The British Are Coming (To Squad) And Other Developments

 

Now for something we’ve all been waiting patiently for! Okay, okay… maybe a massive bit of hyperbole there on my part, but to me the exaggeration is closer to the reality of how I feel about this.

Squad fans, especially those from the British Isles are excited after having been given more of a look at the upcoming addition to the conventional armies of the game. Something that has been in the works since the Kickstarter campaign first began back in 2015. Today I’m going to take a look at what is in store for us fans and what we can expect from the British army faction. I have to say it’s seeming very good to me indeed and it looks like the team of developers from Offworld Industries have been having some fun along the way;

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Alongside the new addition of the British army I’m going to check out a few of the other upcoming updates due this year, that I haven’t yet touched upon. As well as a couple of thoughts and suggestions my pals and I have had on what changes we might like to see implemented.

 

 

The British Army

Okay … yes of course I am biased but the British army coming to squad is a big deal. I now get to play around with the kit and weaponry that the army of my country uses, as well as some of their pretty cool looking vehicles! Despite my obvious bias, it has to be admitted that objectively this is going to be good for the game all round in adding more diversity to it.
Check out this sneak peek at the funky looking British army truck;

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Here’s a little preview of a run-around with a British soldier, showing off the SA80 sights (I believe) and the British LSW (Light Support weapon) with its SUSAT sights, a 4×4 magnified scope which was developed by and still largely used by the British;

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The uniforms are looking spot on as does the weapons and the truck, in fact everything I’ve seen so far. They’ve done great with the models and I can’t wait to get to a grip on the look and feel of their vehicles, equipment and weaponry to see how they all handle, look and sound. As well as what their FOB builds look like, I wonder how they’ll add a British touch to them. This is the update I am most looking forward to but now let us take a look at more great updates due to come this year.

 

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More Models For Insurgent Forces

Adding more variety to the models of the insurgent faction is a very important thing to do and I’ll tell you why. This will better reflect the look of these unconventional military groups, further adding to the realism of the game through mirroring the real world. These unprofessional military units are usually more of a rag tag militia of civilians turned fighters and so have random equipment and limited uniforms, if any. This will do wonders for the immersive realism in the visuals of the game and I can’t wait to see them out and about when they’re released.
Boy are we in for a treat as in my opinion the models are looking pretty tasty and capture the authentic middle-eastern militant aesthetic chic, if you will;

 

 

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Insurgent 5

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As you can see from these pictures there is some nice variety that captures the truth of the forces much more distinctly. They truly look like the casual civilians turned fighters that a great many on the battlefields of today are in that sphere of conflict, swept up into the wars that have enveloped their nations.

 

 

Up-armoured Technicals

Another update for the insurgents this time with regards to vehicle types, with the adding of makeshift up armouring on some Technicals. This emulates the grim reality of the real world conflicts in the Middle-East, as these feature heavily in the arsenal of jihadist and rebel groups, using whatever engineering knowledge, equipment and scrap metal at their disposal to make their weaker vehicles stronger. Resulting in some mad max style post-apocalyptic looking armoured get ups. Allowing their vehicles to withstand more punishment as well as ensuring their VBIEDs (vehicle borne improvised explosive devices) get closer to the kill zone and in so doing, making them miles more effective.

 

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Here are some pretty tame and rational looking versions, but these vehicle creations that were spawned out of war necessity range on a spectrum of pretty well done as above, to just plain bizarre. Here let me illustrate that end for you;

 

 

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Seems more Star Wars than our wars don’t it?! So what are the developers of Squad offering for our insurgents’ vehicular arsenal? Let’s take a look and find out!

 

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Technical 2

 

Pretty dead on and true to life looking, these vehicles will operate differently to how the less armoured bog standard techies work at the moment. Instead of being fast and unable to take much punishment, more suited for fast drop offs, careful support and extractions. These uparmoured versions will trade speed and handling for the ability to take more punishment. Making them much better for sustained support and perhaps even challenging the better armed and armoured conventional faction vehicles. That is … if you get the drop on them or drop in on them with an IED attached ready to blow.

