Release date: Jun 16, 2020
Genres: First-person Shooter · Real-time Strategy
Platforms: PlayStation 4 · Xbox One · Microsoft Windows
Developer: V1 Interactive
Publisher: Private Division
*Review Code Provided by V1Interactive and Private Division*
Sci-Fi First Person Shooters are in this day and age a dime a dozen as you have everything from the Doom franchise to Wolfenstein to Gears of War and Halo and so much more that often it becomes a “pick you flavor of the month” kind of experience with very little separating many games in this genre other than the HUD and maybe some story aspects and weapons but overall the experiences are primarily the same. When it comes to new games entering this foray: you are often met with pretty much the same experience with a different coat of paint that doesn’t offer you much in the way of ingenuity or evolution of the formula and hits on all the same tried and true points as everything else offering you nothing new in the process. Enter Disintegration from V1 Interactive and Private Division manned by the co-creator of Halo as well as the father of Master Chief as well as the president of V1 Interactive, Marcus Lehto, who strives to deliver an unforgettable experience that will blend the worlds of sci-fi first person shooter with the world of squad-based Real Time Strategy to offer an experience unlike anything you can imagine or have ever played before. Does Disintegration live up to its premise and offer an wholly new take on two very different yet established formulas that can bring fans of both camps together to enjoy this new experience or does it fail as an experiment that needed more time in the oven? Let’s find out!
The story of Disintegration takes place in the far future where humanity has been adamantly going through a process known as Integration which is a process that was developed to preserve the human brain in the chassis of robotic interfaces that are “canned”. The Rayonne faction are responsible for the Iron Clouds, Frost, and indoctrination that goes on during the process of integration and fueling the worldwide civil war to suppress humanity as well as the Naturals, the none integrated “un-canned” normal humans, that remain. Our main protagonist, Romer Shoal, is a former celebrity who was the host of a popular Gravcycle show who became a vigilante that would for on to repossess and smuggle the anti-gravity vehicles that would become outlawed as time passed which lead to his incarceration in the Iron Cloud and run in with our main antagonist Black Shuck who is considered by many as the leader of the North American Rayonne forces. In Disintegration, we are presented with not only the story of Romer and his attempts at redemption; but also, the fight for humanity against the tyrannical Rayonne and to reboot humanity!
Disintegration plays entirely different from any game that I personally have ever played and exceeded my expectations exponentially for several reasons that I’ll dive into. The game play is very diverse because while it is an FPS; it is also a squad based RTS that combines both into a gameplay style that I have never seen before that seems simple at first but gets addictively strategic the further in the game you go.
The FPS aspect of the game has you in a hover craft vehicle called a Gravcycle piloted by Romer Shoal allowing you to move around as you would in any FPS game with the exception being that you will be able to float up and or down which takes some time to get used to as the Gravcycle feels like you’re controlling a very mobile helicopter and as you shoot your machine guns on your Gravcycle and also have access to healing rounds from your secondary weapon that will restore your health for a fixed amount of time. To add to your maneuverability; You can do a dash boost that will help you get out of some sticky situations with a quick cool down.
Your health gauge does not recover in the way it would in a traditional FPS as you will need to find green tanker areas to heal yourself and your crew or utilize the healing ability you have. There will be enemies that when you kill them will disperse a green healing radius that will heal you for a few seconds so definitely make sure to take advantage of that during fire fights.
The Squad-based RTS aspect of combat comes into effect with how you can command your teammates (up to 4 total) that will fight along side you in battle as you can direct them to head towards anywhere you mark on the battlefield, command them to open and scavenge items, disengage bombs and defenses,
target specific enemies you tag, and
regroup to your location.
Each of your party members has a unique ability that can be used at the tap of either the directional pad on your controller or numeric keys on your keyboard along with the deploy button within a certain radius. Such skills that you can use are the ability to disorient and stun your enemies and even fire salvo rounds upon them and more which is all useful as depending on how many people you have in your party depends on how many you can use back to back and if you plan them out strategically then you take down some of the tougher enemies with pure ease. Each of these abilities mapped to your partners has a cool down of anywhere from 15 seconds or more depending on the character so definitely plan out how and when to use these abilities.
The AI of your team is incredibly competent and adaptive to the environments and situations that you are in as they will engage the enemies intelligently and utilize cover and more in the environment to their advantage as well as utilize different tactics of dispersing and forming up based on the amount of enemies and the situation at hand.
