At long last, co-op has made its way to Interstellar Marines, the brutal and unforgiving sci-fi combat sim. Zero Point Software has dropped the first piece of content for all you grizzled veterans to get stuck into. That’s if you manage to get yourself in a server, as demand is high at the moment, and for good reason too, a tense, dark and anxious trial awaits you and three of your friends.
Titled as ‘The Nurogen Incident’, the new content drops you in a facility that has been taken over by some rouge automatons hell bent on turning you and your friends into a bloody pulp. It’s dripping in atmosphere and tension, even with the relative security of having your friends with you. There are many moments of pure blind panic as the robots move at an incredible speed and can overwhelm your party if you are not careful. It only takes a few hits to be killed and although you can be revived by your team members, there is only a small window of time that they are able to do so. Friendly fire is also active so you have to carefully place your shots, which is easier said than done when one or two bots make a bee line to a buddy.
The NeuroGen Incident is dark too. Really dark. Your flashlight will rarely be switched off whilst you crawl through vents and explore the ‘abandoned’ rooms. You’ll use it to frantically punch a hole through the gloomy darkness to locate the killing machines, whose mechanical clunking rebounds around the claustrophobic station, like an echo of Doom’s Spider Demon. It’s still relatively easy to end up being flanked by a couple of bots, even with four pairs of ears and four flashlights all working together, assuming you haven’t split up to cover more ground. Expect to spend a couple of hours playing the level, this slice of content is quite a substantial amount to get through. It’s tense, fairly long, very challenging on its hardest difficulty and good fun.
As Interstellar Marines is an Alpha, it can still feel light on content and features overall. The robots although quick, possess an almost drone-like behavior at times. They never seem to do anything but rush towards you, or bizarrely, run away and just stand somewhere motionless. Even though there are variants that are armed with a rifle, they don’t seem to possess any self-preservation and will stand and move without making any real effort to increase their chance of successfully killing you. There are also only two weapons to choose from and although the gunplay itself is still very tight, the lack of any thrown grenade or support weaponry means the options available to you tactically are severely limited. Although there are multiple routes through the mission to explore, I don’t see many wanting to return after the initial excitement fades.
Interstellar Marines is still a fun game to boot up and blast around in, its co-op mode enhances the experience further, but without the injection additional content many will start to head back into PvP after the dust settles. Zero Point do have more co-op content planned (3 campaigns), but at the moment what’s there feels like just a teaser of what might come. I hope that they continue to refine and add more to the NeuorGen Incident as well, as the foundation they have constructed is great and is begging to be fully realized.
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