 

 

Guided Missile Systems

Squad is getting its first guided missile systems introduced this year, in the form of the BGM-71 TIW, complete with a long distance magnification sight. It will be a bane for vehicle drivers but a much needed defence for infantry that will find them very useful on American FOBs, as the US are the faction these will belong to. All too often one vehicle can bring a badly or even well placed FOB to its knees even with anti-tank infantry, so perhaps these will give a bit more of a bite to FOBs under fire from vehicles. They can fire over a very large distance very accurately, can’t wait to see them flying through the air taking out the Russian 30mm BTRs. They’ve been destroying me recently and I am still holding grudges.

 

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Here’s a Gif of what the optics look like and how it fires;

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Heavy Machine Gun And SPG Optics

Both conventional factions are getting kitted out with better optics for their heavy machine gun classes. The US M2A1 Browning will get an M145 ACOG scope optic;

 

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And the Russian NSV will get an SPP optic for their heavy support weapon;

 

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Now I absolutely love ‘laying down some hate’ with these high round capacity fast firing killing machines, they’re great for suppressing enemies who are attacking or those your squad are attacking. It’s a versatile support weapon and now with optics will become even more effective and accurate as it can be hard shooting with iron sights beyond mid-range. Especially if you’re as awful as spotting enemies as I am, that’s why I always favour optics and am looking forward to getting a go with them as I spray hot lead to better effect.
As well as the heavy MGs getting optics, the SPG is going to get a new optic that will make it much more accurate and easier to use at range. Something I find will be welcomed since your first shot must count, with the length of time it takes to reload and all. Now you can judge range and target better giving you more chance of getting that first shot on. Check out how the optics look and what looking down the sight looks like below;

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Realistic Armour Thickness

Another update for the realms of realism – relative vehicle armour thickness and how well it would withstand being hit by munitions. Meaning vehicle drivers will have to consider what areas are exposed and be mindful of enemy movements in efforts to reach a clear shot of their weak spots.

 

wastefulshockedasianpiedstarling-size_restrictedfantasticmajesticarcticfox-size_restrictedConversely anti-tank classes will need to be wary of where they’re hitting the target for maximum efficiency. A nice touch bringing more aspects of MilSim realism and tactics into play.

 

New Maps And Updates

It’s clear that Offworld must be perfectionists or at the very least care about their game and its fans enough to constantly be improving and updating things. I like this, as they stated in their press release ‘with a new year comes a new year of mapping!’ To those who play the same map rotation over and over again and possibly getting a little tired of them this will be a god send.

The map Kohat is being expanded to improve areas that are empty and providing more variety alongside more capture points. The most exciting addition I think is the proof that the plan to add helicopters is coming closer to fruition! A new US army FOB is going to be put in …. complete with HELICOPTER LANDING PADS!!!! Get in.

 

Kohat

A number of other maps are being expanded and retrofitted in areas, adding more in buildings and ruins as well as new roads to make vehicles more utilisable and able to move quickly with more options. A new map known as Kamdesh Highlands is also in development with the subject matter being a rugged area of Afghanistan featuring lush pine forests and hilly terrain perfect for ambushes.

 

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  There is also some news on what has been a project in the pipeline for quite some time, the map Fallujah. They are moving on to the second phase of creating the city working on large buildings that will reside in the city centre. Looking to be ready by the end of the year, so check for monthly updates. The layout below shows it’s a pretty urban map, with heavily built up areas.

 

 

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Thoughts And Suggestions

Sometimes my buddies and I like to play in smaller tight knit squads and not have to deal with the hassle of leading a full squad of random people who often don’t listen or are back seat squad leaders. We got to thinking perhaps there should be a number of different squad types and set ups. Say a dedicated 4 person Anti-Tank team or perhaps a 6 person vehicle squad with drivers, gunners and support infantry for two vehicles. Just an idea that might add a little bit more flexibility in what type of squad you can play as effectively with smaller numbers.  I don’t know what people think about this one, if you have any thoughts feel free to leave a comment.

Another thought was more randomised patterns and variants in capture point progression in already existing maps, this would keep them fresher and give a different playing experience with each different layout. Not a massive issue and seems to be something that the mapping team are constantly working on as noted above. However just a thought that would keep older maps feeling newer without having to develop or build too much, less work but with similar effects to tide us heavy players over between expansions and new maps.

