Coming from the mind of Marcus Lehto – one of the creative brains behind Halo and the Master Chief – and his new studio V1 Interactive, hopes are high for upcoming FPS Disintegration on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. With the technical betas having just past, we’re starting to get a bit of an idea what to expect. And as we went hands-on during the beta, here are our thoughts.

disintegration beta 2

From pre-release pictures, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was the next Destiny expansion, this strange looking character having more than a passing resemblance to Cayde-6 and the environments looking like a new addition to Old Russia. But here, the similarities end.

Disintegration is set in the near-future where humanity is on the brink of extinction – okay this bit sounds familiar as well – but a new technology has been invented that could preserve humanity. Scientists would remove a human brain and place it in a robotic exoskeleton in a process called Integration. Some, however, saw this temporary solution as the future of humanity, and split off to form a new group called the Rayonne. Now this group is hunting down the remaining humans and forcing their Integration. In the single player portion of Disintegration, you play as an Integrated rebel called Romer who wants to fight back against the Rayonne and who dreams of becoming fully human again.

Sadly, this rather excellent sounding campaign wasn’t available in the technical beta, but we did still have access to two multiplayer modes with the simple request from the developers to “Come help us break our game!” Hopefully my inability at any sort of multiplayer game helped them realise to include minus numbers in the score system.

After an initial tutorial on how the game works, you can jump straight into multiplayer. What immediately caught my eye was my pilot dressed as a clown with very staccato movements. After the coulrophobia had died down I realised this was one of the seven crews in the beta. This crew were called The Sideshow, but even these colourful and creepy pilots weren’t the most striking. You also had the option between knights, samurais, neon ravers and a team that would be able to fit in nicely with Mad Max. The variations were striking, and these were just the default cosmetics; drilling down into the options and there appears to be a ton of variations to choose from. When the main game comes out it looks like there will be a lot to choose from.

Each leader of the crews also had their own movements and animations. Whether these are just limited to the lobby screen or not we will have to wait and see.

disintegration beta 3

Once in a game, you finally get a feeling for the gameplay in a better way than the tutorial suggests. Disintegration seems to combine FPS with RTS and MOBAs to create something unique and familiar all at once. You are the pilot of a gravcycle; a vehicle that moves round the maps, hovering up to about 50ft off the ground, and comes equipped with a weapon. Your crew is made up of several robots that can’t be directly controlled, but you can issue them orders, such as to attack a specific unit, retreat or use one of their unique abilities.

Things can get a bit hectic – in the best way – on screen as essentially each player is in charge of their gravcycle and up to four ground units. Each ground unit has a different attacking style: Destroyers or Rhinos are like your tank, Strikers have a mortar attack that could decimate enemy units, and Snipers do what their name suggests. And then there were also Merc, Ranger and Warrior types. Not every crew had the same units mind you, or even the same number for that matter. Depending on what their unit loadout was, some crews had two whilst others had the maximum four.

The maps on offer also showcased the years of experience this team has at delivering multiplayer games. Sometimes it was a case of finding that one spot that had a line to the furthest point on the map or hiding behind some rubble and waiting for the danger to pass; either way the maps in the beta were extremely well designed, particularly Junkyard.

The crew leader – as well as having different units – each had separate abilities and weapons on their gravcycle. However these were only made apparent when in a game, so it quickly changed from a decision made on aesthetics to a decision based on playstyle.

disintegration beta 1

The two modes on offer were fairly standard: Zone Control has you try and keep hold of up to three zones for as long as possible to score points and Retrieval was an attack/defence mode where one team had to defend three pieces of cargo from being retrieved and carried to a certain point by the attacking team, before then swapping around.

After my short time with the beta of Disintegration on Xbox One, I am already convinced that V1 Interactive are onto a multiplayer winner. The uniqueness of surveying a live battle scene from up top in your gravcycle is a new experience, and dynamically changes how you play the game. The RTS side of things does feel a bit frantic and it will take some time to adjust to the pace when deploying troops and utilising their unique abilities.

But perhaps most intriguing is simply how this gameplay transfers into a single player experience. This is what excites me greatly about Disintegration, and I’m hoping we don’t have to wait too much longer to find out.

Have you tried the beta? What are your thoughts? Feel free to hit us up in the comments!

Massive thanks go out to V1 Interactive for the opportunity to check out the closed and open beta for Disintegration on Xbox One.

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