The winds of change have blown through tacto-coolo FPS Insurgency: Sandstorm. The clouds are pregnant with five new guns, the sky awash with balance tweaks and quality of life improvements, and I've already ran out of appropriately stormy ways to describe the new mode. It's a lightning bolt of... fun?
Nah, it's just team deathmatch - but it has swept in alongside a new arcade playlist that might spit out more interesting modes in the future.
This is Sandstorm's first big update, which the lead game designer at New World Interactive insists is "a sign of things to come". Guns, then. Guns are one of the main things to come.
That's right, it's inscrutable gun number time! We've got the MP5A2 and the MP5A5, both apparently "perfect for close quarters combat". We've got the M240B and MG3, "offering high-caliber damage and an absurd rate of fire respectively". Then we've got the widdly little PF940, a handgun with a high capacity magazine. Widdliness is relative.
The new team deathmatch mode works like you'd expect, but with more generous gear limits and without side-based gun restrictions. I enjoyed my time with Sandstorm, but that's not enough for me to reinstall. I might do further along the line though, if this line about how the arcade playlist "lays the foundation for adding fresh, new, non-traditional game modes" proves to be true.
There's also a practice firing range, options for kicking people from servers, and penalties for leaving competitive matches. You can read the full patch notes here, which include fixes to a few things that bugged me. Your minimap now tells you where the out-of-bounds areas are, for instance.
I found Sandstorm too punishing to stick with for long, but I'd still recommend dipping into it for the noises alone. Noises such as these, as wot I highlighted in my Insurgency: Sandstorm review:
"Drones, jamming sound waves down your spine like scalpels. Artillery that could shake continents, blanketing maps in smoke that sets infantry coughing, splutters that don’t drown out those of the dying. War is hell, and hell hath no fury like a helicopter gunship scorned.
"Then there’s the silence. Moments where you’re alone, inching forward, glimpses of rolling debris and rotating ceiling fans setting your heart a flutter. False alarms, misfiring jolts of adrenaline that leave you too frazzled to respond when an enemy actually crosses your sights."
There's a 20% discount running until March 6th, meaning you can currently grab Insurgency: Sandstorm on Steam for £21/$24/€24.