 

 

Clearly Squad is an ever developing game that does justice in capturing the look and simulated experience of some of the biggest contemporary theatres of war. It really aims to be authentic with enthusiasm and zeal and just looking at what they have planned, they’re hitting the mark. I’m just so eager to see what else they’ve got envisaged for this game and its future with every announced update, I can’t wait for the next, despite the game being great as is Offworld Industries just keep making it better.

SCUM To Look Out For – An Upcoming Survival Game Looking To Change The Genre

 

SCUM is an early access open world PC survival game due to be released in 2018. Set in a reality TV gameshows’ second season, broadcast by fictional and questionable entertainment channel TEC1. The questionable part being, that in this gameshow – the locked up must throw down for the pleasure of a greedy capitalist society run by corporations, as TEC1 fight for their ratings and corporate sponsors.

In a dystopian profit driven society where inmates die for peoples’ enjoyment, you take control of a convict who is thrown into this gladiatorial style event, versus enemy players as well as hostile AI controlled by the TV network through BCU implants. Implants that can reanimate unfortunate runner ups turning them into mind controlled zombies. It is a fight to the death for your freedom, exploring the islands of the archipelago along the way, making alliances and using resources to survive. As the games tagline says;

‘Your life sentence is about to become your 15 minutes of fame.’

Although this type of scenario has been broached upon before in other games such as the culling, I think there is so much more potential in it, especially with the survival genre. And it seems like Croatian developers Croteam feel the same, as they are picking up the torch to make a survival game with much more to it – just check out this trailer!



 

This is why I think SCUM will be one to look out for and why I’m deciding to support it during early access. I’m going to take a closer look at some of the reasons that convinced me.

 

Backstory

If you check updates from the developers, you will have seen that the story elements surrounding this game appears to be quite important to them. They’re looking to create a world that is truly driven in all senses, giving it a setting and lore and so  making it much more multi-dimensional. This is something I think will stand it in good stead as a survival game, as there is more to it than simply kill, survive and loot.

It feels as if there will be potentially more going on with the game because of it, secrets to discover, an unfolding story with more heart and depth put into it. Something that most all popular multiplayer survival games fail to achieve, a good story that actually impacts on the game experience itself. It is set to be a hybrid sandbox survival game with ‘higher goals incorporated’ as the developers put it. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see just exactly what that means for the game.

But if they are true to their word this will mean survival games as a genre might become a little less futile which I feel they are usually, even if enjoyable.

 

 


Character Building

This will be a massively important element according to the Crotean team;

‘SCUM evolves the multiplayer open world survival game with unprecedented levels of character customization, control, and progression where knowledge and skills are the ultimate weapons for long-term survival. Players will balance base level needs with knowledge-based skills to manage everything from nourishment, metabolic rate, and body mass to weapons and proficiency, combat style, and security systems hacking. Dominate the island with your skills, cunning, and strategies to achieve higher levels of game and receive powerful gifts from corporate sponsors and, if you happen to slip up and die, get resurrected by the show’s producers with all your valuable skills intact.’

Hinting at the sheer depth and scope in ambitions of this project. A survival game that is fine-tuned and honed in on developing skill and other elements of your character that are rarely touched upon in this genre. This coupled with the story itself means it will potentially make for one fun and immersive game.

But of course it takes more than that to convince me to back an early access game nowadays… well … sometimes anyways.
 

 


Unarmed Combat

Typically in survival games unarmed combat is left up to throwing random swings, backing in and out of the fight and hoping like hell. With half the skill of two animals butting heads.

Croteam have spotted this issue and are seeking to put it straighter than a well-aimed jab. They are adding something other survival games for the most part lack – the ability to block, dodge, counter and throw combos. As well as a free-camera mode and 1st person view when you enter melee combat. Meaning overall you have much more control than is usually afforded the player. Alongside this the skill level of your character effects how well you do it all.

Now combat will be so much more meaningful if you’ve yet to scavenge anything that fires projectiles.

