Generally when a company attempts a Kickstarter campaign for one of their games, and it fails, you never hear about it again. Hell, often enough if the Kickstarter campaign succeeds you may never hear a peep about the game again unfortunately. Back when the “Insurgency 2” Kickstarter campaign failed around the beginning of the year, most people probably assumed that was the last they'd hear about it from New World Interactive. Fortunately that wasn't the case as NWI was able to get their hands on some private investment money and moved forward with the project. Now named just Insurgency rather than Insurgency 2, the basic premise is still the same. When asked about dropping the 2 from the name, NWI basically said that since the first Insurgency was never available for purchase as a standalone product it made more sense than a sequel. We were given a chance to participate in the early access sneak peek, which is basically the Alpha version of the game. So let's see what a failed Kickstarter campaign of what started out as a mod then built into a standalone product on the CS:GO engine has to offer. It's more than you'd expect.
What has always amazed me is how the first person shooter genre has made the gradual progression from “arcadey” to “realistic” over the past several years, without actually being realistic at all. It seems that all you need to be a “realistic” face shooter is to loose the laser guns and adopt real, modern weapons. The graphics take a step more towards photorealism. The locales are familiar even to the common man. But the tactics never change. Your character still operates basically like a running gunning bullet sponge. Cover is there and generally available, but more often than not shunned for the “run in and kill everyone before they kill you, rinse and repeat” method of gameplay.
Insurgency takes this “realism” a step further. Don't get me wrong, I've never been a super big fan of uber-realism in face shooters, but one thing that has ALWAYS bugged me was the reloading system which has existed in most every face shooter ever. Basically, you never “lose” ammo. If you have a thirty round clip, fire ten rounds and hit reload, you still manage to keep those twenty rounds which were left in the clip in some miraculous manner of reloading the clip while you're running around running and gunning non-stop. That's not the case in Insurgency, if you hit reload with twenty rounds left in the clip, those twenty rounds are gone. This is probably the aspect of Insurgency that takes the most effort to get used to, as it flies so directly in the face of everything we've come to be used to over the entire history of face shooters.
Insurgency also takes a much more simple and realistic approach to the “class” system used. Basically, your choice of “class” is basically choosing what balance between armor and speed you want. Your choices are 'Light', 'Medium' and 'Heavy'. The difference between them breaks down very simply, the more armor you're wearing, the 'heavier' you are and therefore the slower you move. That's it, no other difference, no being better with different weapons or carrying different accessories or anything like that. You're all the same soldiers, you just decide how much armor you want to wear.
There is a relatively sparse assortment of maps available to play currently, but the ones which are there you can tell were expertly crafted for this particular game's playstyle. This definitely isn't your daddy's running gunning face shooter. There is no shortage of vehicles, crates, corners, etc take cover behind scattered around the map. You'll spend the majority of your time moving from one piece of cover to another or staying behind a well chosen one guarding a control point. Your opponents will be doing the same which causes matches to boil down into a very strategic and tactical game of cat and mouse. Sound effects become immensely more important and tactically crucial in a game where everyone isn't running around nonstop. The sound of footsteps mean so much more, especially your own when your opponents are hidden and waiting for the simplest of mistakes. And of course the environment also plays a huge part in this great tactical game of cat and mouse. Easily the best map available in my opinion is the one containing the indoor parking garage. The echo-y silence, the darkness which enhances hiding spots, it all culminates in a near perfect arena for this particular game's style.
Speaking of the control points, you earn “Supply” for controlling them. Kills are well and good, but you can easily have the most kills, and still lose the match. What matters is controlling the control points, earning your “Supply”. You spend your supply points to unlock new weapons and modifications to existing weapons. It is actually a very grueling and unforgiving system. You can easily do amazingly well in a match, killing everyone, but not spend any time controlling a point, and end up with no points to spend to unlock anything. To be honest I kind of prefer the “too stingy” unlocking system to the “too generous” ones used in most games. There's definitely more of a sense of accomplishment here than there is in a lot of games.
As I said above, it's still in Alpha, so VERY early in development, but there is a TON of potential in Insurgency. There is a surprisingly nice community here which is rare in games made for the “hardcore shooter” crowd. Sure, there's still the rampant cursing and name calling, but overall they're a good crowd. The map selection is limited currently, but with the attention to detail that they've put into the existing maps, there's no doubt that as new maps are released, they will be very finely crafted and fit perfectly into Insurgency's style of gameplay. Plus there's the whole side-story of how a failed Kickstarter project is going to succeed anyway. Hell, there are successful Kickstarter campaigns out there that don't seem to be moving forward as nicely as Insurgency is.