Insurgency: Sandstorm – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Strategy, FPS
Developer: New World Interactive
Publisher: New World Interactive
Platforms: PC
Tested on: PC

Insurgency: Sandstorm – Review

Site Score
Good: Extremely realistic gameplay
Bad: Needs some more maps
User Score
(6 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (6 votes cast)

A few months ago, we had the opportunity to try out the first closed beta of Insurgency: Sandstorm. With its initial release pushed back a few months to ensure a qualitative release, New World Interactive gave everyone who had already pre-ordered the game open beta access to the game, so players wouldn’t have to wait too long. Now the game is fully launched and, damn, the wait was worth it! 


Sadly, there isn’t a real story in Insurgency: Sandstorm. The setting of the game is somewhere in the Middle East where two factions battle for complete control. More specifically the war rages between the Insurgents and the Security Forces and you must choose a side to fight on. The absence of story means that there is no flow. This is a simple game that you join and just fight to complete the objectives on the map.


The visuals are stunning and, if you have the right hardware, this game looks like a triple A title. We tested the game on maximum settings and it is so detailed that you will get sunburned the first time you get deployed. Since there is no active HUD to work with, you have the full screen to utilize, which makes spotting hostile troops and navigating through the warzone easier. By checking your ammunition, you temporally bring up the HUD, showing objectives and your ammo count. Something that is essential in a battle simulator is the weapon handling and in Sandstorm the weapon handling realism is off the hook. Everything looks great and the locations are beautiful, though they are in the middle of a warzone. Characters look good as well and you can easily distinguish friend from foe (unless you are a ‘shoot first’ type of sniper and your teammate has a large Arabic beard).

There are still some bugs present that glitch some scopes, rendering them useless. Sometimes, this can be fixed by simply switching weapons, but other times it persists and, as a sniper, the weapon will become useless. Hopefully, they fix this real soon.


In most games you just hear the bland sounds of generic gunshots, some lame yells and explosions. In Sandstorm, you get sucked so deep into the game because of how great the sounds are. Hearing bullet impact nearby will make even the most battle-hardened veterans poop their pants a little bit. The game is full of rough sounds of old war weapons screaming through hallways or modern silenced battle rifles picking off enemies at a distance.

Furthermore, troops are more interactive than in the past. When you intimidate, you hear your character yell something rude to the other troops and it will actually trigger the enemy to respond, making it easy to find out where they hide. In this war, we are all human and you notice that this isn’t your average shooting game. For example, people who get shot will scream in pain, blast that hostile right in the face and you will hear them scream their final breath out in agony, which reflects how war is in real life. A very annoying sound bug is that sometimes weapons go completely silent. You will hear impact sounds but no guns firing, which is a fairly big nuisance in this type of game


Insurgency: Sandstorm is a realistic first-person shooter set in the battlegrounds of the Middle East. It pits two factions against each other, fighting for total domination of the warzone. The part of the game that makes the Insurgency series shine is its high realism. To start with, there is no active HUD present, only when it’s brought up by checking inventory. This management has slightly changed in a good way. Now, you can check the approximate amount of bullets left in the magazine, switch it out for another one and check how many you still have. Reloading is done in two ways: either keep the magazine for later use (unless it’s completely empty) or drop it to quickly load in the next one and discard the current in use. Moreover, if you are using a bipod and move away mid reload, the gun will have no clip, but you can always fire the chambered round; talking about realism there! A slightly frustrating feat in the first game was that you couldn’t collect ammo from dropped weapons, meaning that if your main weapons would run out your only decent bet was taking a light machine gun with a large magazine. The developers have fixed this issue and you can finally scavenge the clip from a dropped weapon, giving you better chances on the frontline.

Another new feature is character customization. You can build your insurgent and security officer like you want to with various clothing and options. This is purely aesthetical and, while some colors will aid you with camouflaging in PVP, against AI, it isn’t really necessary. It is in your best interest to distinguish yourself from the other team, since friendly fire is fully active and blowing your teammate’s head off with a sniper because he looks like a terrorist can happen quite often.

There are three modes for you to choose from. Co-op will put you in a team of soldiers against an opposing A.I. controlled team. You can play on either side and you must clear checkpoints to win. The objective can either be hold and defend or destroy. If you want to pit your skills against human players, this can be done in PVP or ranked.

A downside to all the realism is that, while there are many customizable guns to have fun with, the maps are very limited. If you play the game for quite some time, you will discover what setup works best for you. Because some classes have very limited slots, it is best to become proficient in a few. Luckily most classes overlap each other in terms of weapons as most guns can be equipped with drum magazines to give you a support setup and some allow for DMRs to be brought in combat, so each team can have multiple snipers at any given time. Normally, there will be more maps added in later, at least that’s what we hope. With the addition of drivable vehicles, there are many ways that the developers can steer to large open maps and vehicular combat.


Insurgency: Sandstorm rewards the fans of the first game with a great follow-up game. Its core gameplay has remained the same with some great additions like the realistic reloading and scavenging. Graphics and sound are once again superb and it is so fun to play. The only things bringing down the score are the bugs that are still present and the lack of different maps.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (6 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Insurgency: Sandstorm - Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 6 ratings

Never give up on a dream. It might be a long nightmare, but one day it will change into a beautiful reality - MC_JP 2014

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  1. […] a while back we pre- and reviewed the latest Insurgency game called Sandstorm. Even with the high score placed upon it, the free […]

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