Insurgency began as an ambitious Half-Life 2 mod and has since grown into a standalone release with a reputation for realism and hardcore FPS multiplayer action. Its newest release, Insurgency Sandstorm, makes the leap over to Unreal Engine 4.20 and with that comes a plethora of gorgeous visual effects that bring you closer to the battlefield than ever.
Character models with high poly counts fill Insurgency Sandstorm's maps. All player character models are customisable, down to their hair, facial hair, outfit options and tattoos. New World Interactive have paid particular care to animating these models too, especially noticeable when people reload, crawl while prone, and fire off RPGs.
Unreal Engine loves the great outdoors, and that's evident in all of Insurgency Sandstorm's maps. Covering large swathes of exterior space and incorporating fantastically detailed interior spaces where objectives like checkpoints are often located, each environment immerses the player in a Middle-Eastern conflict where natural beauty meets man-made destruction. Smoking wreckage on the brow of a grassy hill; bodies strewn across a narrow market alley; a stream running in between two entrenched enemy positions - every nook and cranny of each map tells a visual story.
That spaciousness provides plenty of mutli-pathed map design and opportunity for players to outmanoeuvre and flank each other using superior geographical knowledge. It also allows the game's different classes to fulfill their roles, as Gunners do their thing at close quarters while Spotters, Commanders and Snipers seek long lines of sight on the enemy.
Jaggies be gone! A selection of FXAA and SMAA techniques is employed to smooth out aliased lines in Insurgency Sandstorm, while ambient occlusion keeps light behaviour looking convincing in all lighting conditions. Meanwhile post-processing effects such as motion blur help to immerse the player in the battle and simulate states like suppression and taking damage. Soft shadows and advanced particle effects for smoke and gas add incredible fidelity, too.
The focus is still very much on infantry combat in Insurgency Sandstorm, but with the move over to Unreal Engine from Valve’s Source Engine, New World Interactive are able to easily implement vehicles on the battlefield, too. In co-op play each round begins with a ride on the back of a pickup truck as your troop mobilises, and in PvP multiplayer light vehicles fitted with machine guns provide an extra tactical wrinkle in each map.