Portals and guns. Need I say more? Well, yes actually. Splitgate: Arena Warfare is a first-person arena shooter that allows players to open portals on specific tiles around the map. Players can walk or shoot through portals as well as go through portals set by other people, though only the player can see through their own portal. The game offers a ranked mode as well as a server browser mode where players can set up their own lobbies and modify various things like map, mode, weapons, speed, health, and so on. Weapons, character, and portals can also be customized with various skins. So the ultimate question that remains is whether this game will become the next Overwatch, or if it will end up like Lawbreakers.
A lot of developers like to talk about how this one mechanic will revolutionize the genre, but that mechanic usually ends up being a little neat feature nobody cares about. The portals in this game, however, are a game changer. At this game’s core (arena shooter with portals), the game works well and stands out from the crowd. While it takes a bit of time to get used to throwing down portals tactically, portals open up a whole new avenue of strategy. Flanking takes a whole new meaning in this game when you can throw a portal at an area where enemies are at and either go through the portal or shoot through the portal. I even found them as an effective way of escape in a mode about holding onto a ball for as long as possible. Honestly, I kind of think of portals as the enemy because of how effective and unpredictable they are, and I love it. Portals in an arena shooter works surprisingly well, and the way they are built in this game offers a whole new level of strategy I didn’t think would come with this game.
Outside of this surprising duo, however, isn’t much else. This comes down to preference, but this is a pretty bare-bones arena shooter. Personally, I prefer multiplayer shooters with more progression and RPG mechanics, but I can still love and enjoy games that don’t really have that. Unfortunately, I am not really in love with this game. It feels like the developers spent all of their time with the portals, then threw a really basic arena shooter together at the last second. Everything feels and looks like it was bought from an assets store. Even the maps, though visually distinct and with the added touch of portal areas, feel like basic cookie-cutter arena maps. Everything has a low budget sci-fi game feel and look to it, and it ultimately drags down the game.
This level of basic isn’t just with looks though. This game has very little to offer as it stands. The weapons in the game are as basic as they come, only six maps are offered as of now, and there is nothing to works towards other than a rank for ranked matches. There even seems to be some sort of cosmetic dropping system, but a lot of stuff is already offered and none of it is all that exciting. One thing it does offer are replays, and watching those and seeing highlights can be found. This game also has bots, which I always look for in a multiplayer game. When it comes down to it, I found myself done with this game pretty early on, and playing it for playing its sake.
One last thing worth noting is the speed of the game. I have always known arena shooters to be at a breakneck speed, which this game is not. I don’t feel like I am going at the speed in which a portal arena shooter speed should be at. The bot matches I play and some of the custom servers online fix this issue by increasing the speed, but ranked play is at a slow pace. With the weapons, map, and core concept, I don’t see any reason to slow down the game that much.
In conclusion, I think Splitgate is a game with a fantastic premise, and nothing else to offer. It is a game you try to bring friends on board and have fun with, but even you have to admit the fact that it still isn’t as fun as the first time around with Overwatch. While I think watching this game competitively could be a lot of fun, I don’t think this game is going to have much of a following. Maybe this game will take off, but I think it is going to rest in a grave with the rest of them.