Grab your gear soldier, you just got drafted!
It’s hard to think that in the modern gaming world there is still room for a new type of first-person shooter to exist, but that’s exactly what Enlisted from Gaijin brings to the table; a whole new FPS experience.
As someone who appreciates that what makes a good FPS is grunts and guns, Enlisted will certainly appeal to the FPS purist, as it’s a nuts and bolts, no-frills hardcore shooter. Many starting weapons have one-shot kill capability.
When you join the field you have four lives – one for each of the four members of your squad. If one is shot, and you can not heal them in time, you can then switch to another member of the squad to continue. It’s only when the entire squad has been eliminated that you need to re-spawn. When you do respawn, you have to do so as a different type of squad. For example, you can start as a squad with sniper rifles, but could then have to re-spawn as a squad with submachine guns.
What sets Enlisted apart from the others is that It’s not long before you are thrown into the dynamic of the gameplay situations you will be facing. Due to the nature of the design choices of the developers, you can spend long moments seeing others around you firing, hearing more gunfire but not seeing a single soul yourself to shoot at. However, when you do it’s normally the bulk of the enemy, which if you have been strategic in your positioning will have placed you in a position to mow them down in a turkey shoot. The maps and settings the game provides are fantastic for such circumstances, as there are many routes, hiding places, and opportunities to find and then flank the enemy.
As you progress and level up, it feels like there are an almost infinite amount of ways to upgrade each squad. You can customise a solitary squad member, or completely change the entire squad, forming a different type of team altogether. This lends itself to creating an intoxicating mix of varied gameplay in each round.
As mentioned, the maps are excellent, and although it’s not clear if they are historically accurate, the wide-open expanses have plenty of places to use cover as a means to get from one objective to the next without being spotted, and not being spotted is a key element of the game. Whilst moving around the maps, one minute you may be navigating your way through foliage or open fields, before finding yourself fighting over a strategic point in a dense urban area the next. Having the right squad for the right situation is key. For example, wielding a slow loading bolt action sniper rifle in a building is tantamount to suicide, unlike the hip fire from a submachine gun in confined spaces. Equally, having a submachine gun in a vast open space is about as good as having a pea shooter if you spot an enemy.
The maps are filled with lots of points of interest, be that wreckages, undulations or emplacements, filled with colour and diversity. Using these features helps immensely with teamwork. A simple run from one point to the next via a straight line will inevitably end in death as there will be eyes all around spotting you. Sticking with your team and dashing from cover to cover a la the real tactics used in any military, ensures success.
Teams can spot for their side, which then starts to draw in the tactical element of the game and teamwork is a necessity if you want to win. You may have a lone wolf on a team piling up the kills, but if they are still allowing the enemy to capture vital objectives then no matter how many kills they get, their side will still lose. The rewards for winning also trumps any single person’s achievement. It’s all about the win baby!
To mix things up even more, there is also vehicular combat via tanks and aircraft, and anti-vehicle stationary weapons such as mounted machine guns, cannons or flak guns. The basic vehicles can of course be upgraded into beasts of the battlefield, but each team is limited to just two per team at any one point, so that creates parity for all involved and ensures that the battlefield is not swamped with vehicles. Even the most basic grunt with a basic loadout can damage or destroy vehicles too, so the dynamic of gameplay is a perfect blend of rock, paper, scissors.
Upgrading, although a little overwhelming to begin with, becomes much clearer a few hours in. As you play, you discover not only your own gameplay strengths and weaknesses but also that of your squads. You can then train and/or upgrade the teams you choose to suit your playstyle further. The further you progress into the game, the more options you have to unlock different squad types with their own different set of skills and weapons.
Finally, the game also features different locations and campaigns to follow or specifically focus on. Within each campaign will be a new set of squad teams to learn and master, alongside new locations to explore, which will draw the players in to wanting more and more. It’s very addictive! Some game modes are set out over large areas, others are claustrophobically small, so even the same game mode can play out differently dependant on the map.
With a wide range of historically accurate weapons, loadouts and divisions of squads to choose from, set across varied campaigns during World War Two that also bring various game modes, once you find your niche it will seriously start to take up your gaming time.
With so many variables and so much content to explore in vastly different settings and gameplay environments, Enlisted is the FPS breath of fresh air many FPS fans have yearned for, for years.
Note: This feature is based upon the preview build of Enlisted. When the game launches, it will feature even more weapons, locations and vehicles, alongside gameplay improvements and updates.