INS Legacy

Insurgency 2.1 Review

Posted in essentials, insurgency, review by Argyll on July 19, 2008

written by Argyll: the Founder and former Project Director of Insurgency.

1. The Release

I woke up around 8am on Saturday, feeling like a game of INS, I went to check and see how the servers were doing. I saw a couple with Insurgency 2.1.

‘Is it out?’ I thought, ‘or is it a couple of testing servers?’

Going to the INS website, there it was. 2.1 had been released.

This is called a ‘release candidate’ … whatever that means. A public release is a release regardless of it being called ‘beta’ or ‘release candidate’ or anything else.

At the same time I was starting up the torrent, which was the only available method of download, Majoris, the latest addition to the level design crew and who designed/built the new Buhriz level featured in 2.1, messaged me the news that 2.1 had been released at 6am Eastern time – that is 4am my time, just four hours before I discovered it.

The download was quick. I got up to speeds of 1 MB/s over the torrent. That was a great method of delivery – far better than the exclusive release to Fileplanet.

Another smart move in conjunction with the release was having Trinity Games hosting a large number of 2.1 servers to immediately serve the rapid client updates, while it typically takes longer for servers to get running the updated version.

The only forewarning of 2.1’s arrival came from a June 25th cocktease news post saying that it was almost ready for download. The last time we heard anything resembling a release date came five months plus one day ago, stating that it would be ‘ready within a month’s time.’

2. The differences

The first difference that I noticed came in the sounds. They were the most apparent, since they are a downgrade.

Engineer, the current sound guy on the dev team, has already gone into damage-control for this reason.

The new USMC voice commands are the most talked-about in-game as being plain bad. The previous ones weren’t even that good.

The second issue with the sounds may be more apparent to me personally than the average gamer. The M4 and M16 sounds pathetic. The previous sound by Optical Snare was near-perfect. I spent five years in the infantry and have put live rounds through the C7A1 rifle (Canada’s standard rifle, which is just like an M16, but automatic) and know how it sounds like both with live and blank rounds. The new sounds are closer (but still different) to blanks being fired, rather than live.

Luckily, I backed up 2.0e since I saw the 2.1 videos and was a little wary of the new sounds. I simply copy-pasted the previous ones and it is an improvement.

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A new feature that is also very apparent is the suppression effect. When a bullet passes close to you, there is a freezing/blurring effect and a whizzing sound.

The sound needs to be changed. In real life (as I’ve almost had my hand shot off by a 5.56mm round) the bullet makes more of a snap or cracking sound – not a whizz sound when it’s that close. Yes, it can whizz, but the only time I’ve heard a whizz has come with ricochets. There is some recent footage from a BBC camera crew who came under fire, and the sound of bullets passing close by is very distinct. I have since lost the bookmark to the video, so if anyone finds it, please post it in the comments below.

The effect itself is definitely good. It instills more fear when being shot at because you are more aware of the threat to your virtual life. Also, when you enter a close-quarters situation and manage to get rounds off first, it inhibits your enemy’s ability to get some accurate fire towards you in return. This gives you an advantage when you get the first rounds out, but also works on the flip side.

One criticism on the suppress effect though. When killed, it no longer fades to black or flashes red. It should flash red when you’re hit to be a better distinction that you have become wounded. Also, in some cases, a delayed fade to black would be nice since your virtual death perspective can be kind of interesting. In short: add fade to black, but have it depend on the wound. For example, if you are shot in the head, it should cut to black immediately as your virtual life was cut immediately. If you are hit elsewhere, such as in the limbs, and sustain a fatal injury, it should prolong the time until fade to black.

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Iron sights have changed. The perspective does not zoom in on some weapons, and makes a better difference in using.

The weapons have also increased both in damage and accuracy. The recoil is hard to figure out how or if it has changed, but it feels fine. There might be some tweaks needed if studied a little bit more in-depth.

Yes, the sniper rifles are finally working as they should!

::::

Sinjar was the most popular map of 2.0. This time around, the initial USMC spawn has moved. This was an idea that I had proposed to Xanthi, the level designer. It only works well once the players get used to the changes.

As the Marines, my team only succeeded when we started with a strategy – that was to rush Alpha from the far left at the bottom of the valley to reach the traditional route; not use the close Delta route. We also got serious once we were on emergency reinforcements and concentrated more on the objectives.

The new Sinjar brings out the best and worst of INS at the moment. Good tactics and communication lead to teamwork and success for the Marines. Otherwise, the insurgents will just sit back on the ridge and bombard the spawn.

There has been a lot of negative reviews on the new Sinjar, and many players want it to be reverted back. They should just get used to the changes, as the best part of it is that more of the level is now being used. That said, it does still needs some design changes to allow more cover for the Marines exiting their spawn area and solving many of the problems that do exist.

3. The new levels

:: Buhriz

This is the most popular new level. It puts in some open and distanced combat, much like Sinjar. It is also a nice refreshing terrain with more vegetation, rather than sandy desert.

It provides alternative routes within the open terrain, allowing the attacking Marines with options to flank. The initial info about this map had the Marines on the defensive, but this has changed for the release. It might be a refreshing change to have had this map with the USMC defending. However, there was a recent reversal of roles on a Sinjar server. Maybe servers can change these roles on Buhriz, plus alter the reinforcement counts.

:: Abdallah

This is an excellent level. Firefight mode levels have not exactly brought out the best in INS gameplay, until this one. It is vastly underplayed though. I had a difficult time in finding a server running this map, but when I did I had a blast.

The size of the level blends close quarter combat in alleyways and buildings with some open street firefights.

It is also one of the most impressive levels visually and in its level of detail.

4. Insurgency 2 point next?

What is next for Insurgency? They have just announced an ‘RC2’ version fixing a few issues, such as the Marine voices. But what fans should really be concerned about is what comes after 2.1?

Apparently, 2.1 is the final version to be seen on the Source engine. The development team is taking the time to code it, once again, from the ground up. It took six years to get it to this point, so why not continue?

There NEEDS to be more in the way of major releases for Source – at least two more, not including minor patches such as the latest.

Gameplay still has not been refined at all levels. It seems that 2.1 was a tweaking patch at the personal gaming level (i.e. smoothing out movement, the suppression effect, iron sight tweaks, etc.) but the greater gameplay did not have much attention paid to it.

We here at Legacy will likely be compiling a wish list for future versions of the mod. We hope to bring the community’s response into consideration and evaluation in order to make a balanced and realistic outlook on the future of Insurgency.

This mod is still in the beginning stages of what it was always meant to be. Let’s hope that the current developers can recognize this fact and bring out its full potential.

5. Overall conclusion

For what this patch delivered, it doesn’t bring much for the time we had to wait for it. There needs to be more improvements, and delivered to the fans quicker. Overall, gameplay needs to be concentrated on because that is what really will make or break the mod.

Regardless, 2.1 is a welcome improvement.

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One Response

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  1. Miley-Cyrus-Fan said, on August 1, 2008 at 11:46

    hmm.. thank you very much. usefull information


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