 

 

 


Atmosphere And Map Design

I am not sure whether or not Croteam is actually an arm of the Croatian tourist board, because if they’re not they should at least be getting commission. After viewing screenshots of their map I definitely want to plan a trip there. The reason why – the 144km2 map is based around the Croatian island of Brac and from screenshots so far it looks simply stunning.

 

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Two prisoners stop for a well earned drink by this idyllic stream.
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Looks perfect for a wee fishing holiday don’t it!?!?

 

The creators have stated on their blog that they generally prefer a tense horror feel, the kind of atmosphere where you suspect anything could be lurking in the dark or round the corner. There is of course a changing day and night cycle, which will naturally effect this but they’ve also talked of having absolute silence with sound effects of lurking animals and perhaps crickets at night. This would really do it justice and I hope they pursue that option, as it is totally suited to a game where hardened criminals are roaming about an island trying to kill each other. Rather than going for atmospheric music which takes away from the true fright of the situation, as it is usually triggered  by events and gives away the element of surprise I feel.

 

 
Camouflage/ Stealth/Awareness/Tactics

In this game the sounds you make and being sighted will not be the sole way you can be detected, your player has a scent. That’s right, if you don’t wash regularly by taking dips in water then developers have stated you’ll have to ‘check…which way the wind is blowing!’ I love this fact and if this is an element in gameplay then it shows just how far they want to take this genre of game into the next generation and towards realism and player immersion.

But how have they developed the more traditional aspects of stealth, camouflage and awareness? Check out this video showing off how well the camos actually function;


With awareness and a system developers call, tactics they are seeking to level the playing field where it comes to unfair 3rd person exploits, whilst still keeping it in the game. This is where awareness comes in, your characters awareness level will allow you to track another players position once spotted for a limited period of time, depending on how high your skill is. Meaning you will not be able to see someone you wouldn’t be able to see beyond an obstacle in real life whilst in 3rd person until you can physically make eye contact on with them. Put simply, what you will render in 3rd person mode is only what you would see in 1st person. This video will show you exactly what the developers are going for as it’s a little difficult to put into words and do it the justice it deserves;

Now a lot of comments online have been complaining about how this is essentially a wall hack perk for advanced players with higher skills, seeming it would be an unfair advantage over n00bs that are new to the game. I too am slightly worried as the longevity of the most advanced levels tracking essentially means you can be tracked once out of sight for a large while, if done correctly. So much of what the developers are aiming for seems great in theory, but a lot of gamers are worried about how it will translate into practice. The developers are very good at getting back to these worries and elaborating on it, so  here’s a Q&A the developers put out to further explain what frankly needed a further explanation to put minds at ease;

I really believe this will look to alleviate unfair advantages that people have on the battlefield, levelling the playing field and bringing the fight down to skill and knowledge. Not unfair exploits.

Layers And Wetness

 As reasons you want to buy a game goes layers and wetness is a little strange, but let me digress.

Wetness in the world of SCUM is very important, from making you sick, drowning you if you’re heavily laden, as well as weighing and slowing you down through clothes absorption. There is a realistic system of clothing layers and their properties of absorbance that you must be wary of when taking a dip, sweating a lot or being rained on. Keeping dry clothes aside, having a fire ready or leaving your heavy backpack of loot on dry land are all things to think about, you cannot simply just run willy-nilly into water. Even your different body parts are split into regions that get effected differently depending on what is happening. Say only your feet layers would get wet if you walked through ankle deep water. There has to be a lot more thought going into your gameplay and surroundings and I like the idea of these factors coming into play and effecting such things as travelling to combat.


This game is looking to take the survival element so much further, with in-depth realism in all aspects of play and this includes stamina and inertia as well for realistic movement and running.

 

 


Developers


I have faith that Croteam are a team of developers that can deliver, most well known for their Serious Sam series which has become their brand and a staple of their success. As well as creating the critically acclaimed The Talos Principle. They have built their own engine known as the Serious engine and have been developing it for over 20 years. From what it seems to me with my limited research on them, they are a tight knit company that isn’t afraid to get stuck in and do the hard work to achieve success. I hope my slight assumptions will be proved a reality with SCUM and that it will be a labour of love for them, as this will ensure the same brilliance that these developers have been known for in the past.

