Disintegration is a sci-fi action-adventure, first-person shooter developed by V1 Interactive and published by Private Division. In the near future, Earth is on the brink of extinction due to climate change, overpopulation, food shortages, and a global pandemic. Scientists band together to save humanity by researching Integration, the process of removing a human brain from its body and placing it in a robotic one. However, Integrated extremists known as the Rayonne want to eradicate all humanity and force those not Integrated to become so. In the Disintegration beta, you play as an Integrated character named Romer. He rebelled against the Rayonne and was outlawed. It’s up to Romer and other outlaws to fight back and survive.
This week, Disintegration had its first closed technical test and in a few days, it will begin an open beta. Jumping into the game, you are greeted with a thorough tutorial. You pilot a vehicle known as a gravcycle that has different armaments. You can have assault rifles, light machine guns, shotguns, and a gun that shoots a javelin. Due to this being a beta, it is unclear if you can mix and match weapons to your liking. While piloting this gravcycle, you also control a ground crew of 3-4 people with varying abilities. Concussive grenade and Slow Field was a favorite because you could combo the two together to dish out a good amount of damage. I was intrigued by the gravcycle’s movement and feel. It felt light, very mobile, and something that will take time to fully master. There is a booster function, which goes on cooldown after use and gives you a short burst of speed, allowing you to dodge and maneuver around enemies and obstacles.
I fell in love with being able to control a ground crew and using their different abilities, all while placing them in different positions on the battlefield. As the tutorial continued, giving me objectives, not only did this feel like a first-person shooter, I felt like I was playing real-time strategy.
After completing the tutorial in the Disintegration beta, you can then jump into matchmaking. The only option available in the closed beta was quick-play, which randomly placed me in one of two game modes: Zone Control and Retrieval. Both modes were 5V5, objective-based modes. In Zone Control there are three zones and holding the majority of zones earns your team points. Retrieval felt like capture the flag, where you send your ground crew to retrieve a core and take it to the enemy base to detonate. Matches last about five minutes and those five minutes can seem quick or last a lifetime depending on how well both teams are doing with their objectives.
In the Disintegration beta, there aren’t player classes, but there are seven different crews you can use that have their own unique look and different gravcycle weapons and crew abilities. In this beta, you picked a group from the seven and each were packaged with weapons and abilities. It’s unknown if these would be the final selections or if you could mix and match. One thing I did not like was you could not change the skins of the crew. I am hoping that the appearance of my gravcycle and crew is not bound by weapon/ability loadout.
Each gravcycle within the crew has different stats, so it’s best to choose which one suits your playing style. Each of the seven crews felt entirely different and gave me a different play experience. Some gravcycles were faster than others, while some had more armor. Weapons also felt different from one another. One gravcycle had assault rifles attached and when attacking I could see the amount of damage I had done to an enemy from mid-range. Meanwhile with a light machine gun, in order to see any real effect, I had to be up close and personal. While the weapons were diverse, I noticed there were not many healing abilities/weapons. Out of the seven, there were only two. There are also only two crews that can use a weapon/ability that debuff your opponent’s gravcycle and ground crews. Almost half of the amount of crews should have a healing ability to make it more balanced unless things are going to be changed in the future.
While gameplay feels fun, new, and intuitive, mixing first-person shooter with real-time strategy, there were some things that did not sit well with me and I hope they are looked at and adjusted. Knowing this was a closed technical test, I knew there would be some issues going in, like lag and frame rate, but the amount I experienced was too much. The lag worsened when more than two gravcycles were on screen and battling it out. Again, no doubt this issue will be addressed, but how soon given that open beta is not too far behind and more people will be occupying servers to test this game out?
Another issue was accessibility. I felt the font on screen was way too small, condensed, and you could not change this in the options and while in battle, menus aren’t properly labeled. For example, I am told what my crews’ class was but in order to figure out what their ability was, I had to press the corresponding button. If that was not the attack I needed, I wasted precious seconds trying to figure that out and that could cost me whatever strategy I had going for myself.
The Disintegration beta is a fun game that feels new. Multiplayer is a lot of fun and makes me even more excited to take what I have learned and apply it to the campaign. I was able to use some strategy when facing real opponents but I do hope more is implemented rather than shoot, point, and continue shooting. The abilities so far seem to be weaponry based and I hope it’s more interesting and diverse than what is being showcased this week.
Disintegration will release sometime this year on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.