Though I’m not good at first person shooters. I’m not too bad – I can keep my own in a normal playlist – but I often get choked up in a game with ratings Overwatch or Fate 2Osiris’s test. I have a lot of skill in my gaming kit, but precise aiming and lightning-fast reaction times have never been my strong points. I’m a puzzle game guy who thrives when I can take a second to think about a situation and build a smart solution.
That’s why I love Splitgate. It’s a shooter for those who can’t keep up with most competitive shooters.
Thinking with the portal
Splitgate is the first person, 1047’s free-to-play shooter The game is best described as “Halo meeting Portal(An overused descriptor is absolutely correct in this case). Everything from photography, modes and level design is inspired by games like Halo 2, making it feel like a love letter to the Bungie days of the series.
There is, however, an important twist in the formula: Portal. In Splitgate, the player can place portals on a blue surface, allowing them to travel long distances in the blink of an eye. Almost 15 years after release Portal, it’s still a cool trick that just feels more impressive in the context of a multiplayer game. There are few things more satisfying in the shooter genre right now than sniping someone across the map through a well-placed portal.
It’s not just a random gimmick placed on top of a perfectly good recipe. Portal worker Splitgate more accessible to players who don’t have enough speed to compete in games like Valuable substance. It’s not about you being able to land a perfect header but more about using spatial reasoning to defeat your enemies. It’s a rare shooter that prioritizes clever gameplay over technical skill.
Here’s a concrete example of that design philosophy. In one lap, I found myself running up a narrow corridor. When I was halfway there, an enemy rounded the corner in front of me, with one of their friends following closely behind. In any other shooter I would die in seconds. There’s no way I could have survived a two-on-one confrontation, especially given my superhuman ability to only hit the body. If I want to survive, I need a clever escape plan. It just so happens that there is a blue wall behind my approaching enemies. I quickly shot out a portal, turned around, and placed another portal on the wall right next to me. That wall has become a blind spot for my opponents. From their point of view, I ran to the back of a corner to hide like a coward.
Imagine their surprise when I popped up behind them and got an unlikely double instead.
Great example of this in action. This is a situation where normally, I would lose! Running up a narrow corridor, two enemies are about to round the corner and shoot me. Instead, I was able to not only get out of the situation, but actually reverse it completely! (feat. @JoeHasSpoken) https://t.co/mMWu4EoRI1 pic.twitter.com/yoxqIZBUnd
& mdash; Giovanni Colantonio (@MarioPrime) August 29, 2021
Change the rules
What makes that moment especially satisfying is that it changes the established genre rules I’ve known all my life. This is a shooter scenario that I’ve looked through countless times in dozens of games, and it always ends the same way. In Splitgate, it does not need to do. Any downside can turn into an advantage, and any newcomer can make a longtime in the genre look like a jerk.
In another remarkable moment, I found myself in an obnoxious stalemate against another player. We sniped each other with carbines from a distance. Whenever one of us was in low health, we would step back into a corner and wait for our health to recover. In general, I always lose in penalty shootouts like this because I rarely hit my opponent. Instead of hoping my pot shots landed, I fired a portal into the wall above my enemy, took cover, and set up a portal. I suddenly looked down at them at close range. I switched to an assault rifle and took them out before they could even look up.
Moments like these are what make Splitgate too attractive. The portal allows players to approach the shootout the same way they would solve a puzzle game like Super hot. Every encounter has a potential solution that goes beyond “aim better, shoot faster”. A crafty player can make someone “skill” higher than them using some well-placed portal. Hours of guided reading and YouTube research are not necessary to stay competitive; test is the current meta.
Like all shooters, I’m looking forward to Splitgate to be less friendly to new players as the skill ceiling goes up. I imagine that the pros will learn how to use the ports in amazingly creative ways that work against all my best-laid plans, like how FortniteThe building quickly became an exercise in futility for casual players. But for now, I’m just thrilled to play a shooter that doesn’t just reward the fastest player. Splitgate makes me feel smart in a competitive world that has destroyed my confidence for decades.
Splitgate Currently free to play on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PlayStation 4 and 5.