Disintegration Review

Matt Lorrigan

During the first few missions of Disintegration’s campaign, gunning down foes with your gravcycle’s onboard weaponry while also trying to command your troops can often feel like trying to pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time. It’s all too easy to get hyper-focused on one action while neglecting the other, and keeping track of your health, your units’ health, the cooldowns on their abilities, while taking down enemy units, can be a little overwhelming at first. However, once it does begin to click, Disintegration offers a gameplay experience unlike much else on the market.

The game is set in a near-future world that has seen humanity develop a process known as integration, which allows people to transfer their brains into robotic suits as a response to widespread disease and climate change. This all sounds lovely and convenient, but a group known as the Rayonne decided that this is the next step in humanity’s evolution, and began forcefully converting humans, whether they wanted to or not, complete with forceful indoctrination. Think Doctor Who’s cybermen, but less goofy-looking and with glowing red eyes.

Playing as Romer Shoal, ex-gravcycle pilot and impromptu leader of a group of outlaws, it’s these ‘red-eyes’ that you’ll be facing off against over the course of the Disintegration’s missions. It’s an interesting setup for sure, and asks some pertinent question, but the storytelling can be slightly haphazard. Each mission is prefaced by a nice looking cutscene, and the small cast of characters are well-written and voiced, so you’ll come to love each of them by the time the credits roll. But it can feel at times like the game is so busy trying to establish the new world that V1 Interactive has created, throwing out acronyms and terminology at such a pace, that the smaller motivations driving you and your team can be lost. As much as I tried to work out exactly why I was meant to be taking on the next mission, I frequently ended up heading out with my squad despite not truly understanding where we were going, or why.

The good news is that the game plays well, and once you’re in a mission, you’ll be far too busy getting stuck into combat to worry about the minutiae. You’ll have three major tools available as you play the game - your weapons, your units, and your scan ability. This is where you’ll find the flow of Disintegration’s gameplay - scanning the area for salvage, health-regenerating machinery and explosive scenery, before commanding your units to unleash one of their special abilities, then getting stuck-in yourself with your gravcycle’s weapons. For a game that isn’t solely focused on being an FPS, Disintegration’s shooting is remarkably polished. Each of the game’s dozen or so missions throws you in headfirst with a different selection of weapons, and everyone of them is distinctly satisfying to use. From the *thunk thunk thunk* of a grenade launcher, to the rattle of a spinning minigun, there’s a real triple-A polish to the weaponry in this self-proclaimed double-A game.

Because of the lovely gunplay, it can feel tempting to play the game entirely as a first-person shooter, leaving your team of three or four units to auto-fire on nearby enemies and fend for themselves, but doing this will lead to a mission failure more often than not. Instead, you’ll want to combine your onboard weaponry with the selection of abilities your units bring into battle. A stun grenade can stop the red-eyes in their tracks, as well as increasing the damage dealt to them, while a time-slowing sphere will put your enemies into slow-motion, opening them up for attack or keeping them occupied while your focus is elsewhere. Each ability has a cooldown, and combining them in the right ways is essential to your success, because Disintegration is about more than just taking down all enemy units.

Its real time strategy roots are still clear to see, and in the heat of battle you’re constantly asked to prioritise to survive. Do I need to take out the tanky Rhino that is dealing major damage to my units, or do I focus on the snipers that are taking huge chunks out of my gravcycle’s health? Should I take down the enormous ground-based Thunderhead and stop its barrage of rockets, or can I avoid them and instead concentrate on the enemy gravcycles needling me from the sky? In its best missions, Disintegration is an assault on the senses, leaving you little time to think as you improvise and strategize on the fly, and coming out of a large battle by the skin of your teeth is immensely satisfying. The quiet reprieves between missions, where the music stops and you’re left to walk around and talk to your squad, are appreciated all the more because of the electric pace of the combat.

It would be picturesque if it wasn't a war torn battlefield.

Not every mission lives up to the standard that Disintegration sets when it is at its best, though, and I found myself hitting some big difficulty spikes in a few of them. As you might expect, kicking the bucket on one section seven times in a row after not dying in the previous two hours breaks the flow somewhat. There are a few other problems as well - in some missions you’re kitted out with health regenerating items, but if you’re not, you have to rely on health supply boxes around the map. If you hit a particularly difficult fight and use up your limited supply, then you’re stuck until you find another. On more than one occasion this led to me running from a battle, back to the beginning of the map to use the one remaining health box that I hadn’t used. This is not only frustrating but a massive immersion-breaker. The game is crying out for a mini-map, too, especially when things get hectic. It’s fairly standard in both FPS and RTS games, and it just feels plain weird not to have one here.

Once the campaign is finished, and you’ve completed all the extra challenges in each mission, multiplayer is where you’ll be spending the rest of your time. Much like the singleplayer mode, it offers something a little different to most other shooters, and although it focuses less on unit command than it does shooting, there is a lot of fun to be had. You can pick from one of nine classes to play as, each with different weaponry and ground units available, and finding a good squad balance of healers and damage dealers, long and short range, will almost certainly lead your team to victory. The game modes and maps are a little limited, and even after launch it can sometimes be difficult to find a game in a reasonable time, but once you’re in a match you’ll find tense firefights and last second wins (or losses) aplenty.

Disintegration tries to create something new out of two familiar genres, and while at first it can seem as though it’s merely a shooter with tacked-on strategy elements, in the end it does succeed in creating a distinct and satisfying gameplay experience. The storytelling is a little slight, and the campaign doesn’t really hit its stride until the latter half, but the moment-to-moment flow of combat is strong enough that it will see you through the ten hour campaign. Multiplayer offers fun distraction with some cool ideas and potential, and for a budget price, Disintegration is definitely worth your time.


Disintegration blends together FPS and RTS elements to create a satisfying gameplay experience, with weapons that feel great to use and battles that will have you constantly on your toes. Campaign missions can be hit-or-miss and the game's storytelling is a little slight, but an enjoyable multiplayer mode will keep you playing once the credits have rolled.

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Voice acting is good across the board, and the weaponry sounds wonderfully punchy, but musically there's not much here that will stay with you once you stop playing.


Disintegration offers some nice vistas and even nicer explosions. Environments all look good from up on your gravcycle, but a small number of enemy designs and assets means locations can blend together a bit, and it lacks a bit of a triple-A finish.


Gunning down enemy robots while commanding your troops in the heat of battle can take a bit of time to get used to, but feels immensely satisfying once it begins to click. The lack of a mini-map can make it difficult to work out exactly what's going on when things get really hectic, but in its best moments it's a joy to play.


Disintegration's story asks a lot of big questions, but sometimes gets lost along the way. The campaign will see you through a good 8-10 hours, and while the multiplayer mode is a bit thin on modes and maps, it offers an enjoyable experience that's different to other online games. 


A really nice list that will have you scouring every story mission to find all of the collectibles and complete the three additional challenges in each. There are a couple of multiplayer achievements, but they won't take you longer than 30 minutes to complete. 

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