There are basically two different types of military shooters out there on the market these days. We have the super-arcadey types, such as the Battlefield, Counter-Strike, and Call of Duty franchises, and on the other side you have the more milsim-like titles, such as the Arma series and Escape From Tarkov.
Most gamers who play shooters typically fall into either category. However, there are also some people who have grown tired of the hyper-fast, unrealistic gameplay of arcade shooters. Likewise, there are many of those who find that milsim games are too obtuse and inaccessible, or they simply lack the patience to learn their more complex mechanics.
Back in the day, the Battlefield 2 mod called Project Reality bridged the gap between arcade shooters and milsim games. It was the perfect blending of both—not too overly complex nor floaty and super-unrealistic. Unfortunately, PR has seen a steady decline in its server populations as people flock to other, newer games, and it doesn’t help that its old engine hasn’t exactly aged well.
Enter: Squad. Squad is the spiritual successor to PR, and as such, straddles the fence (quite comfortably I might add) between Battlefield and Arma. Unlike Arma, where there are a gazillion different commands for a gazillion different postures, for instance, Squad has simple and intuitive controls for postures. Also, instead of the bunny-rabbit jumping around and shooting from the hip as in Battlefield or COD games, you have to aim down your sights and factor in bullet drop, etc. in Squad.
Over the past couple of years, since its debut back in December 2015, Squad has turned from an infantry-only affair with rudimentary controls, into a fully-fledged, combined arms, military-themed shooter. With the latest update, Alpha 11, the game has added new features that elevate it even further above the herd.
Alpha 11 introduces a whole slew of new content, not the least of which is an entirely new faction. The new British Armed Forces are a very welcome addition to the already existing BluFor side, “with a unique bullpup-style primary weapon, and heavily reliant on armored transport to move around the battlefield. Expect to see them make an appearance on a few of the classic maps and also the newly released Kamdesh.”
The new map, Kamdesh, is an Afghan-themed affair that is set in the far east part of Afghanistan, sparsely populated and mountainous with a number of roads crisscrossed, which connects a network of small hamlets. Older maps have also been expanded and tweaked, opening up new strategic possibilities for players to consider.
Both BluFor and OpFor have a veritable plethora of new weapons to play with. These include:
- L85A2 Rifle. This is the mainstay British Army service rifle, a 5.56mm bullpup configuration rifle capable of semi and automatic fire. Depending on the role, the rifle is equipped with either iron sights, 4x SUSAT sight (zeroing out to 600m) or 4x ACOG (built in BDC reticle). Some roles also have a folding foregrip/bipod combination attached as well.
- L86A2 LSW Rifle. This weapon is a unique cross between a designated marksman rifle and a light machine gun. While it doesn’t have the same level of stopping power as a 7.62mm DMR, its ability to put down accurate automatic fire makes up for its shortcomings. This is run on the squad-level Marksman role.
- AG36 Grenade Launcher. A 40mm Grenade Launcher attached to the L85A2 rifle, available on the British Grenadier role. Its side-mounted ladder sight goes up to 350m, and its spring-loaded barrel allows for faster loading.
- L110A1 Minimi. The British adaptation of the FN Minimi platform, much like the M249 SAW. It comes with a collapsible skeleton stock and can be equipped with a 4x SUSAT optic.
- New Weapon: L7A2 GPMG. The British adaptation of the FN MAG platform, very similar to the M240B weapon system used by the Americans.
- L131a1 Glock Service Pistol. This recently adopted pistol is a high capacity 9mm handgun that is a reliable sidearm for British officers and support
- The AT4 is an 84-mm unguided, portable, single-shot recoilless smoothbore weapon. This weapon does a modest (33%) more damage than the M72A7 LAW, and is available on all US and British Heavy Anti-Tank roles, as an interim weapon while we work on much heavier anti-tank options.
- The Russian Forces PKP is the modernized cousin of the PKM. Complete with a mount for optics, this Russian weapon will make their machine gunners even more fearsome. Russian Machine Gunners have their PKPs equipped with a 1p78 optic.
- AK74M 1p63 “Obzor” Collimator Sight. The Russian Forces have a collimator sight option now on their rifleman and supplementary combat roles, allowing for quicker target acquisition in CQB.
- AK74 1p29 Optic Sight. The Militia and Insurgent Forces have a slightly older sight option replacing the modern 1p78 sight. It is the older style trilux sight with an upside down obelisk reticle, zeroing capability out to 400m and also a built-in stadiametric.
In addition to the new weapons, Squad has introduced Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) for the BluFor factions. These lumbering behemoths sport multiple weapons systems and bridge the gap between tanks and APCs. When these suckers get rolling, they’re pretty hard to stop.
Fortunately, if you’re playing against them you can take advantage of the new armor localization mechanics. What this means is that all armored vehicles have their best armor up front, with medium coverage on their sides and weak armor on their rear ends.
Overall, Squad’s Alpha 11 update adds a lot of new content that propels the game even further ahead of its rather limited competition. Try it with some friends, just make sure that you all have mics because Squad is a very team-oriented experience.
Squad features outstanding graphics that make its military shooter gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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