Disintegration is a science-fiction video game that combines elements of first-person shooter action with real-time strategy. The project was initially conceived way back in 2014 by one of the co-creators of the Halo series and started off as just another RTS game but as since evolved to allow for a more hands-on approach to the combat and while the concept that the developers landed on is certainly unique do you understand the restricted single-player campaign and dead-on-arrival multiplayer mode make this game a hard sell so first let's talk about the story.
Disintegration takes place in an apocalyptic future where human brains are placed inside robotic shells to help protect the human race from the effects of climate change economic collapse and disease as you'd expect if this doesn't work out too well as a group of integrated forces begin to push for an end to natural humanity all together forcing the world into an all-out war players assume the role of Romer shoal an ex celebrity turned resistance member it was a knack for piloting a special flying vehicle called a grab cycle after being freed from imprisonment Romer along with a band of misfit cliche robotic allies work to restore the resistances strength attacking of red-eyes strong points and recovering valuable data to help identify a weakness in the overwhelming enemy forms it's a plot structure that we've seen done time and time again in this particular variant doesn't seem to add much value to the idea with the majority of the cast being made up of robotic parts it's hard to really extract any sort of meaningful emotion from the high-quality cutscenes all the jokes fall flat and there was a little reason to feel connected to any one character even the lead character doesn't seem to have much of a personality however I was pleasantly surprised to even see this much effort put into the game's storyline there's a high quality pre-rendered cutscenes before and after every mission and there's plenty of unique battle chatter between characters during the actual gameplay to help expand on each individual character but again it all just ended up feeling like white noise and I never found myself that invested in the overarching plot.
The gameplay design however is a bit more interesting rather than dropping the player on the ground and having them run through a bunch of linear shooting galleries disintegration hooks the player up to a flying vehicle called the graph cycle the graph cycle can hover over any solid land within the bounds of the play area and can be raised or lowered to help maneuver through the environment there's only one speed for the vehicle but there is a dash ability that can help get the player out of a tight spot during combat additionally players are also equipped with one or two sets of weapons that are locked to particular missions in the campaign the first few missions for example use the HV rifles that deal a decent amount of damage but have a low ammo capacity requiring frequent reloads but later on the game changes this up with different weapons like dual shotguns a long-range marksman cannon sticky bombs the mk64 machineguns autocannons and the yumi brackets these faring weapons offer some great new challenges to overcome as the each feature of different ranges and reload speeds but unfortunately there's no way to experiment with these weapons in different missions it would have made the gameplay far more interesting if players could swap between all the different weapons or at the very least customize our load s before starting their mission all we're left with though is the option to spend collected upgrade cards on statin provements like overall damage output damage resistance and recharge rates.
what is even stranger is that the campaign doesn't even utilize all the cool weapons available in the separate multiplayer mode meaning you only get a small slice of the action throughout the 12 missions to make up for this weapon restriction disintegration pushes the player strongly to make use of its real-time strategy mechanics in almost every mission players are given a squad of ground troops to control they can be ordered to regroup move to a specific location or ask to target specific enemies each squad member also comes equipped with their own special attack that can be used repeatedly after a brief cooldown period to help gain the upper hand against more powerful enemies special attacks include concussion grenades a melee slam a rocket barrage and a slow-motion field that will slow down any enemies or projectiles within the dome if these squad members take damage players can either launch a healing based weapon at them or if those aren't available they can alternatively order them to interact with a healing station in environment if a squad member happens to die the player only has a few seconds to fly in and recover their severed robotic head which will automatically start a respawn countdown where the squad member will airdrop back onto the field without any penalty it's a very simple squad management system that takes no time at all to learn but it does feel as though it's a bit too simple it really doesn't feel like there's any strategy involved you can't tell individual squad meets what to do outside of or during their Special Attack and there seems to be no real reason to use the move command outside of telling them to interact with key objectives to progress further a function I found to be fairly inconsistent there's one mission where you need to order your squad to escort cargo across a bridge but if you fly too far ahead they'll abandon the objective you set halting the card in place and forcing you to awkwardly hover next to it at a snail's pace just to get to the next checkpoint enemies offer a fair amount of variety and are enjoyable enough to destroy there's your standard soldiers and grunts that typically focus on the tech and your crew before focusing on you but as the game ramps up the difficulty you begin to experience even more challenging opponents including large tank like rhinos snipers other flying pilots and drones lots of explosive traps and jammer devices and the intimidating Thunderer that lets out a sort of war of the world style screech and can absolutely decimate both you and your ground crew but even these great-looking robotic foes become incredibly dull and repetitive once you learn how to take them down and a game just sort of ends with no exciting boss battles or anything along those lines the overall gameplay loop basically boils down to hovering into an objective zone right-clicking enemies to have the AI focus our Tech's on them and bombarding them with whatever infinite ammunition and special attacks the game sets you up with it's a very repetitive experience only broken up by the preset AI companions your grab cycle weapons and the pretty environmental backdrops you fly through and after six straight hours of this I really had no desire to go back and try to complete the leftover challenges I missed.
Now I decided to hold off on reviewing this game until the game officially went live with its multiplayer it hopes that that would actually be players online but sadly after at least 10 different attempts ranging from one five minute wait times I never once managed to find a match to play the game feels entirely dead making the online component a complete waste of potential the idea facing off against another player grab cycle and crew sounds interesting but currently there's just no player base to enjoy this mode maybe it'll pick up steam later and it'll be worth revisiting but in its current state there's just nothing here you can't at least way around with different crew sets in the tutorial mode and play around with some of the unique grab cycle weapons on offer but that's about it really the only thing that disintegration has going for it a little is its presentation for a small development city of only 30 people.
Graphics & Thoughts
disintegrations graphics are pretty decent the environments are nicely detailed with plenty of vegetation and structures and the game's physics based destruction looks fantastic pieces of wood and concrete and rubble smoothly break away as you unload weapons on the side of structures and this looks great when combined with all the colorful particle effects on screen during some of the more intense battles however the later levels seem to feature less and less of the style of destruction windows stone pillars and walls suddenly no longer break away and all you're left with are some okay-looking environments that look like they could have been pieced together ten years ago the plus side to all this is that the performance was excellent all throughout I never once had the game crash and the framerate consistently sat above 100 FPS with little to no slowdown even in the most intense scenes the mouse and keyboard controls feel great though with a controller plugged in I didn't find it difficult to aim using the joysticks as the game requires perfect accuracy to land any shots on targets with no sort of aim assist incorporated at all overall disintegration is a clever concept that fails to deliver anything really worthwhile the story isn't original the gameplay is repetitive and lacks any real depth to keep it engaging and the visuals aren't anything to write home about but its biggest fall has more to do with its lack of an active community at launch the game feels like it was built specifically around its multiplayer component with plenty of microtransactions already available to purchase multiplayer only character skins and vehicle customizations the lack of marketing here has seriously hurt the appeal of the game and in its current state I can't recommend picking this game up at full price.
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