Thoughts after a couple of days with Sandstorm

I have now played for a couple of days (reached level 18) and there a couple of things I would like to mention. Much of it has probably been mentioned before but hell, another topic has never killed anyone, right?!

I have not run into many technical issues. Only a couple things come to mind now;
Once I got stuck next to a rock face on the map Summit.
Occasionally I run around without hands / floating gun.
Friendly player models have this subtle but shaky twitching going on when running next to them. In other words; character animations aren't super smooth.
A couple of graphical glitches when spectating as well, but that doesn't really matter.

Colliding players could use some work, as it feels unpolished at the moment. I would describe two players colliding in CQB as "clipping chaos".

The car's physics are breaking immersion a bit as well. They look kind of light and twitchy in their movement.

Gun and explosion sounds are awesome, but could be more distinct, and they become a little too muffled at short distances for my taste.

Gunplay is really good. Light-years ahead of that buggy mess Escape From Tarkov. But it does not outshine a shooter like Squad with much, if any. The original Insurgency had damn near perfect gunplay, so in that regard;
Insurgency > Sandstorm

As many have mentioned before the restricted areas are an annoyance. Other than having a restricted area so you can spawn in safely and have 3-4 different options to choose from when moving out, I do not see the point of having them at all. As of now I feel tactically limited, and most matches become very linear and repetitive. Pretty much every single time I try to flank around the enemy I run into a restricted area.
It's 2019 for dog's sake. Freedom!!

I must give praise to the map design. The maps look beautiful, and are both detailed and intricate. World interaction is also very well designed. Opening doors, or kicking them in, and breaking windows feels intuitive and adds a lot of atmosphere and gameplay fluidity. I would like to play a night, and snow map, though.

Will we see many future updates? Sandstorm has great potential, but I was expecting more from it, considering how awesome the original was/is.

In my opinion, NWI could have skipped the commander/observer, A-10s, helicopters, drones, and cars. Focused entirely on infantry combat, and made even bigger maps with more tactical freedom.

I was addicted to the original MIC mod and to the stand-alone release as well. Many hundreds of hours in each.

The game play was so intense that my gaming group called the game "GodD@mmit" as that was the word that was spoken most frequently during play.

While Sandstorm is a good game, there are elements of the predecessors that make it inferior to them:

  • When using scope or sites, the entire screen did not zoom in. I realize this is probably a limitation in the UE4 engine, but it would be nice to see it come back.

  • Character animations seem a little clunkier in Sandstorm. Hopefully, this is a part of the game that will get smoothed out in coming patches.

  • The sound in Insurgency of 2014 was actually much more realistic and immersive. The gun sounds here have too much at distance. In reality (as was reflected in previous titles), the further away you are from a gun firing, the more you only hear the sonic crack of the bullet. The bass of the gas explosion does not carry very far. This release seems like someone wanted their subwoofer to get a workout and overdid it.

  • The map design is good, but I have to agree with others, it had too much of a corridor to it. In the maps of previous releases, there were ample ways to flank the enemy. That made for much more intense game play because the enemy could, literally, be anywhere. In this one, the options are very limited.

  • I think they should have released the game with at least one of the older maps. This would have given the players two things. #1 Something familiar in which to adjust to the new game with and, #2 something to give the dev's feedback based upon past experience in that environment.

  • I keep noticing lower player counts compared to Insurgency of 2014. Currently, there are far more players in the previous title than Sandstorm. That tells me that the formula used in Insurgency is more unique and appealing than the one that is used in Sandstorm. I understand not wanting to just remake a previous title on a new engine, but low player counts in the new game is not a good sign.

  • The calling in of air support and such makes it feel like the developers were trying to compete with titles like COD. It doesn't work in this game. Insurgency worked because it didn't have AI controlled assets. It was all on the player and the team to make it happen.

Unfortunately, I feel like Sandstorm is going to have less success than the previous two. Instead of refining the formula that made Insurgency a go-to game for those who wanted a hardcore, immersive FPS, they tried to make it appealing to a wider market. That wider market already have their established titles that have stuck to their core formula.

As a newer player to Sandstorm, I thought I'd throw my 2 cents worth of observations/critiques. I also agree with all that's said above.

Things that I like about this game are the slower developing tactics and gun fights. It's not all about run and gun, jump around and whoever has the quickest snap reflex wins. I like the thinking aspect of this game (which is why I like PUBG as well).

What I find annoying/frustrating about this game is:

  • The playable/fightable areas are too constricting. As was mentioned above, this is 2019, give us our freedom to move around and actually use proper flanking tactics. Sure you can go right/left, but in the end you really aren't able to do a lot in that aspect.

