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SplitGate

SplitGate is a free-to-play Sci-Fi FPS that has been marketed as “Halo+Portal” by the developer and journalists. It’s a clear tactic attempting to gather the jaded Halo crowd around their game. The promise is of a game that has very fast, intense action that utilizes jetpacks and “Splitgate” (aka portal) guns that are attached to your arm to teleport you around arena shooter inspired maps.  Do the portals throw the game’s balance off?  Do jetpacks and sprint cause the same problems in this game that they have for titles like Halo? Does this game actually FEEL like Halo? I’ll try to answer all of this below.

 

 

Sorry for the poor quality. As of right now, I can't record without getting significant input lag so I had to use one of my replays. Just use this as reference for the replay mode

 

Sandbox:

The sandbox is clearly taken straight from Halo mainly focusing on the human weapons sandbox. This includes a pistol, assault rifle, battle rifle, shotgun, SMG, sniper, rocket launcher, and rail gun that function exactly the way they do in Halo. There’s also a plasma gun that functions a lot like Reach’s plasma repeater. All of these guns are tried and true. They work really well in this game and it compliments the game well. It’s kept very basic and that is healthy in a game that has so many mechanics. Each weapon fulfills a role and feels like it belongs within the sandbox.

 

Pistol: The pistol is a beast. It feels  a lot like the Halo 5 pistol but is as deadly, if not deadlier, than the one found in Halo CE. The ROF is intense and it kills in three shots if you get headshots. If you have a steady hand, this will be your go-to weapon. Extremely satisfying.

 

Battle Rifle: 3-round burst fire rifle, exactly like the one that’s found in the Halo titles. It’s deadlier than those found in the Halo titles though as it only takes three bursts to the head to kill rather than four. Easier to hit your shots with this rather than the pistol as well as greater magnetism at range which gives you an advantage. Feels just as satisfying as its Halo counterpart.

 

Assault Rifle:  The assault rifle plays a lot like the one found in Halo 5, including having a scoping feature and works at greater distances than its Halo counterpart. The kill time for it is a bit fast but that’s in line with the rest of the sandbox. It’s a great weapon to use as a clean-up and can punish players that aren’t as accurate as they think they are with the pistol.

 

Shotgun: It’s a shotgun. Not much to say here. It has a tiny bit more range than most Halo shotguns due to how much movement there is in the game but it’s just a shotgun. Sweet, classic, beautiful shotgun.

 

Sniper: 2-shot to body, 1-shot to head. Classic.

 

Rocket Launcher: Standard Halo rocket launcher

 

SMG: The submachine gun does not have a scope but sprays at a much faster rate than the assault rifle. This is great for modes like Domination or King of the Hill where you’re going to be fighting off multiple enemies at a time in an enclosed space.

 

Railgun: The railgun functions pretty much just like in Halo 4 and Halo 5. Takes a second to charge, you fire it, and if you get a direct hit anywhere on the body, it’s a kill. Very satisfying weapon that presents a good risk/reward mechanic to the game.

 

Plasma Gun: As stated before, this gun functions a lot more like the plasma reaper from Halo: Reach except the projects seem to be a tiny bit slower. It forces you to lead your shots a LOT and rips enemies to shreds inside of enclosed hallways.

 

All these weapons compliment each other well and none of them feel out of place. After playing for a few hours, I will find myself using all of them and you’ll find people at all skill levels utilizing them. The time to kill across the sandbox is extremely fast but it feels like it compliments the game really well. You need to always be thinking of an escape plan that you can instantly act on if you end up in an unfortunate situation.

 

 

Map Design:

The maps are designed well around the gameplay. Halo has suffered for a long time to translate its classic map design around all the new mechanics introduced and it doesn’t seem to work. This game seems to design everything, from the ground up, unapologetically, around the portals, jetpacks, and sprint. Many of the maps do have a very similar feel to maps like Sanctuary or Midship from Halo but they’re not clones by any means. Some of them are completely outside of anything you’d ever see in a Halo game but they do really well in this title.

 

Some maps have many more opportunities to use the portals more than others but in either case, they play wonderfully. The portals are only able to be created on surfaces that allow them and that gives control to the map designer where people can place them. Keeping the mechanic under control by the map designer allows for this mechanic to work well within the gameplay rather than oversaturate it. I’ll go into more details regarding the portals later, though.

