Diving into Disintegration’s closed beta for the first time, I really wasn’t sure what to think. The idea of controlling a mech-like gravcycle while also giving out orders to a squad of soldiers seemed like another one of those fads that we saw crop up a few years ago. There have been a few attempts to blend FPS and RTS mechanics together over the past several years, and none of them have ever really done a great job of blending them together. Disintegration takes this same kind of idea and brings it into a frenetic multiplayer experience that’s part excitement and part frustration.
Keep it simple, stupid
One of the biggest failures that most blendings of FPS and RTS games run into is the insane amount of commands you often have to worry about learning. With Disintegration, though, V1 Interactive has done a good job of really boiling things down and keeping it simple. This works for a lot of reasons. First, you don’t have to worry about remembering a ton of keybinds, all while still being able to set your squad up in perfect positions. It’s a very simple approach that just works and, honestly, I was very happy to be able to do everything without worrying about memorizing a lot of different commands.
Each player is given a gravcycle with various weapons, which allow you to interact directly with the enemy. On top of this, you’ll need to move your squad into place to capture objectives, interact with various objects, and the like. You do this through a series of simple commands, which makes it easy to do things on the fly while also attacking other players.
I’m glad that V1 learned from the mistakes of the past and decided to keep things as simple as possible. It makes for a lot more enjoyable core gameplay, something that will help Disintegration appeal to more players as it heads into open beta and eventually to release.
Errors in the code
While I enjoyed the core gameplay, there was still a bit about Disintegration that irked me. For one, the Quickplay matchmaking function—the only option available during the closed-beta—wasn’t very well balanced. This is a small enough issue, and one that could be sorted when you can actually select modes and maps. However, it led to me playing the same map and mode over and over again before I finally got a chance to try out another mode. Again, not a huge issue, but definitely something I hope sees some work in the future.
Continuing along the rough edges, Disintegrations post-match screen leaves a lot to be desired. It’s impossible to really tell what you did to earn points, and overall the screen could do with a lot more information for players to look at and take note of. Eliminations also didn’t make much sense, as I’d see “Eliminated playername” on my screen several times throughout matches, but then would sometimes end the game with zero kills.
I’m not sure if assists count as eliminations, but it was still frustrating not knowing how the system worked entirely. I also noticed, at least on PC, that the post-match screen didn’t include any kind of timer like it did on console. This meant you had to manually back out of a lobby after the game finished. There also wasn’t any sort of automatic matchmaking system that just threw you into a new lobby after each match.
There’s also a lot of room in the game as it is for explanations. The first time I launched it, I played through the tutorial. It taught me how to work with the alternate weapons and all that. However, once you head into the multiplayer, all that kind of goes to the wayside. There’s no real explanation of what each alternate weapon does, so I had to just kind of figure things out on my own. The sniper weapons were fairly difficult to use as well. This wasn’t a huge issue to me, as I’d rather those kinds of weapons take skill than be too easy, but it often felt like spot-on shots would miss for weird reasons, despite my crosshair being exactly where it needed to be to land the shot.
The evolution of integration
At its core, Disintegration feels like a good game. There are issues, and some frustrating game designs, but overall, it’s a solid blending of the FPS and RTS, something that nobody else has really succeeded at. The post-match screen needs some love, and more explanations of what things do would be great. I can’t say that it would be my go-to multiplayer game because I just wasn’t as big of a fan of the combat as some might be, but that doesn’t make it a bad game. In fact, I’m really excited to see what V1 Interactive does with Disintegration in the future. I’m intrigued by the idea of the singleplayer campaign and interested to see how the studio tells a story in this new world that has been created.
Disintegration will hit its open technical beta on January 31, so head over to the official website to download it and try it for yourself.
These impressions are based on an unfinished version of the game. All concerns and issues mentioned here could be solved with future updates and testing. Disintegration is set to release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. No exact release date is known yet.
Josh Hawkins posted a new article, Disintegration closed beta hands-on impressions: New wave mechs
Looks interesting. Still can't quite tell how the RTS aspects work, though.