Disintegration Review: A Futuristic Motorcycle Ride (XB1)

Disintegration is set in a timeline that looks eerily similar to ours right now. Economic collapse, diseases spreading, and devastating storms are just some of the problems we face right now. In the world of Disintegration, these events led to some very questionable choices for humanity.

disintegration review xb1 cover art

Disintegration, developed by V1 interactive, is an FPS set in a futuristic world where its dystopian setting is not far from reality now. The game is set to release on June 16th, 2020, for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows.

The opening trailer hooks you early on because it talks about elements that, unfortunately, we currently live in. ‘Devastating storms, economic collapse, and rampant disease.’ Sounds familiar? Well, Disintegration tells us that it was a series of such events that led humanity to make some unnerving choices. 

Sounds like a good start to a story, but does everything else about the game compliment it? I’m afraid the answer is no. While the gameplay mechanics are fun, I’d say it’s the lack of polishing of numerous parts of the whole game that let you down.

Disintegration is available for purchase on the Microsoft Store for $49.99. This game was reviewed on Xbox One. The key was provided by Tara Bruno PR.

Disintegration - Official Story Trailer

Story – The road to redemption

As humanity is suffering from a series of disasters in one form or another, someone comes up with an idea called ‘Integration’. The process would have human brains be placed in mechanized bodies, thus freeing the human consciousness to live outside its mortal body.

As with everything on Earth, things that start off with good intentions are quickly converted into money-making and domination schemes. Integration was no different as it allowed a corporation called Rayonne to become powerful and impose its newly-found world-view of how humans are useless and must be eliminated.

Those who refuse to comply are dealt with force.

The main character of the story is Romer Shoal who used to be a celebrity when the world wasn’t killing itself. He got his fame by being good at driving a Gravcycle, the main vehicle of the game. Once these vehicles were outlawed for no apparent reason, he resorted to smuggling them and landed in the infamous jail known as the Iron Cloud.

That’s where the game begins from and in the opening sequence, we see Romer and a bunch of other convicts escape in a rather lackluster jailbreak. They unite after escaping and while seeking shelter, come across this wise, old man (called Waggoner) who offers them to join his crew and take down the Rayonne forces.

The wise commander of our little crew

The wise commander of our little crew

His name is Waggoner and he essentially acts as our commander. He’s still a human who refused to get turned into a machine and wants a world where he can live freely as he is.

The story is bleak

Now that we have covered the basic gist of the story, let’s get on to what I feel is missing from it.

There is almost zero character development. I’ve played about 7 missions and haven’t gotten much about the past life of anyone, including Romer. What do they miss about the past life so much that they want to fight to the death for it? We see no mention of anything that our small crew holds so dearly to them.

Romer was just a TV celebrity. Did he love his work? Was he inspired to do something with his fame? All we know is he’s a good Gravcycle pilot. The rest of the crew hasn’t mentioned anything about themselves that would make you care even slightly for them.

Now onto the Rayonee forces. What exactly are they trying to achieve here? Why are they so bent on destroying human history and all its remains? What ultimate goal are they going for? After spending about 8 hours with the game, I have no answers to any of the above questions.

the jail we escape from

the jail we escape from

The game hasn’t given me a reason to care about any of the characters or the story. The last mission I played gave no meaningful impact on the story and I doubt it’s going to get better. If everything is going to get cleared up in the very last moments, then I won’t consider it a good story.

Gameplay – Too simple

One of the things I tend to focus a lot in games is their control scheme. Sometimes, game controls can get overly complicated while missing out on the element of fun. Disintegration gets this right and offers a very basic control scheme that you can get used to just after the training mission.

Because the game advertised RTS elements, I was skeptical of how they would make it work on a console. Would there be multiple complicated keybindings to control units? What about their abilities? How much micromanagement would be there?

How it’s meant to be played

You will fly in the Gravcycle in every mission and utilize your crew to deal effective damage. Going in alone, especially on higher difficulties, will get you killed every single time. You have to stay on the backend and control your crew effectively to eliminate enemies.

The Gravcycle has its own set of weapons but in large groups they are ineffective. You have to play as the commander of a unit, not a lone wolf. When the crew starts taking damage, it’s your job to guide them to safety and heal them.

Through the training and the first 2 missions, I thought that I would always have the ability to heal as my secondary weapon. In the next mission, my healing ability was not present and I was surprised I didn’t have a choice in that. If I got into sticky situations, either my crew or I would be constantly dying.

There are health pickups available by killing certain enemies and finding healing units on the ground. But it was just confusing when the ability to heal was taken away from me without a warning.

Gravcycle controls

Throughout the game, we control a Gravcycle in every mission that we can’t get off. Its controls are super-simple to get used to and are entertaining.

Rocket-fitted gravcycle

Rocket-fitted gravcycle

You control your altitude with LT and LB. Fire with RT and control your orientation with the thumbsticks. Press A for a quick boost to help in positioning, use X to reload, Y to change weapons, and B for the scanner.

The scanner helps you in identifying enemies and objects of interest from afar. Sometimes you have to open the scanner first to make your team interact with certain objects, which you learn to live with.

Weapons are honestly weird here. The game will randomly give you different weapons throughout the missions and you have no say in them. Both primary and secondary weapons are chosen for you for each mission and that sucks. 