 

Game Modes:

Most of the game modes have been lifted directly from Halo, including [Team] Deathmatch (Slayer), King of the Hill, Capture the Flag, Domination (Territories), and Oddball (this time with a disco ball rather than a skull). All of these game modes play really well with the game, and some (Oddball mainly), I feel, play much better in this game over Halo. Past the base gametypes, there are more options to customize your experience, like SWAT, snipers/shotguns, etc just like in Halo. This game even includes a replay mode (like Theater in the later Halo titles) which is distinctly lacking from games now.

 

One thing that I haven’t found so far is something similar to Forge. I feel like this game is absolutely begging for some user generated content and I would love to see it. Without it, I fear the game would get pretty stale. I can honestly already feel myself getting a tad bored with the modes available and I’m only 10 hours in. If they could invest in some interesting gametypes (such as grifball), I feel like it could breathe some more life into the game. The entire “for fun” side of Halo honestly seems to be missing from the title.

 

 

Matchmaking and Server Browser:

Online multiplayer is split between social matchmaking, competitive matchmaking, and a server browser.

 

Server Browser: At first, I was surprised to see the lack of people in custom games until I had the realization I mentioned at the end of the last section. There’s not much to the custom gametypes in the game so far so there isn’t really much to be found in making your own servers. Why create games in a custom lobby when you’re only going to get the exact same experience by going into matchmaking?

 

Social Matchmaking: This is where I have spent most of my time playing this game. It hosts all of the game modes previously mentioned. There’s no skill based progression in this playlist and you’re able to gather up a party to search together. You are able to gather points in this mode that counts towards your character’s leveling, which I’ll cover later on.

 

Competitive Matchmaking: Here, you’ll find your skill progression much like that in Halo 2 or Halo 3; however, it seemed to me, in the few times I attempted to play this mode, there really aren’t enough players to really fill out the ranks with appropriately ranked players to match you against. Otherwise, this game is an absolutely fantastic game for competitively play. I’ve already seen some competitive matches on their Twitch channel and it’s a blast. I really hope this game can find a following so we can see more of this.

 

 

Progression Systems:

 

Leveling: This is your typical get points each time you play, at a certain point you level up, and each time you level up, you get a reward. In this case, every time you level up, you get a lootbox. While I’m not a fan of lootboxes, there’s nothing in them that is more than cosmetic in nature. You get things like emblems, different armor pieces (cosmetic), weapon skins, and portal colors. There has to be some sort of monetization to the game and I’m glad they went this route rather than affecting the gameplay itself.

 

Ranking: As far as I can tell, this is exactly what you would expect out of a Halo game’s competitive ranking system you’d find in Halo 2 or Halo 3. The more you win, the higher your rank goes up; the more you lose, the more your rank goes down. There’s not much more to it. Always a needed feature for the competitive community in a

competitive shooter.

 

 

Portals:

The portals work like this: You get a portal that’s mapped to the Q key and a portal that’s mapped to the E key by default. You place one portal on a panel that allows portals and you place the other on another panel. Once both portals are active, you can walk through them to teleport to the other portal as well as see through the portals. Only you  can see through your own portals. Other players’ portals will either be blue (a player on your team) or red (a player on the opposing team). On enemy portals, if there’s an enemy on the otherside, the portal will pulse red. You can shoot through anyone’s portal and your crosshair will even highlight red when it is over an enemy through any portal. You are also equipped every spawn with two EMP grenades that destroy enemy portals.

 

So, are they overpowered? No. They work just like advertised and while there are certain ways to “abuse” the portals, they all work within the gameplay, are well control by map design, and you can just destroy any pesky portals placed by enemies if you conserve your EMP grenades. It adds a great layer of fun and I honestly think it was a better idea than I had first thought it would be by the developers to add to this game.

 

 

Conclusion:

If you’re a Halo fan, you should really try this game out. I hate enhanced mobility Halo titles and I still love this title. Try to give it a fair shot as its own game rather than thinking of it strictly as a Halo game. There’s a lot of fun to be had and you’re never really pressured to make any purchases in the game.

DSalimander and Tucker933 like this

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"You fix my mistakes is what you do." - Tucker
"You're useless." - Tucker 2 minutes later

"You're sort of cool in some ways." - 002

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3 minutes ago, Tucker933 said:

Helluva write-up!

 

I'd play this. Also the hit sound is nice COD4-esque.

There's a lot in this that's inspired by CoD as well. The default controls are that of CoD but it fits better for this game.


4VWJfoZ.gif

"You fix my mistakes is what you do." - Tucker
"You're useless." - Tucker 2 minutes later

"You're sort of cool in some ways." - 002

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