a free shooter halfway between Halo and Portal

Of competitive first-person shooters that promised sparks and instead sold out in the time of a week we have seen so many in recent times. Partly for lack of interesting ideas, partly for the absence of a captivating artistic direction, none of the FPS released in recent times has managed to explode. For a few weeks, however, there is a product that has managed to attract the attention of gamers even before the official release, to the point of forcing the developers to postpone the day one due to the impossibility of managing the enormous flow of users on Open Beta servers. We obviously speak of Splitgate, the shooter arena of 1047 Games already available in trial version on PC and console. Let’s try to understand what are the reasons that are making this production one of the most talked about of the moment.

The perfect mix

You have surely read around what is the most common description of Splitgate, that is “Halo mixed with Portal”. In fact, there is no better way to define this first person shooter set in a futuristic world and which stands out from all its competitors precisely for the union of typical FPS mechanics with those we loved so much in the two chapters of Portal. In fact, scattered around every single arena there are blue walls on which players can create gods bring them without particular limitations and regardless of distance. This means that we could create a gap in front of us and one on the opposite side of the map to reach it in the blink of an eye and perhaps position ourselves in a point from which you have more control over the rest of the map.

Portals, however, not only serve to improve mobility but also have a tactical use not negligible: in addition to being able to move through the portals, players can create a window on another place in the arena and even shoot through it. At the moment (we do not exclude that this can change from here to the exit) only the player who creates the portals can observe what is hidden inside them, instead those created by allies and enemies can only be crossed, although the bullets still manage to arrive on the other side and, with a little luck, hit the enemy. We know very well what you are thinking and it is therefore better to specify it right away: in Splitgate motorhomes do not have a long life, unless their opponents are particularly poor. A particularly skilled player could create a kind of fort by positioning himself in a place with a perfect view and cover any blind spots with a well-placed portal.

On the surface it may seem like a complex situation to deal with, but we assure you that this is not the case at all: regardless of the map, there will always be at least one panel on which you can open a portal that will help you surprise the enemy behind or from which you can see well enough to hit it with a shotgun. If, on the other hand, the problem should be an enemy portal, all the contenders are equipped with some EMP grenades which can be launched even in the most remote places and which disable any red portal on contact. The development team has therefore tried to implement the portal system in the most intelligent way possible and the result is certainly remarkable, since in a simple and intuitive way it allows players to indulge themselves and always find new ways to frag.

Victory with Teabag blows

Unlike portal mechanics, the gunplay of Splitgate is much more traditional and offers a single weapon for each category, each with the total absence of recoil and the ability to hit exactly where the viewfinder is resting. In each game all players start with the same weapons (usually an automatic rifle and a single shot), but they can go around the map to grab one of the many guns that reappear on the arena at regular intervals. specific places.

The arsenal isn’t incredibly diverse at the moment, but all weapons perform just fine and they encourage you to adopt completely different styles of play from each other. Just think of the shotgun, incredibly powerful at short range and able to eliminate any threat with a single shot and which therefore leads to a much more aggressive approach than what you would have with a battle rifle.

If the instruments of death are not surprising in variety, we certainly cannot say the same for them game mode. In this respect, the development team has given free rein to creativity and inserted an incredible amount of different rules to play with. In addition to the classic and inevitable modes such as the deathmatch and the team deathmatch we find about 20 different modes that distort the gameplay in a more or less important way and allow you to face the title in a different way.

Anyone who wants can devote himself to the competitive aspect by participating in the modalities whose setting is similar to what was seen in Counter Strike / Valorant, not to mention the presence of ranked matches. Even the less serious aspect finds space between the modes, between the one in which you can throw a ball, the one that dramatically increases the size of the players’ heads and Teabag Confirmed, where the points are scored based on the execution of the bizarre practice on the corpse of the enemies. Among those that most amused us we find Shotty Snipers, in which only shotguns and sniper rifles are used, e SWAT, which is a way in which even a single bullet to the head causes death. In short, there is something for everyone and it is practically impossible that in the current offer of Splitgate you will not be able to find a mode similar to your tastes.