My primary weapons would switch from mediocre pistols to shotguns, rifles, sticky grenade launchers, and rockets. My secondary weapons would switch from healing abilities to random other weapons.

This would happen without any real reason and it was not fun.

Crew control

Turns out they handled it pretty well. The units in your crew are fairly intelligent and can hold their own even if you don’t seem to understand what the best strategy is. Each unit has its own special abilities that you trigger with the D-pad which can range from support to outright devastating damage.

They are quick to follow you into battle. You can give them orders to go somewhere specific by simply pointing there and pressing RB.

just some robots trying to kill us

just some robots trying to kill us

It does get a little problematic at times as I was unable to make them engage the enemy forces while maintaining decent cover for them. They would jump out and attack all the time, but they were still dealing good damage and weren’t dying all the time.

Zero risk

The crew is also disposable. If a crew member gets killed, you simply have to hover close to them and pick up their remains. You have a 30-second window to do that and once you’ve picked them up, they respawn about 5 seconds later. They have lower health and their abilities are on cooldown, but otherwise, there is literally no consequence to them dying.

This element of the game makes you not think about risk. This is also another reason you don’t view your crew with emotion, they’re just pawns.

You will also see in the main menu that your crew members have certain classes. But since you can’t control your units individually, what’s the point of having classes if they will always attack together without any strategy? If my Warrior and Tank will attack first based solely on who is nearer to the enemy, I don’t see the point to it.

One of the biggest enemies in the game

One of the biggest enemies in the game

Also, like the weapons, you don’t get to choose your crew for any mission. They’re just given to you and that further eliminates the need for classes. If I can’t make up my strategy, why give me the illusion of choice? 

Pre-mission areas

Before every mission, you have the chance to explore this big area. The only thing you can do in this section is to interact with some of your crew and hear them talk, which is again, nothing meaningful. It’s random talk that doesn’t add anything to the game.

The only other thing that can happen is them giving you a secondary objective to fulfill in the next mission. Those objectives are rather simple and boring. The only drawback of not completing them is not getting chips for upgrades that we will discuss later on.

How big these areas feel

How big these areas feel

Other than these two things, nothing happens in the pre-mission areas and that’s a bummer. Each such area has a very open ground that you can explore but you get nothing from it. These areas could’ve been done away by adding the optional objectives to the main menu before each mission.

Level design

The levels are extremely linear and you mostly just keep moving forward while gunning down enemies and gathering Salvage, which you use to level your crew up. The levels aren’t very difficult, but there are some sections that suddenly start overpowering you and it can get irritating getting past them.

Checkpoints exist in a healthy amount, but sometimes you might find yourself stuck in a long battle and really in need of one. It’s rare, but noticeable when it happens.

There are health packs and stashes filled with Salvage and Upgrade Chips scattered across the map. Most can be found by using the Scanner regularly.

He's big

He’s big

On the plus side, the environments keep changing. You won’t feel like you’re playing the same level over and over again. You will have open areas and some very confined spaces too. Each level at least feels different.

Upgrades and Leveling up

There are two elements to progression: Salvage and Upgrade Chips.

The progression system is super-simple. You kill enemies to collect Salvage and also find it in many different areas on the map. Using Salvage, you can level up your crew which allows them to install more Upgrade Chips. 

Upgrade Chips are pretty standard as they simply give your basic stats more percentages. The stats include durability, damage, special ability, etc.

Upgrade Chips can be found around the map and be gained through completing side objectives.

Performance

Playing on a console means that you shouldn’t be surprised when a game is locked at 30 FPS. While the game manages to maintain a standard 30 FPS throughout the levels, there will be some large-scale battles that will chip at the performance.

the kind of cover I wish they took

the kind of cover I wish they took

This can get annoying as sometimes you need quick movements and targeting to effectively deal with enemies.

I’ve not had the chance to play the PC version, but I hope it handles enormous battles better.

Multiplayer

I was unable to find a match in any game mode before the official release, hence I’m unable to comment on that experience. 

Graphics and Audio – Can’t get more basic

The in-game cutscenes look rather good, but the actual gameplay suffers a lot. The graphics don’t look like anything special and some of the explosion effects are truly disappointing. It does not like a game developed for current-gen consoles, at all.

That could’ve been ignored if there weren’t so many subtle issues with the game. When you see so much wrong with it, you can’t help but nitpick more things than necessary.

the audio is pretty standard for a sci-fi game and there were no moments which I remembered just because of the music. The audio didn’t help in making or breaking the game one bit.

Not very fun to deal with

Not very fun to deal with

This game was reviewed on Xbox One. The key was provided by Tara Bruno PR.

Summary
The idea of fighting on a futuristic motorcycle seemed fun in the beginning, but there just wasn't much else going on with the game to keep you hooked to it for long. The story seems forced and the characters seem like random NPCs who you don't care about. The gameplay elements like the crew are not fully utilized and it feels like they just left it in between to focus on other things. If all of this is taken care of, I wouldn't mind trying Disintegration 2, if it ever comes out.
Good
  • Killing enemies in a flying motorcycle is fun
  • controls are super easy to get used to
  • Progression system is simple and effective
  • Combat is engaging when you're not thinking about the other issues
Bad
  • The story is forced
  • Characters have no personality
  • performance issues
  • Gameplay mechanics heavily unused
  • Poor graphics
5
Average

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Carl Jones

What a bummer! I was intrigued by this game and am sorry to see that it didn’t hold up.

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