Disintegration Review

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Posted June 10, 2020 by Kyle Simcox in Video Games

Developer: V1 Interactive
Publisher: Private Division
Release Date: June 16th, 2020
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

In the far future Earth’s rising temperatures, dwindling resources and wide spreads plagues have pushed Humankind toward the cusp of extinction. Thanks to science however, life found a way and scientists created a way to surgically remove the human brain from the body and place it into a mechanical one called an Armature. This method of transferal was known as “Integration” and it was intended to be a temporary solution but some saw it as an evolution for the Human species and thus, the Rayonne were born. With their intentions to integrate all remaining human beings and labeling any Integrated who wish to oppose them as outlaws, a global war soon erupted. In Disintegration, you play as Romer Shoal, an expert gravcycle pilot, one of the leaders of a small ragtag crew of outlaws and the ex-poster child of human to machine integration. Disintegration’s campaign begins in a bit of rush. The players meet Romer in dire straits on a Rayonne ship, where he quickly escapes, roams the countryside with his future crew, meets a human and then jumps on a gravcycle to rescue his teams mechanic because he just decided to leave after fixing said gravcycle. This is all within the first few cutscenes and it all just feels very rushed and slightly forced as there isn’t much time to get to know Romer or any of his team.

Disintegration is a sci-fi First Person Shooter mixed with some Real Time Strategy elements. During missions, you pilot a gravcycle as three NPC’s follow you on foot. The gravcycle is equipped with dual primary weapons, an area scanner, a booster to help you escape those sticky situations, a secondary weapon and a command pulse that issues orders to your troops on the ground. Your teammates come with the more offensive abilities like firing mortars, throwing concussive grenades and even slowing enemies down caught within a decently sized bubble. They’re also the ones who do all the heavy lifting a mission and they’re not invulnerable. Your crew members can die and even though they can be resurrected, the time they’re spent down makes you a bigger target and once you die, you go back to your most recent checkpoint. The Rayonne are vicious and it goes without saying that working with them are your keys to success, especially if you plan on playing on higher difficulties.

Overall, I found working with my team and fighting the Rayonne really fun. Swooping around on my gravcycle as my teammates on the ground blasted our enemies away felt great, especially when my plans were executed correctly, but I do have some minor complaints. While I felt that the enemy AI was pretty decent at trying to outmaneuver me and my crew, the friendly AI isn’t exactly made up of the smartest bunch of warriors. While that encouraged me to be more engaged on the offensive side of things, it really felt like they required the right placing if I wanted to even give them a chance at surviving, otherwise they were running around out in the open and getting blasted to smithereens. Prioritizing enemies felt somewhat difficult as every command is mapped to one button. I spent more time moving my units out of decent cover positions and into open lines of fire while trying to target enemies than I would have liked. There also doesn’t seem to be a way to cancel your units abilities either. Despite the fact that an option to cancel normal orders you’ve given exists, you’ll waste abilities if you fire one off unintentionally.

In between missions, Romer has the option to wander around the Outlaws base of operations. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot to do in the base and it feels like a missed opportunity. You can catch up on the gossip and chat with your fellow Outlaws, pick up side quests for upcoming missions and upgrade Romer and his crew. Side quests often involve the players completing certain challenges like getting so many kills with a specific attack, finding a set number of salvage or doing certain feats like the one in the third mission that requires you to avoid getting hit by a “Blackout Pulse” the length of the entire mission. When you reach the end of a level, your rewarded with experience and upgrade chips. As you level up, Romer and his crew gain more chip slots to increase their skills. For example, Romer can increase the rate at which he regenerates health or increase his gun damage. The same goes for his crew members. I noticed an immediate difference in Romer and his companions combative abilities, so I greatly encourage people to level up and get as many chips as you can.

On the multiplayer side of things, I wasn’t actually able to get into a multiplayer match while trying to review this game. So far, I’ve sat in matchmaking for up to ten or up until it kicked me from the queue waiting to find a match. I did however manage to find a lobby during the closed beta and the games were pretty fun and I didn’t run into many issues then. The game features three different game modes, Zone Control, Collector and Retrieval. Zone Control plays exactly like it sounds with players competing for control over specified zones on a map and Collector is similar to “Kill Confirmed” where players score points by collecting fallen units and players brain cans. Retrieval puts a more unique twist on the “Capture the Flag” type where an attacking team tries to steal cores from the other team and deliver them to designated drop points. Similar to the single player mode, most of the work is done via your ground units so you have to keep up with them even more so in multiplayer because you don’t want to lose control of a core in Retrieval and having it explode in your face(literally).

While it isn’t in the single player campaign, Disintegration offers a some form of customization in the multiplayer. Players can customize their pilots, banners, crew teams and accessorize their gravcycles. There is a fun variety of crew teams to choose from like clowns and samurai and each team comes with their own set of abilities but not a whole lot of options to customize them currently. There’s a decent variety for everything else though so you’ll be able customize your team to a liking that fits your personality. If you want to unlock some of the options a little sooner, you can purchase credits as well. However, I will say that there isn’t really enough to convince me to spend my money on a keychain for my gravcycle and I don’t really have any desire to make my pilot pink… at the moment anyway.

There is something about Disintegration’s art style that gave me strong Halo vibes. It could just be a matter of convenience given one of the developer’s history with the franchise, but as I played through the first mission, I kept thinking about the first moment I experienced Halo: Combat Evolved’s “Silent Cartographer” level. While Disintegration’s first mission is certainly not anywhere near the same scale, guiding my robotic crew through this heavily wooded mountainside as I searched for my mechanic brought back some very fond memories. However, I played Disintegration on my PS4 Pro and the framerate was all over the place as it stumbled a lot without much reason. As far as the audio is concerned, I liked the voice acting as the actors did help to bring life to the robotic cast. The sounds of warfare raging from up close or off in the distance were also impressive but there’s one thing I noticed that seems to be missing. In the hub area, there’s a distinct lack of ambiance or music. The character’s you speak to are all fully voiced or make some kind of noise(think Star Wars and gonk droids) and you’ll hear Romer’s footsteps he walks around but other than that, it’s dead quiet and awkward.

Despite it’s issues, I really like Disintegration a lot. The cast is fun and the gameplay is mostly spot on and the levels are large. I played through the campaign on the Maverick difficulty which encourages players to rely on crew commands and I felt that created a symbiotic relationship between me and my team. They were still effective despite their fetish for making themselves open targets. At one point, my game did crash and I lost all of my progress at the end of the second mission so that was a bit of a peeve but I can only hope that a day one patch is in the works to fix the inconsistent framerate and other bugs. I’d very much like to see more of Disintegration’s world from V1 Interactive in the future. I’d absolutely play a sequel.

WeTheNerdy gives Disintegration 7.5 brain cans out of 10.
Due to my lack of being able to play the final product’s multiplayer I am not factoring that into the score currently.

Pros:
Blend of FPS and RTS elements makes for fun gameplay.
Good, action packed campaign with a fun cast.
Single player upgrades actually feel important.
Gravcycle is fun to use.
Side quests and hidden caches encourage exploration and variety.

Cons:
Bugs and framerate issues.
Friendly AI is only a little dumb.
Hub area is a missed opportunity that lacks life and ambiance.
Mission progression can’t be saved mid-mission.


About the Author

Kyle Simcox