Early Access Preview: Interstellar Marines

Posted by: 10/23/2014

With Zero Point Software releasing the new co-op update for Interstellar Marines, I decided to load up the game and check out the new co-op with a friend. We both came away with mixed emotions, with my friend saying at one time, “there is one thing I know about Interstellar Marines: it is a video game.”

The new update adds the NeuroGen Incident which can be played either single player or with up to four players in co-op. You play as a marine that must investigate why a space station has lost all communication and power. As you start to explore the dark space station, you start getting attacked by robots that look like they are from the movie “I, Robot.”

First impressions of the game were a little mixed. The game is definitely in early access, with some standard FPS features missing, like melee, and poor optimization. Both of us experienced huge frame drops when entering new areas, and noticed some audio drops. It is understandable with the game being in early access.

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As for the actual gameplay, it was kind of fun. With the environment being dark and quiet, the sound of the robots running around really freaks you out. You are also equipped with a rather weak flashlight, so sometimes you will not notice robots until they are right behind you, giving you a nice little jump scare. They also take a few bullets to go down, so you really have to make sure that the robots are down before continuing.

We were not able to finish the co-op mission in our time playing the game. The game starts you off by powering on back up generators, then moving on to power up more computers, slowly bringing the station back online. The difficulty ramps up a bit when you move to a new area. All of a sudden the robots have guns instead of using melee attacks. It through us off guard, and we were taken down pretty easy when the robots were given guns.

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I did have a few complaints about the game. The first would be with the story. It would be nice to be given a little back story as to why the marines are on this station. Like many first-person shooters today, the story is told through audio logs. It is really hard to see these audio logs in the environment, so you miss a lot of the reason why you’re on this station. It is disappointing because the environment they have created is really neat, but it is hard learning about what happened in the station.

The other complaint that I have is gameplay related. Unlike many first-person shooters on the market, the game doesn’t automatically reload your weapon when the clip runs out. This isn’t a game breaker, but it can be kind of frustrating when you’re unloading clips into robots, and you forget you have to manually reload, and the robots take you down. When you are taken down by a robot, you can be revived by your teammate within 15 seconds. But there is no indicator on your HUD to show where a fallen teammate is, leading to players dying because they can’t be found. Between that and no automatic reload, it can make the game a bit frustrating.

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With the $19 price tag, I think I would recommend this early access game. The developers seem to have a good track record of releasing good updates for the game. If they can optimize the game a bit more to make it run smoother, and improve the storytelling elements of the game, it could be a great mid-tier first-person shooter.

PC Previews

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