EARLY ACCESS REVIEW: ‘Starship Troopers: Extermination’ Offers an Immersive Experience (PC)

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Starship Troopers: Extermination

Starship Troopers: Extermination, developed by Offworld Industries, aims to deliver an action-packed and immersive experience set in the Starship Troopers universe. By blending in FPS gameplay and tower defense mechanics, the game attempts to provide a unique twist on the genre. Players will find themselves smack in the middle of the 1997 cult classic fighting an arachnid threat all in a co-op FPS experience. While the game succeeds in capturing what makes the franchise exciting and providing players with diverse playstyles in a multiplayer experience, it falls short in several areas that may cause the game to stumble in its longevity and replayability.

One of the Starship Troopers: Extermination strengths lies in its understanding of what it wants to be: a bug-slaughtering fest. It places players in intense battles against hordes of bugs, creating a satisfying and immersive experience for fans of the franchise. From the moment you’re armed with a weapon and added to the mobile infantry, players are dropped into a bug planet with 11 other players and told to go nuts. As you battle through waves of relentless bugs featuring five different types, the game rewards you with a sense of accomplishment and growth by unlocking new weapons, equipment, and perks with three unique classes.

Including three distinct classes – Assault, Bastion, and Support – adds variety and caters to different playstyles. Each class has unique abilities, allowing players to approach encounters differently, bug menace or not. Whether you prefer running and gunning, holding down defensive positions, or providing crucial support to your team, there’s a class for you. Further, the customizability of the progression system means the power the player wields in their first drop will feel drastically different throughout the leveling process, depending on their selections.

Coupled with incorporating tower defense elements into an FPS game, Starship Troopers: Extermination adds a refreshing twist, requiring strategy and coordination with teammates; for better or worse. Taking into account the people you’re playing with, the infestation level, the bug threat levels, and balancing defense classes against damage heavy, all of it comes together…or falls apart based on the rest of your squad.

The multiplayer aspects of Starship Troopers: Extermination adds to the immersion experience for the universe. The chaos of having 11 other players run around with you, some who know what is going on and others who are more experienced, truly makes it feel like the opening of the Starship Troopers film. Area voice chat and ping controls allow for easy communication on objectives that cut through all the action. The presence of friendly fire also means that players can just fire indiscriminately without seriously hurting the team. Further, with the cooperative building system and class abilities, players will always have a way to contribute, whether building or repairing structures, throwing down armor boxes, or healing teammates. Control the map, construct walls, defend towers and leave a mountain of dead bugs around you to complete the mission against incoming enemies.

While the immersion for Starship Troopers: Extermination is on point, it could also be to the game’s detriment. The lack of clear instructions upon dropping into the game can confuse players, particularly those unfamiliar with the franchise. Without prior franchise knowledge, players may struggle to understand their objectives and navigate the gameplay effectively. A more comprehensive tutorial or an improved onboarding system would greatly benefit the overall experience, as the current tutorial only focuses on the building mechanics, which leaves something to be desired in its own right.

While constructing defenses is intriguing and allows for more than just a run-and-gun experience, the controls feel clunky for players not well-versed in tower defense games. The controls are functional but lack the smoothness and intuitiveness to enhance the gameplay flow. Players who don’t invest time in the tutorial or focus on the building during gameplay may struggle to fully utilize this feature. A player doesn’t have to be a quality builder for the team to be successful. Still, some players who are unfamiliar might just avoid the mechanics altogether, given their current state. But, the game’s ping’ system works well enough to get control of the map.

Additionally, the game’s lack of map variety and repetitive objectives limit its replayability. With only one map option that is reused for different difficulties, the gameplay can quickly become monotonous. While the upgrades provide a satisfying sense of growth and the combat is relentless, the repetitive nature of the objectives and the single available map can eventually dampen the overall excitement and motivation to progress further. Introducing new maps and expanding the objective variety would greatly benefit the longevity of the experience as you work with others and your playstyle.

Overall, Starship Troopers: Extermination has the potential to be an exceptional fusion of tower defense and FPS genres. Despite falling short in accessibility for new players, clunky controls, and the dangers of repetitive gameplay, Starship Troopers: Extermination provides the kind of immersive experience fans of the franchise can expect. It propels you into the shoes of a bug-killing specialist, allowing you to customize your loadout and abilities to become the ultimate force of nature. With additional improvements to address its shortcomings and introduce more diverse content, Starship Troopers: Extermination has the potential to deliver an even more exceptional and engaging experience for Starship Troopers enthusiasts and fans of the genre.

Starship Troopers: Extermination is available on Steam for Early Access.

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