The whole system linked to the progression, divided into two different paths: one for the Season 0 Pass and one for the ‘permanent’ experience level. While the levels of the season pass alternate free or paid rewards that can be earned by accumulating experience and completing challenges, on the other hand we find a mechanism that closely resembles the Overwatch loot box system. By completing all the dailies, all the weeklies or by climbing the levels, you unlock capsules containing random objects among those present in a pool of cosmetics that has nothing to do with what you can buy in the shop or find in the pass.

If we also add the challenges related to weapons that allow you to obtain unique camouflages based on the ability with that specific death tool, you can easily understand how the possibilities offered in terms of customizing skins, portals and weapons are numerous and more. related to microtransactions. At the moment Splitgate he is very generous towards the players, who can save even a few coins without particular difficulty through the internal referral system and daily accesses, which guarantee 100 coins weekly and allow with a bit of constancy to buy the Season Pass without paying a cent, which costs 900 Splitcoins.

It is likely that this choice did not cost the development team much, which included a series of advertising banners (in our case we noticed the posters of Free Guy and some energy drinks) whose revenues allow us to have a less aggressive approach to what concerns microtransactions.

All these progression mechanisms fit together perfectly and thanks to them it is always possible to access some new aesthetic tinsel to show off in the arena. The only note that we feel like making concerns the structuring of the daily quests, which should be slightly tweaked in view of the final release. Currently, in fact, the game offers the same three daily missions to all users and such a decision could have implications on the game, especially in the presence of those that encourage them to participate in specific modes or to have a certain behavior (just think of that asking to die less than twelve times in a match). In our opinion it would be better that, unlike the weekly challenges, the daily ones are randomly assigned to ensure everyone has fun and not transform the game according to the needs dictated by the requests of the missions.

Waiting for the upgrade

Splitgate’s technical profile is flawless if we consider its operation on the reference platforms, that is PC, PlayStation 4 And Xbox One. Especially on consoles the game performs very well with a granite framerate achieved, however, sacrificing graphic detail and resolution.

Just start the backwards compatibility shooter on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, perhaps on a 4K TV, to see how the image is poorly defined and the details are scarce, especially when compared to the PC version which, for obvious reasons, is on another planet not only by definition but also by polygonal modeling and lighting system (thanks to it both the weapons and the armor acquire another aspect).

By running tests on all platforms, we noticed how the Xbox version features a slightly higher resolution than the PlayStation counterpart, although in both cases the result on the screen is not the most pleasant. In any case, the upgrade for next-generation consoles should be close to publication and, were it not for the problems encountered by the development team a few days after the release, we would probably already be playing the updated versions of the title.

What is not surprising is the Artistic direction of Splitgate, which features very generic and hardly recognizable characters, weapons and maps. Any element of the game knows in some way already seen and, more importantly, there is a certain continuity from the aesthetic point of view as regards the character skins, which sometimes seem almost to belong to different productions.

It is not certain that things cannot change in the future, but at the moment this component of the game represents perhaps the Achilles heel of the 1047 Games title and we know how captivating appearance can affect the success of a project, especially when on the market the competition is fiercer than ever and takes care of the cosmetic elements in an almost maniacal way. We would also have liked a less dispersive and above all immediate menu interface, since today it is quite difficult to juggle challenges, daily rewards and opening loot boxes, not to mention that the rewards of the challenges must be manually recovered upon their completion, an absolutely superfluous step.

Honorable mention should be made to cross-play, functionality not only present but well implemented: just like in Call of Duty Warzone and Black Ops Cold War, the game takes into consideration the player’s preferred peripheral and, consequently, shapes matchmaking based on this preference, blocking any system of alternative control. So if we decide to play with the pad on PC, for the entire game it will not be possible to use the mouse and keyboard except in the menus. Unfortunately there is no cross-progression support yet (it seems to be among the plans of the company, but for now there is nothing official), which would have been useful for those who are waiting to play on next-gen consoles and in the meantime want to enjoy the game on PC.