  • You can't actually use the environment very much to actually help conceal/position for ambushes, etc. On one particular map there are so many areas around the playable area that could be used, but you can't climb up onto/into those areas. It's highly annoying.

  • The sound quality/dynamics are not very good either, imo. The gun sounds, explosions, all start to mesh together and becomes hard to figure out which direction they're coming from. And I have a high end quality headset/setup.

  • Network/server lag. For the most part when I play on what I presume to be the "official" servers, the lag is under control. Some friends and I tried to play on a private server and the rubberbanding was out of this world. We tried a different server, and even with the 10 ping I was getting, rubberbanding was nuts. So not sure if it's those particular server hosts, or something with the private server settings?

  • It's so easy to TK accidentally in this game due to the friendly tags not being able to be visually seen easily, or the tag just doesn't update to the player. The friendly player tags are extremely hard to visually pick up on the default colors when things are happening. I had to adjust the coloring on them to make them pop more. But even still, I've had some accidental TK's or damage dealt because you get into tense situations and you become jumpy. Player comes through the door with no tag and you shoot, only to realize a split second later that it's a friendly. If someone wants to use the realistic argument, why even have friendly tags on the players? At that point you should be left to visually identify based on uniforms only.

  • Replays could use a lot of work to be easier to use in free cam.

  • I cannot stand the overhead heli's, A-10 runs, mortars falling, etc. I wish it was just straight infantry gunplay, tactics/strategy to succeed. Instead we have all this extra crap that to me takes away from the gunplay skills. If I wanted heli's, etc. I'd play COD/BF.

  • Player toxicity in game with the voice communication is... to put it mildly, is highly annoying. It sounds like some players just got left alone from their parents for the first time so they got to use every bad word, derogatory comment or description when they play to make themselves feel good. It's sad that some people feel they should act this way just because they're anonymous.

Just some of my thoughts. While I'm enjoying the game overall at this point, unless there is improvements in the game, I think I could find myself not playing in the future.

As a newer player to Sandstorm, I thought I'd throw my 2 cents worth of observations/critiques. I also agree with all that's said above.

Things that I like about this game are the slower developing tactics and gun fights. It's not all about run and gun, jump around and whoever has the quickest snap reflex wins. I like the thinking aspect of this game (which is why I like PUBG as well).

What I find annoying/frustrating about this game is:

  • The playable/fightable areas are too constricting. As was mentioned above, this is 2019, give us our freedom to move around and actually use proper flanking tactics. Sure you can go right/left, but in the end you really aren't able to do a lot in that aspect.

  • You can't actually use the environment very much to actually help conceal/position for ambushes, etc. On one particular map there are so many areas around the playable area that could be used, but you can't climb up onto/into those areas. It's highly annoying.

  • The sound quality/dynamics are not very good either, imo. The gunsounds, explosions, all start to mesh together and becomes hard to figure out which direction they're coming from.

  • Network/server lag. For the most part when I play on what I presume to be the "official" servers, the lag is under control. Some friends and I tried to play on a private server and the rubberbanding was out of this world. We tried a different server, and even with the 10 ping I was getting, rubberbanding was nuts. So not sure if it's those particular server hosts, or something with the private server settings?

  • It's so easy to TK accidentally in this game due to the friendly tags not being able to be visually seen easily, or the tag just doesn't update to the player. The friendly player tags are extremely hard to visually pick up on the default colors when things are happening. I had to adjust the coloring on them to make them pop more. But even still, I've had some accidental TK's or damage dealt because you get into tense situations and you become jumpy. Player comes through the door with no tag and you shoot, only to realize a split second later that it's a friendly. If someone wants to use the realistic argument, why even have friendly tags on the players? At that point you should be left to visually identify based on uniforms of players only.

  • Replays could use a lot of work to be easier to use in free cam.

  • I cannot stand the overhead heli's, A-10 runs, mortars falling, etc. I wish it was just straight infantry gunplay, tactics/strategy to succeed. Instead we have all this extra crap that to me takes away from the gunplay skills. If I wanted heli's, etc. I'd play COD/BF.

  • Player toxicity in game with the voice communication is... to put it midly highly annoying. It sounds like some players just got left alone from their parents for the first time so they got to use every bad word, derogatory comment or description when they play to make themselves feel good. It's sad that some people feel they should act this way just because they're annonymous.

Just some of my thoughts. While I'm enjoying the game overall at this point, unless there is improvements in the game, I think I could find myself not playing in the future.

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