Splitgate is a free-to-play multiplayer first-person shooter that is out now on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. If you’ve talked to anyone about Splitgate you’ve most likely heard it summed up as Halo meets Portal. That’s how it was first described to me and that’s how I would describe it to anyone that asks.
The combat and movement all feel incredibly similar to Halo, especially Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians, but there are some differences. The biggest of which is mobility. Splitgate’s defining mechanic is the portal system where each player has the ability to open two portals that are connected, allowing anyone to move through them. The caveat is that you can only see through your portal. Any ally or enemy portals can’t be seen through and if you decide to run through them, you won’t know what’s on the other side until you find out for yourself.
You can also shoot through any and all portals, which means it’s possible to set up unique angles to attack your enemies from. That does mean you need to be careful though, because any and all opponents can shoot through your own portal back at you. They might not be able to see you but there is one trick to the portals – your reticle will still turn red if focused on an enemy through a portal. You can also close your portals by hitting sideways on the D-Pad and you can throw a grenade at enemy portals to disable them too.
Something that isn’t really mentioned in Splitgate is that the grenade doesn’t do any physical damage, so you certainly shouldn’t waste any time and energy trying to throw it at enemies. You also don’t pick them up, they just recharge over time.
Coupled with the portal mechanic is a small jetpack boost that you get when you jump. I’ll admit, I love the small jetpack boost actually. It gives everyone enough mobility to easily get around without needing to use the portals, but the boost isn’t so long that you need to constantly be looking up and around for enemies.
Funnily enough, for a main USP, it’s very easy to ignore using portals in Splitgate. I often forget to use mine just because of how similar the gameplay feels to Halo and how much mobility you have even without them.
I have played Splitgate on both PC with mouse and keyboard, as well as Xbox Series X with controller (and this is cross-platform so you can use what you like), but personally I’ve found the controller to suit. Again, this may most likely be because of how much I’ve played Halo, but it’s nice and simple to deploy those portals using the bumpers on the controller; it’s easy to use them during combat without needing to adjust your hands too much. The only thing that is actually trickier to pull of on the controller compared to the keyboard is the grenade, which is down on the D-Pad.
But beyond that I think the controls and mechanics of Splitgate are great. In fact, they are nothing short of phenomenal when you consider that it’s a free-to-play game with no pay-to-win mechanics; at least none that I can see.
There are a few things I am not crazy about however, but my biggest complaint is that the melee attacks are so weak. In most games you’ll find that pulling off a melee either delivers a one-hit kill or brings your enemy down to almost no health. In Splitgate, your melee attack only does 50 health of damage out of 100. This wouldn’t bother me as much if there were assassinations in the game, but even punching someone from behind won’t be enough to kill them in one hit or even do more damage. That being said, melee attacks do seem to scale up in damage if you garner enough momentum, so it does get stronger if you manage to jump onto your enemy from high enough up. However, I have a tendency to shoot at my enemies in those situations so I never really took advantage of that mechanic.
The one other thing I’m not totally sold on is the kill confirmed game mode which involves tea-bagging your enemies to confirm your kill. On its own it’s funny, but the problem with so many multiplayer games these days is found in the toxicity this brings and the fact that they’ve introduced a game mode that encourages it is a bit disheartening. Thankfully it is only a temporary game mode and whilst this is more of a personal point of view, I just hope it is avoided moving forward.
One last note is that Splitgate comes complete with crossplay so you can play with friends on other systems. And neatly it’s been actioned in such a way that you can just add each other using a friend code. If we are still comparing Splitgate and Halo, it’s much easier to connect to PC friends in Splitgate when compared to something like The Master Chief Collection.
Splitgate has actually been out in beta form since 2019 but a recent surge in popularity has led to them increasing their server capacity to support the tens of thousands of people trying to play. It’s actually been such an increase that 1047 Games, the developer, pushed off the release to focus on server support for the time being.
If you haven’t played Splitgate but are looking for a new shooter to try out then it is most definitely recommended. 1047 Games have done a great job with server support and connection times have continued to improve since first launch.
Jump into what may be the next big shooter as Splitgate arrives on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One