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Hands on preview: Disintegration Beta - Birds eye view

Published: 21:23, 25 February 2020
V1 Interactive
Key art for Disintegration.
Destiny is calling... I mean, literally, they want their helmet back.

Disintegration is an intriguing mash up of genres, with a pinch of Destiny's visual palette sprinkled into a real time strategy game meets hardcore shooter. The fact that it somehow manages to pull together these disparate strands into a cohesive whole is quite a feat.

If you've been longing for a more tactical flavour to your multiplayer experiences, developer V1 Interactive are doing their level best with Disintegration to fill that void. There's a melding of elements across the board here, with simplified, contextual command prompts that are clearly designed around the key mapping limitations of controllers. 

At the same time, Disintegration's strategic core hasn't been sacrificed in favour of catering for console hardware; if anything, there's a renewed focus on positioning your troops and deploying your skills at just the right moment. 

If it feels like Halo and Command and Conquer had a bizarre love child, you wouldn't be far off the mark. You control a glider of sorts, that issues directives to your boots on the ground (Oh hey Activision!) while you attempt to secure territory or eliminate targets of interest. The multiplayer technical beta granted access to a limited suite of competitive options, with an attack and defend style mode leading the charge. 

In terms of rule set, there isn't much breaking the mould, but it definitely provided ample opportunity to put the mechanics to work.

You're not just a benevolent camera perspective; you're commanding troops while still being very much a part of the action. Dividing your fire between opposing units and rival command gliders will dominate your strategy, but you also have to manage ability cooldowns and the push and pull of each encounter. 

V1 Interactive Commanding your squad in Disintegration Explosions! Mechs! Abilities! Is it Titanfall 3? Unfortunately, no.

Although the overall premise feels fresh, there's work to be done with the combat. The gliders feel too much like bullet sponges, absorbing damage until they inevitably combust. Engaging with them doesn't feel very satisfying, as most clashes devolve into strafing left and right and holding down primary fire. 

Friendly units also have a tendency to expose themselves at the least opportune moments, and despite repeated nudges into more secure positioning, will default to offensive manoeuvres more often than required.

There's no glaring issues with balance, and the various abilities (including a nifty time dilation field) compliment each other well enough. But there is a persistent feeling of disconnect from the action, as you either forget about your loyal compatriots and forge on ahead regardless, or find yourself engaged in a firefight that lacks impact. 

Whether this can be remedied by upgraded A.I behaviour, beefed up sound design, harsher damage penalties, or a combination of all the above, remains to be seen. But there can be no denying that Disintegration should be lauded for daring to try something new, putting an interesting spin on a genre mash up. We can't wait to see how this one turns out.

V1 Interactive Preparing for battle in Disintegration. Whoever said Orange isn't a threatening colour can go suck a... fruit.

Disintegration launches in 2020, for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. 

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