Latest posts by Chris "Zabant" Heeley (see all)
- IS Defense Review - April 13, 2016
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- Square Enix: “FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE will be told across a multi-part series” - December 7, 2015
Disclosure: the author was provided with a pre-release copy of the game by the developer for the purpose of this review
Developer: Destructive Creations
IS Defense is a first person static turret game in which players are tasked with fighting an ISIS invasion of Europe in the year 2020. Made by Destructive Creations – the developers behind the controversial overhead shooter Hatred – the game is a self-described “side project” by the developers that have also noted the game is their “personal veto against what is happening in the Middle East nowadays.” IS Defense Review
The player takes on the role of a gunner in a static turret emplacement as waves of ISIS Militants in vehicles and on-foot rush at you in hopes of ending your life. Each level has a set number of enemies to dispatch before unlocking a new battleground (three areas in total), the levels themselves are seemingly endless with the cut-off point being determined by how long you can hold off the jihadis before succumbing to either death or boredom, allowing players to compete for the highest score in an online leaderboard.
The core gameplay of IS Defense follows the blueprint of the turret shooter sub-genre to the letter, notably with the first stage being somewhat of a carbon copy remake of the classic game Beachhead 2000. If you have had any experience with this kind of gameplay before you’ll know exactly what you’re in for. In an effort to add a little spice to the tired formula; the game features a levelling system complete with skill points that are awarded in single increments at every level up, allowing you to purchase a variety of perks including regenerating health, increased stability when firing and the ability to call in powered up artillery strikes and helicopters to help you clear out each wave of enemies.
Thankfully, the required killcounts to unlock each new level persist after every session allowing you to grind out the quotas at your own pace. It took me around 15 runs at the first stage to hit the required targets, with each run becoming easier as any perk unlocked is permanent adding a feeling of progression to your little emplacement; turning it from a puny little one man dugout into a rocket-equipped death bunker dealing out thousands of rounds per minute.
In addition to the perk system the game also has a killstreak mechanic represented by a bar on the left of your screen. You can cash in your killscore for increasingly impressive levels of support with level one offering a supply drop refilling your health and rocket supply and the final tier offering an attack chopper that will clear out the entire battlefield of enemies. Knowing when or rather
when not to cash in your kills adds a much needed strategic element to the monotemous gameplay loop. I was punished a few times for being greedy and saving up for the big guns when I should have taken the health boost due to being flanked by one or two enemies directly behind my turret.
Technically the game performed well, i had no issues running this one as I was able to maintain a solid 60FPS on Ultra using a 3year old mid-tier machine. I didn’t run into any bugs or graphical glitches which was a pleasant surprise considering the performance of this studio’s previous game Hatred upon it’s launch.
So what to make of IS Defense? despite my own misgivings about this style of gameplay it’s a solid little entry for those of you that enjoy this kind of thing. The thematical setting of trying to stop an ISIS land invasion of the EU is an obviously transparent marketing strategy designed to appeal to a certain audience within the gaming community, and perhaps also to additionally garner hyperbolic headlines from the more reactionary members of the gaming press in an effort to get free publicity.
Whatever you may think about the circumstances which led to this game’s creation it’s a well-made if not unoriginal little title with a unique premise. At this point you’ll probably know if you’re on-board for another one of these types of games or not, and at a price point of $6.66 it’s not exactly a bank breaker. If you can stand to play another turret sequence in a video game, well… it’s as good as any of the countless turret shooters out there, if not slightly better. IS Defense Review