I also like their sense of humour, which can be seen in the narrator of their videos John Dick. It also has to be said that these videos putting all their ideas on show to receive the critical eye of fans of the genre and then responding to questions and worries is very commendable. I feel it’s a good sign of their sense of duty to create something worthwhile and to put it frankly, worth the money. Which let’s face it, is becoming few and far between in this year of our lord 2018 with the gaming industry squeezing money out of players until their pips squeak.

 

 

Prisoner of My Gaming Industry Doubt

Nevertheless I am a prisoner of the rightfully earned doubt I hold in the gaming industry. Will it work, will it really be what’s promised – bottom line until it’s delivered we don’t know if they can or will deliver on the lofty goals they’ve envisaged. But I have hope and this is certainly achievable by developers of Croteans standards.

They are really gunning to step up the survival game genre taking a lot of aspects they feel have been lacking. Bringing them to the forefront, giving them depth and intertwining them in a way that means they will all matter and be influencers on gameplay for a great gaming experience.
I really hope they deliver on their ambitions and promises, as I think a lot of us would agree that these are all issues that hold back this type of game. Maybe if this game proved popular and was successful, it could really influence and develop this genre, revitalising it into a new well-deserved and in depth direction and becoming more. Or at the very least unleash an amazing new game onto the playing field.

Either way, I am looking out for this one and cannot wait to play it that’s why I dub this SCUM to look out for.

Squad V10 Overview/Review – An Indeterminable Period Of Waiting Followed By Much Enjoyment

It has been well over a month since the V10 update dropped on the 5th of February and I’ve had more than enough time to enjoy it. So it’s about bloody time I reviewed the long awaited and excitement inducing update for Squad. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game itself, don’t fear as I have a review you can check out before reading this, for those of you are, get stuck in and enjoy.

In this review I will not be covering every single aspect of the update, just the bits I consider to be the most important, interesting and exciting. To include everything would take quite a lot more pages of an already long article and I don’t think you or I would like writing or reading every little detail all that much. First off check out the trailer because it’s so damned good;


Gameplay And Meta

One of the biggest changes to the way the game is played is the fact that now you cannot utilise the flag rush meta straight off the bat in AAS game types. If one enemy is on a flag, you cannot block the capture with superior numbers without searching and destroying the single enemy. Meaning that you cannot stop the enemies’ advance dead in its track from the get go.

Even though I have always enjoyed crushing the enemy from the beginning of the game, I do feel that this is a better way of balancing things out for teams so the game can actually get started and flow, not dying a death before it has even begun. Encouraging teams to focus on the progression of the game as well as installing a proper supply chain for forward operating bases. You can still block the flag but this requires hunting and destroying all enemies, which is more likely to be a high risk gamble and waste of resources.

There has been a 3 minutes ‘staging period’ added at the beginning of matches, allowing time to spawn up, organise your squads, which vehicles you are taking and the like. However your movement is limited to the staging area of the main base until the time elapses. Graciously the developers have made it so you cannot discharge your weapons, having the foresight to know what gamers made to wait can be like and so helping to avoid griefing.


Mobility

An aspect of life that’s for the most part highly important, becomes even more so on the battlefield, what with the wanting to run away when the loud noises start and all. With V10 you can now run away even more effectively, a part of the update that is definitely applauded by heroes and cowards alike.

The addition of the ability to vault over objects and use your buddy as a boost to climb hitherto unreachable places, means taking cover and traversing the terrain has become even easier. No more being trapped behind knee high walls while the rounds kick up dust at your feet. Well, that is unless you’ve not got the stamina to carry out the mantling move.

A free look bind has been added allowing you to be even more observational on patrol with a 180 degree arc of vision. The speed and ease of entering the prone position has been made more slow and difficult, meaning goodbye to the tactic of drop shots and hello military realism. Whilst prone you can also now lean round, perfect for peeking corners, turning your whole body out and giving you a much better field of view when looking out from cover. Crouch sprinting has been implemented, meaning you can now run distances with a lower profile at the cost of speed.

Another feature that comes into play with your movement is the fact that your weapon length is now a valid factor you must take into account when near obstacles. It will be made to lower and you cannot fire, meaning that your secondary weapon pistols can often now have a bigger advantage in tight spaces, especially as a marksman with their long barrels.

