In the distant future, our brains will be fused with mechanical shells, at least that’s what Disintegration tells , a game in which you dress the metal clothes of a robot eager to reclaim its humanity. Of course, your mission puts you in conflict with other human robots and it is in this scenario that the new V1 Interactive hybrid shooter moves.
In what looks like an interesting twist in the FPS genre, players take control of a hoverbike. Sitting on this means of transport floating in the sky, you will be able to spit fire and metal at your opponents but you will not be alone, since each player has control of a small team of soldiers and a very fast mech running under them. This small unit follows you on the battlefield, taking orders and attacking enemies as you flourish over their heads, support them and look for opponents flanking your militias. The game is halfway between Destiny(thinks Cayde-6 riding a racing car with a ground team below him) and unit-based action / RTS games in games like Company of Heroes, and this unlikely fusion of elements actually turns out to be quite amusing.
The part of the single player game has been described to us rather than shown, and, as far as we have been told, you have the possibility to customize your robotic avatar and their support troops, modifying the skills as you see fit, at least within the boundaries of in-game customizations. However, we were able to try multiplayer after having a chat with Private Division, and we played a couple of rounds of a goal-based mode in which each team in turn attacked a target to remove a nucleus, while the other team searched for to defend it with their own lives.
The big difference between singleplayer and multiplayer is that your options are somewhat limited and instead of having the ability to customize your team as you see fit, you’re limited to choosing from a set of preset options, each with their own colorful designs and custom armaments. According to our humble opinion, visually speaking, these preset styles are a bit too general, since their futuristic designs are based on fairly common tropes (medieval knights, samurai, punk with neon colors – in short, we understand each other) , but these unique cosmetic differences are mainly used to differentiate your units from those of others on the battlefield and, that being the case, color combinations do their job well.
The most important thing for each unit are the skills that come with it, since they have a direct impact on the way you play; you can choose to be more agile and light, but at the same time you will become easy to hit in favor of greater mobility. Similarly, choose to advance more slowly in battle with a grenade launcher and a slow-reload heavy missile attack, which can prove devastating if targeted and launched with the right timing. We only played a couple of rounds, so we couldn’t find many of the different builds available, but the ones we tried turned out to be quite unique, thanks to their individual strengths and weaknesses.
The mode we played saw both teams fighting in a crumbling urban environment, in which one group tried to capture the core of the defending team and remove it, while the other team had the task of preventing them from doing it at all costs. The teams, with a maximum of five players, must, therefore, unite and coordinate their attacks, and the various abilities and additional bodies on the ground seemed to offer many tactical options, where, however, coordination proved to be fundamental (at least, when playing at this mode). Neither team was able to take the core during our demo and the games ended in a draw, but we spent most of our time focusing on causing as much damage as possible and, to this end, we achieved great success.
After our hands-on and during our interview with developer-in-chief Marcus Lehto (who was one of the creators of the original Halo in Bungie’s time), we had a better idea of how this mixture of ideas succeeds to work very well. Initially the idea was that the player would simply supervise the action from his video camera floating in the sky, but it didn’t take long before the development team realized that it would be much more fun to place weapons on that camera and do so that the player was more directly involved.
We will learn more about how this fusion of genres develops in the single player campaign, but our brief hands-on with the multiplayer mode has given us enough information about this concept in work-in-progress to know that we are interested in learning more. It was a brief but intense experience in the Gamescom business area, but enough to get our attention. Disintegration will arrive on PC, PS4 and Xbox One next year and we can’t wait to try the full experience as soon as it becomes available.