Some of you may recognize me and my many posts from about a month ago. I've been on a bit of a video game hiatus due to life, but when I heard about the new update I decided to get back into Sandstorm.
What. An. Update.
I'll start with the positives. The main game problem I had in October was that the bots were awfully done. Whatever NWI did, man... this feels like a totally new game and I'm loving it. The bots don't laser me or snap fire anymore. Maybe I'm tripping, but their movements seem more fluid. Their behavior was like completely overhauled... here's some examples I noticed while messing around in local play:
- Bots will seek cover if fired on
- They will run more and don't just walk without a purpose
- They throw grenades into rooms before clearing them sometimes
- They coordinate a room breach! Yes! I swear they coordinate! I've had several instances in a few games where the bots would bust down two or three doors simultaneously. One time one of them even shouted something like "breach now, brothers" !!!
- Bots check corners in a room, they don't just wander in helplessly as I corner camp them
- They still group up into conga lines sometimes, but it doesn't seem as bad as before
- They suppress positions they've seen you go to, even if you stop peeking your head out
- They don't just sit in the objectives, they actively patrol areas and some of them come after you if they see you and try to push your position
- Many relocate after firing at you and as a team seek wider angles
Overall, I was highly impressed by these new bots. They feel much more natural and the few local games I played were simply thrilling. I had to be more of a tactician than I'm used to in an Insurgency game. Now all they need is combat rolls, lol!
Second, the new weapon recoil is absolutely amazing. That little bit of screen shake just makes it so much more immersive. I liked the gun handling before, but its honestly even better now.
Third, NWI did something to fire support that's just made it feel so much more realistic and intense. I especially noticed this with the Security's artillery, which seems much more punchy. I'm also happy to report that both Cleric and Assassin both survive longer than one second now! In my games, both of the helo supports weren't shot down, though they did get a relatively low amount of kills, might've just been the placement.
Fourth, a bunch of small things... smoke no longer gives my computer an epileptic spasm, door breaching seems more intertia-based and I like it. The slide seems more natural. Movement also seems more natural and seems to have been slowed down, which I like. Suppression effect was much more debilitating, also a fan of that.
Now for the negative... the optimization is straight dogshit. After I realized that my video settings were all kinds of messed up, I checked out the options menu and noticed that some new video settings were introduced. I messed with them until I got a more playable game for my machine, but you can still perceive the slight stuttering and lack of smoothness. Textures take about a second to load in whenever I spawn in, though I had this same issue before the update. I got my game running at 50-60 fps, sometimes it dips to 35 when things are exploding all around me, but its fine.
I have 16gb of ram and a GTX 970 I mean, I expect something a bit less freezy… something that doesn't gobble up 98% of my gpu for starters!
My two main complaints in October were: (1) bots are ass (2) optimization is ass. I'm very happy with what NWI did with my first problem! Honestly amazing. Now its just trying to make this game actually playable.