All in all this update has done wonders for your mobility and has brought much more to the table, realism and gameplay wise, making getting around smoother and more tactical.

FOBs And Deployables

Now when you place a FOB radio set down, both the ammo and construction points are set to 0, owing to this, a number of the deployables have been cut in the points that it costs to place them. This has been implemented as previously they relied heavily on the points you initially started with for placement. The ammunition resource cap has been doubled to 2000, meaning FOBs can now be better defended and provide better cover and support, something that will make this feature of the game more useful and hopefully therefore more used. As all too often mortar teams are seen as pointless. Packing more of a wallop over a sustained period should make them regarded as useful as they should be. Another element which further develops the usability of mortars is the new smokescreen rounds. Which cover a large area and can last up to a minute, allowing for advances to be made.

Logistics trucks now work a bit differently, you can now decide with what you would like to fill the truck. Either construction materials, ammunition or both depending on your FOBs needs and your squad leaders’ orders. To drop supplies off you must use the number keys 1/2 or mouse scroll to select which resource you wish to drop, then hold the left mouse button to drop off. To pick up supplies you hold down the right mouse button.  Lastly logistics trucks now have the ability to load up from a FOB to take the materials elsewhere, the significance of this is that now if retreating or advancing you can salvage what’s left and redistribute it. The developers have stated there will be more development on these building aspects in the future, hinting that perhaps some FOBS could be used as supply hubs in a logistics chain.

 


An anti-aircraft emplacement has been added as a deployable for both unconventional warfare teams, a ZU-23 twin barrelled 23mm AA gun. It costs 100 ammo points to reload and is limited to one per FOB, costing 400 construction points to build. This addition is hinting that perhaps we are getting closer to the promised incorporation of helicopters which the developers have been working on since 2017. I hope they get implemented soon as I really cannot wait to play flight of the Valkyries down my mic in local chat at the nearest possible opportunity as we hover onward into battle, sorry fellow players.

 

SPG-9 emplacements and the mounted variants now have the option to choose between high explosive anti-tank or fragmentation rockets. The latter being best for hitting grouped together infantry units or those taking cover inside buildings.

The militia now have a new defensive deployable in the form of a wooden trench wall section, limited to 10 per FOB and costing 150 construction points.

FOBs are a vitally important part of gameplay and I’m enjoying seeing these developments, how they can be used and pondering on what can be added. I think it will be interesting down the line to see what other developments are being worked on and what effect they’ll have on the game itself. 

Weapons And Kit

A lot has changed in regards to weaponry, a lot of it being very minor and fiddly details that I don’t feel worthy of noting as they are none to exciting. So for this section I am going to cut it down to what I feel are the most important elements. Many of what I am going to gloss over are just points on kit changes that bring balance to the different teams as well as more true to life loadouts and damage changes.

Firstly, all animations for the equipment and weapon usage have been completely rebuilt from the ground up for V10, some nice smooth animations (when they don’t bug out.) Furthermore the way weapons handle overall has been revamped too – recoil, weapon sway and movement are all something you’ll have to get used to again, which are all effected by your current level of stamina. I do find the weapons are a lot more realistic to use now, but somehow smoother at the same time. Same can be said of the swapping between what’s in your inventory, you can now cancel your reload or equipment change to select another weapon a lot quicker. Giving you better ease of response to developing situations, which can be vital to your survival out in the field. No longer will you be stuck doing something you need to stop. Almost all weapons can now have their scopes and sights zeroed in, to help aid at different ranges, something I haven’t quite got to grips with, but I’m certain will be useful once you know what you’re doing.

