up.
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Jarrett shares his love of video games and geek culture through feature articles on Gamepedia. He prides himself on his deep attraction to Japanese beat-em ups and his god-like Bushido Blade talents.