When not in battle, you will be at your base of operations which allows you to run around in 3rd person and interact with your team and other NPCs and get to know them better and take on challenges that will be added to your missions as well as being able to go into different missions and select the difficulty levels as well as cycling over to your crew of Outlaws and upping their stats based on upgrade chips you find within the missions using your scanning ability. You can upgrade your abilities from your defense, offense, and more.
There is also a multiplayer aspect of the game where you can partake in this game’s version of Capture the flag called Zone Control where you try to control as much of the map as you can by holding down specific areas of the map as well as the Collector mode where you have to collect as many “brain cans” as you can in the allotted time slot, and finally Retrieval mode where you go between attacking and defending teams to either retrieve cores or stop the opposing team. As of the time of this review, I was unable to get any matches in as I could not find any other reviewers playing the game that would allow me to play online with. I will revisit this mode later as I come back to update the review.
This game is GORGEUOS with how excellent the characters look from the main character Romer Shoal, to the crew of Outlaws and various enemies you face as well as the environments that you find yourself in on the battlefield. The design of your Gravcycle looks incredibly detailed and from the first person perspective you can see Romer’s mechanical hands moving and reacting to each and every input that you do from firing off shots to thrusting with your boost ability and more. The attention to detail in how Romer interacts with the Gravcycle is amazing along with your teammates too.
Cutscenes look incredibly cinematic and detailed with the visible detail in the Integrated characters with seeing details like any damage or scuffs and more to their robotic armatures and more. The developers truly put a lot into making these models as detailed as possible and it really shows.
Since I am reviewing the STEAM version, I love the customization of the graphical settings as I was able to change the graphics from the default 1080P with Smoothing set to the framerate up to 4K at 60FPS on my secondary monitor which I primarily played it on and on my primary monitor I pushed the framerate up to 144FPS and it was buttery smooth and never dropped a frame. My computer has a Zotac Gaming RTX 2080Ti with 32GB of DDR4 3200 RAM.
The voice cast for this game are all spot on with the perfect timing and deliveries for their various lines and with great nuance and cadence. I love how Romar, voiced by my friend Jeff Scheine of Resident Evil 3 as well as the upcoming Marvel’s Avenger’s, comes across so well as the wise cracking laid back bad ass that he is that is somehow perfectly portrayed with a character model that has no facial expressions and yet the way that Jeff delivers his lines makes your ability to understand and relate to Shoal all that more tangible and the rest of the cast all perfectly deliver their line with an equal amount of gusto.
The OST of the game perfectly suits the world of mechanical outlaws and rebellion from the cut scene music to the main menu theme and even the level themes; everything is atmospheric and caters perfect to reflect where you are in the game with nothing standing out as odd or bad.
The firing of your weapons and your squads weapons all sound spot from the machine guns to the salvos to the explosions and more. Even the environmental ambience is done with such levels of care and attention to detail that you really must give it up to the sound team!
Honestly not much to complain about here as the game doesn’t really have any issues other than I struggle to put it down due to how addicting it is to play.
The minor quibbles I have with it are that the human characters, or Naturals, don’t look incredibly detailed and often either look like they are in the wrong game as they can clash with the rest of the visual aesthetics and then there’s the lip synching being about a second or 2 off from what the Naturals say to what their lips reflect which is slightly jarring but not fully emersion breaking and something I can see fixed with a patch. I tried to see if I turned of V-Sync if that would help or lower the FPS and it was to no avail.
No other issues for me to report on.
Disintegration is an incredibly addicting game when you dive into how deeply layered the combat system is with its perfect blend of FPS and Squad-based RTS gameplay which is simply unlike anything I’ve ever played before. If you are looking for a game with a great story and incredibly rich world building lore, fantastic next generation level graphics, an Oscar worth voice cast of characters, and an incredibly lengthy single player campaign with challenges and more thrown in on top of a multiplayer mode: then Disintegration is a game YOU NEED in your collection and is one currently my favorite new IP of 2020 and in my top 5 games of 2020. You CANNOT skip out on this phenomenal experience that is unlike anything else you will play this or any other year to come. V1 Interactive and Private Division have truly made a true gaming gem that will be a long-standing franchise and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this series.