Now for one of the biggest factors of new weapons and kit that has been afforded to us, machine gunners. Finally they have been equipped with bipods to allow positions to be set up and for more effective fire to be levelled against the enemy. You can deploy them on most any surface including your squad mates back if they stay still providing you a firing position, and potential meat shield. Win win for the gunner eh?  All belt fed weapons have been given visual animations of the belt diminishing as ammunition is fired through, adding a nice little touch of realism and a better visual feedback for when reload time is near. These kits are great when used in tandem with marksman or other fire support roles, having a spotter to direct fire – they are best operated from a held position providing overwatch for your squad. Equipped with 500 rounds they can sustain fire for a large amount of time. You can get a rifleman to lay sandbags to make their position elevated and slightly protected.  A brilliant plus for your squads’ tactical fighting ability this kit unlocks at 5 squad members and is limited to 4 per team, unlocking one per 10 people on your team. Giving it a nice balance I feel.

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Here’s a quick run through of the most important small noteworthy changes for brevities sake;

All the reticules bullet drop compensation indicators on scopes are finally fully functional. Coming in great handy for those long distance shots you just can’t calculate yourself. All marksman kits now have binoculars meaning they can play their role more effectively. Also binos themselves have become more effective – equipped with a proper reticule and rangefinder, which helps you indicate range by the height of the enemy at different distances. All non-scoped riflemen now get a reel of razor wire alongside their deployable sandbags, helping your squad dig in further when taking defensive positons.  The Insurgent raider kit has been given 2 drum magazines that hold 71 rounds, good for pushes and holding against a numerically superior force. Making you into bit more of a shock trooper. Insurgents now too have a grenadier kit, however it is restricted to 3 per team, better reflect their more heavy reliance on RPG weaponry in the real world.

Some lovely new changes in this sector, bringing more diversity to the game.


Vehicles

The first thing you will notice on all vehicles in V10 is that it now takes a while to enter, exit or move seats. How long it takes depends on the vehicle and type of seat you are moving to. This means that soloing vehicles is no longer as effective as it used to be, thus encouraging teamwork. Meaning vehicles take up more of your squad to operate or are less effective. Adding to the realism and overall balance of the game.

Insurgents have a new vehicle in their arsenal, a civilian coloured Ural 375D logistics truck (only in certain maps.) Both Insurgents and Militia have a MTLB variant with a ZU-23 AA gun on the back as well as a smaller PKT turret up on the front mount. A vehicle that can be operated to full effect by 3 people means that smaller vehicle squads of friends can get a lot of enjoyment out of this one.

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Me and my pals have had much fun using it so far and have found it best to be used at a distance to deal with people holed up in hilltops. It makes light work of smaller vehicles, but is vulnerable against the more heavily armed and armoured ones. Has to be said, it handles like a dream and is quite speedy, making it good for withdrawing and getting about in general. It costs 18 tickets when destroyed and only takes 6 minutes to respawn (thankfully as I absolutely love this addition.)

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Alongside the aforementioned vehicle, the Insurgents now have an Ural 375D mounted with a ZU-23 AA gun on the back which shoots high explosive rounds. It is a very vulnerable and cumbersome vehicle which is best used at a distance or for ambushes as it cannot fire directly forward. When destroyed it will cost 12 tickets and also has a 6 minute respawn timer.

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BTR-80 / BTR-82A / MT-LBM 6MA / MT-LBM 6MB / BRDM-2;
These above vehicles have now been fitted with a coaxial PKT machine gun, which is much more useful to supress and dispatch infantry threats and can be switched to in the inventory slot number 2. All vehicles mentioned above, as well as Strykers are also now equipped with smokescreens shot from launchers, you carry 2 loads worth and it’s great for beating hasty retreats or tactical advances. They are reloaded at the cost of 75 ammo points per piece. Developers have done this to ensure this feature is not abused and the map is not a constant mess of smog. Which I feel is very sensible, making them viable but not abuseable.

MT-LBM 6MB and BTR-82A;
Are now equipped with a high explosive round for their main cannon, which is good for dealing with infantry taking cover or inside buildings. But best to switch back to your armour piercing rounds to deal with vehicle threats, even though HE does deal some damage. It’s not the firepower you need for blowing up armoured vehicles.

BTR-80 and 82A;
Now come fitted with a periscope for commanders, giving an extra seat. One day this will be rolled into the driver seat to make them the vehicle commander. But for now this is a nice little asset for SLs to use as an extra set of eyes.

V10 has made vehicles much more versatile, realistic and effective and I am absolutely loving using vehicles even more now since V10 dropped. Great fun, great effect – all round good update on this front.

