First Impressions — Splitgate

This past weekend (and partway into the week), I got a chance to get my hands on a new experience known as Splitgate: Arena Warfare. Splitgate is a multiplayer first-person shooter developed by 1047 Games that combines Halo’s fast-paced gameplay and Portal’s portal mechanics to offer an FPS like no other that we’ve seen before. In the beta, we had access to the full host of guns along with a few maps to toy around with.

From my first look at the game, I was immediately blown away by just how reminiscent of Halo it was. Back in the day I was quite the Halo fan on Xbox so it was a nostalgic moment for me and immediately caught my attention. Even picking it up and playing it for the first time, I partially questioned whether I was playing a new shooter or Halo 5. This was originally a negative in my books but showed how it stood out after a few matches.

One thing that I felt was quite polished was the controls. There were those two extra buttons to worry about in order to place down both portals and at first it was a bit jarring and hard to get the hang of. After the first day though, I felt like I had gotten the hang of it which surprised me. Otherwise, the classic FPS button layout was all there and after a few quick edits I was in game and shooting.

Speaking of shooting, I feel like the way each of the guns work was very satisfying to not only experience but also to hear. The gun sounds chosen sound distinct between different guns and each one sounds beautiful while firing. On top of that, different sounds for hitting an enemy in the head and hitting them anywhere else was great and reminded me of how awesome those sounds are in games like Overwatch.

With that being said, I did have a few minor gripes with some of the weapons in the game. Most of the guns seemed somewhat balanced, and those which you could pick up felt definitely more powerful than those you started with which does make sense for a game like this. Two particular weapons though I feel could use some work to put them more in line and feel more satisfying to go against or use.

The first of those two being the pistol. I found it very odd that a lot of the time, I would rather use a pistol than my assault rifle as realistically that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The pistol is a four-shot kill from long range and a three-shot kill from medium range or any less which considering the fire rate is insane.

The second being the shotgun. For the most part the shotgun does feel balanced, being powerful but also only having eight shots before running out. It definitely felt as though it had too much range for a shotgun and I was often one shotting from longe ranges than it should’ve. Both of these should be tweaked before the game fully releases in my opinion.

Pantheon, one of the six maps available in the Splitgate beta

Moving on though, we got access to six different maps during the beta (which I’m left to assume will be the launch maps but that could be wrong). Overall, I don’t feel like I have any issues with any particular map. Each maps aesthetics felt quite unique and pleasing (my favorite for beauty being the one pictured above). The placements of the portal surfaces also fit with the design and almost complemented them nicely. Along with that, there was a large mix of enclosed spaces and open areas that allowed for long range and close range encounters. Even the weapon placements helped this by having many close ranged weapons in enclosed areas while having long-range ones up on the high ground and in long corridors. This wasn’t the case for every map though, as maps like Olympus featured the Sniper Rifle in an enclosed area. Overall though, am very pleased with the maps in the beta.

Finally, I want to talk about the three central team based modes I played in Splitgate. I got my hands on Team Deathmatch, Domination, and King of the Hill and out of those three, I found Team Deathmatch to be the one I most enjoyed by a mile. The maps there aren’t exactly built for Domination or King of the Hill as you often don’t have cover for some of the points on some maps and the maps often felt too small for the other game modes. I think some more maps that are strictly built for those gamemodes would definitely help with it.

Overall, I’d say that I’m pretty pleased with my experience of Splitgate thus far, and I’m excited to see where they take the game from here. They have a very solid foundation and if they can continue to support the game with balance updates and new content then this game could really be something quite large. They do still have a few things to work out before they come out of beta though but considering the quick balance update during the beta, I feel like they’re ready to tackle those issues effectively. Splitgate will be fully releasing on the 22nd of this month.

19 | PC Games Writer for | Twitter: @ShawnRazor