Disintegration Game Review – a fun strategy shooter from the co-creator of Halo that tries to be two genres in one, yet while being great in each, misses its original goal.
Once in awhile a game comes along that does away with tradition and tries to do its own thing.
Disintegration is one of those games.
NOTE: Disintegration PC System Specs at end of article.
Developed by V1 Interactive and published by Take-Two Interactive, Disintegration hit the stores this week and has divided gamers.
Not so much for its implementation, which is quite impressive given that it is the first title from the studio, but for the two very different playstyles it tries to impress upon you.
The game was directed by the co-creator of Halo, Marcus Lehto and just like Halo started off as a different game altogether.
Halo initially started life as a real-time strategy war game with an isometric perspective.
Over the course of its development, owing to the new power of the original Xbox, Halo evolved from RTS to a third-person shooter and then into the 3D first-person actioner as we know it today.
Disintegration also began as an RTS and has been morphed into a blend of a first-person mech style shooter and a real-time strategy game.
Piloting a “Grav Cycle” the action takes place in a first-person perspective while directing combat troops and participating in battle.
The core of the game is essentially an RTS game with the Grav Cycle point of view acting as an interactive camera in a combat support role.
Right away I personally did not like this presentation and would have preferred an option as to a playstyle, but it does grow on you as you progress and get used to it.
Set around a group of rebels 150 years into the future, the story has a basic dystopian future-tech style.
Climate change (yeah, that old one) has caused society’s collapse and in response, scientists have developed a brain to machine transfer process known as “Integration“.
The idea being that a machine body would not require the now scarce resources that a biological one would.
Temporary integrations were asked of the population as a means to allow resources to replenish.
However, Rayonne, an aggressive militia of integrated soldiers staged a coup and took over the remaining world’s territories.
While in power they forced integration upon the people as a means to expand their army and control the population.
The game’s main protagonist, Romer Shoal leads a group of rebels against Rayonne after escaping a facility and teaming up with Wagonner who just so happens to have a spare “Grav Cycle”.
Romer uses the Grav Cycle to carry out missions in the game’s main campaign.
The Grav Cycle plays like a typical mech game and the controls are standard.
Playing with an Xbox One controller, the left shoulder buttons control altitude while the thumbsticks control direction.
The right trigger fires the equipped primary weapon, as one would expect.
Usually, the left and right triggers would be used for altitude, but the game’s strategy feature is considered here.
The right bumper button is used for commanding troops on the ground and in combination with a D-Pad direction can also command each unit’s special attack.
Special attacks range from concussion grenades and rocket launchers to time-slowing area of effect devices.
The game design here has been done well, but the problem is that Disintegration tries to be both genres in one.
You may think that is a good thing, but when engaged in a mission, it feels like each game style is fighting for control.
You will find yourself utilizing either one playstyle or the other as trying to mix both is frustrating.
The reason why is that the game is rather unforgiving in combat and enemies will come at you from all angles.
Trying to shoot enemies from your Grav Cycle and command ground troops at the same time is just overwhelming.
There is so much going on that you will find yourself constantly directing your view at ground troops so you can protect them while your Grav Cycle takes hits on the flank.
Conversely, you may get aggressive and blast away with the Grav Cycle’s weapons all around while the ground troops get slaughtered.
Ground troops do have some semblance of AI combat, but they will not use special attacks without being directed to do so.
This results in them basically being wiped out if you aren’t there to essentially babysit them.
It would have been great if the ground troops had some better AI instincts and engaged in combat a little more aggressively since they will just die and you fail the mission.
However, it isn’t fair to just blame the game and the AI system.
Disintegration is a game that demands attention and requires you to think fast and react to changing situations.
While the game’s system has its faults, it is ultimately up to you to coordinate attacks and time them well.
This is a strategy game after all, or is it?
One of the key features of the Grav Cycle is that it can go pretty high in the air.
This allows you to assess the battlefield as if you were playing something like Rome: Total War, or more fitting, Command & Conquer.
Once you get the hang of the game’s system and begin to win at missions, you will get the familiar rush of accomplishment knowing you performed well because this game is not easy.
Your troops can be directed to places of cover or advantage points, of which the game supplies many.
Think X-Com and you’re pretty much there.
However, being an RTS, this has to be done quickly or the enemy will advance upon you at remarkable speed and accuracy.
I found that playing purely as RTS was the best for me and my playstyle.
Playing as a strategy game and then providing support with the Grav Cycle was the most satisfying tactic and the one I think may have been intended by the game’s designers.
However, if you are an FPS gamer then you can dive in and blast away at enemies, but you must always be aware of where your troops are in order to help them out.
You can try to play both styles while engaged in combat, but it ultimately won’t work.
You will have to choose a style and stick with it, but that being said, either way is great fun.
Grav Cycles themselves come in three flavors and can be upgraded with new weapons and abilities.
There are faster, more agile Grav Cycles with weaker weapons and heavier yet slower Grav Cycles with stronger weapons.
Your squad is expanded as the game progresses and choosing the right troops for combat is an essential skill.
Just like Grav Cycles, there are different classes each with unique abilities and weapons.
The game advances at a good pace and the story and game world are beautifully presented despite not being completely original.
The character-building aspects of the game have also been well implemented and by the end, you will feel like you have gotten to know some of the people.
This has easily set things up for a sequel down the line, especially considering the well thought out lore and plot twists.
I can see this game becoming somewhat of a cult classic and the beginning of a new franchise or indeed genre.
While V1 Interactive has tried to merge two game genres into one, trying to play the game as both just doesn’t work but each is great in its own right.
The AI system and certain elements can make the game infuriating at some points while being extremely gratifying at others.
Disintegration is a great development of tactical gameplay that a team of just 30 developers at V1 can be proud of.
While it may not be perfect, the scope and ambition of this game is definitely something not seen a lot and I think there will be vast improvements going forward.
ChartX Games Score – 7/10
Disintegration is available now for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Disintegration PC System Requirements
- OS: Windows 10 64-bit
- Processor: Intel Core i5-2400 or AMD Ryzen 5 1400
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Graphics: GeForce GTX 570 or Radeon HD 7850
- Storage: 15 GB available space
- OS: Windows 10 64-bit
- Processor: Intel Core i7-8700 or AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
- Memory: 16 GB RAM
- Graphics: GeForce GTX 1060 6GB or Radeon RX 5700 XT
- Storage: 15 GB available space
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Michael is the sole writer and owner at chartxgames.com.
Many thought that his youth (and adulthood) playing video games was a waste of time but here he is writing about them for a living.
Michael has a background in IT and enjoys (apart from video games) building and repairing PC’s, digital artwork (Photoshop, 3DS Max) and has interests in too many subjects to mention.