New Map

There have been a few changes to a few of the existing maps, mostly bug fixes or adding more variation in buildings, populating certain areas and giving them more playability. But I am going to focus on the newest addition, the snowy map of Belaya. It includes 2 AAS game versions as well as 2 different invasion game type layouts.

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This tundra is set in Eastern Europe and is a nice change from lush grasslands and deserts we’ve been hitherto used to. Giving a nice new terrain to play in, with light to heavy snowfall which really adds to the immersion, obscuring your vision somewhat and giving you the need to focus more in outside areas on patrol. My favourite part of this map is the tunnel complex of the train yard, which makes for some truly fun close quarter combat and is both fun to defend and attack. It’s quite hilly but not too mountainous, has plenty of bisecting roads for vehicles and is generally quite passable in off-road routes, depending on your vehicle of course. A beautiful addition bringing something new to the table that plays very well.

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User Interface

The main menu UI has been completely overhauled giving it a nice sleek look and making it easier to navigate. It also allows you greater access whilst joining a server with the ability to browse the menus without being dropped from the queue, so any last minute bind changes or what have you can be sorted without hindrance. Installed Mods are now viewable while in the main menu and a music player has been added, allowing you to choose through the Squad soundtrack. I’m hoping maybe we will be able to add your own playlists in the future, although there is no word on that.

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As a SL there has been some changes to your UI, vehicle claims appear on the left hand-side of your screen and you can now approve the request using a hotkey rather than fiddling around on the map. You have also been given more symbols to mark on the maps, one for ‘request pick up’ and another for ‘mine spotted’. You can now invite unassigned players into your squad if you wish to fill your ranks too though I haven’t worked out how to do that yet.

In general all weapon selection icons have been given a new and updated style, current selected weapons and equipment names are shown to you above your ammunition counter, allowing you to know what you have selected at all times. Coming in handy particularly if you have different types of rockets or grenades to switch through.

Miscellaneous

There is now some limited integration with discord, so you can see who in your channel is playing, what server, team and squad they are in. Hopefully there will be more of these little additions that are helpful. Another feature added is mod support through the steam workshop, all you modders and fans of mods out there will be delighted to hear!


Bugs And Glitches

There has been a number of existing bug fixes here are the ones that the developers have listed;

  • Fixed US Logistics Truck windows being fully bulletproof.
  • Fixed destroying certain vehicles crashing the server.
  • Fixed ammunition indicators and inventory being invisible while in a vehicle turret.
  • Fixed the “Ballerina Pose” bug that was occurring when a player dies or exits a vehicle.
  • Optimised the burn effects for vehicles and destroyed vehicles.
  • Fixed incorrect bullet casings being used on all AK74 and AKM series rifles.


Still with these bugs fixed, there are still a great great many issues. Here are a few that I have been experiencing and feel need to be addressed pronto;

Glitching through structures such as roofs when revived.You can mantle through certain windows with frames. Sometimes when you switch weapons your models hand comes off it and goes up into your face disrupting your view. Also weapon models disappearing from character which can be fixed by changing weapon sometimes.Players in vehicles sitting outside of them at some distance. Or even in the drivers lap obstructing view.

And a bug that I sadly didn’t get a clip of, where I was tilted upside down and couldn’t walk or move without spinning upside down… it was hilarious but quite disorientating and I had to be run over several times by my obliging squad mates before it corrected.

And these are just the ones I know off the top of my head. There are probably quite a few more to contend with.

All in all even with the unfixed and new issues, I absolutely love this game and they can’t detract from it – it is just enjoyable to no end. Most of the bugs are just funny but some do hamper gameplay in a number of ways as well as others being exploited to unfair advantages. Either way, they all definitely need fixing, however understand that with such a large game as Squad there are bound to be growing pains that need ironing out. Let’s just hope the ironing is done sooner rather than later.


All being said and done this update was a leap forward in the Squad experience thus far, also hinting at the course this game is taking and continuing to take, with glimpses of the future (i.e. aircraft counterparts to the AA weaponry.) It’s a course I myself will stay following closely and urge you to join if you like team based tactical shooters and large scale warfare, this is for you.