Squad (Alpha Update 12)
As far as military-themed shooters go, a Battlefield 2 mod called Project Reality is the greatest of all of them, in my opinion. It featured huge maps, vehicle-based, combined arms warfare, and a strong emphasis on communication and teamwork. After a full ten years of development, PR’s player base finally began to dwindle away and sadly, I stopped playing it a couple of years ago.
Ever since then, a new game has been in development that is basically the spiritual successor to PR, and the title of that game is Squad. Indeed, Squad features the same gigantic maps, wide array of vehicles, focus on teamwork and tactics, etc., except with vastly improved visuals. It’s also been a rather slow road of updates for Squad, primarily because unlike PR which got to use BF2’s assets, Squad’s developers had to build their game from the ground up.
Squad’s time in Alpha has will reach a full three years in length come this December. Back in 2015 when the game debuted on Steam’s Early Access platform, it was pretty barebones and only featured infantry combat. Since then, Offworld Industries has released a steady stream of updates and fixes, gradually introducing all-new assets (such as vehicles) while squashing bugs here and there. In its current state, Squad feels like a much more polished Alpha than what I’m used to experiencing with other games in the same state.
Squad ‘s developers recently unleashed Update 12 which is a one of the largest updates ever. This massive update brings many new features and elements that add a ton of content to the game’s existing framework and bring it to a whole new level of fun.
First off, as you’ve probably already heard Update 12 brings two big nasty tanks to the battlefield. The U.S. side is blessed with the M1A2, which is the Army’s Main Battle Tank. The Russian’s, meanwhile, get their Main Battle Tank, the sleek and deadly T72-B3. Both tanks can be manned by three men and the tanks themselves are bristling with weapon systems.
Not to be totally outdone, the Brits now have the FV432, a heavily armored APC that can carry up to ten passengers as well as the driver. The vehicle has a turret mounted .50cal M2A1 Browning manned by one of the passengers, but that’s about it.
Thankfully, commander seats have been added to the Bradley and Warrior which allow another vehicle crewman to act as a third pair of eyes for the vehicle as well as having the ability to launch smoke grenades. This frees up the driver and gunner’s fingers and lets them concentrate on…well…driving and gunning, as opposed to being responsible for defensive smoke screen duty.
A brand new map has also been added into the already large mix:
“Tallil Outskirts: This map is based on Tallil Air Base and its historic role in the South Iraqi region during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, the 1990s Gulf War, and as a joint Iraq-U.S. airfield today. The most predominant features are its massive aircraft bunkers and defensive positions surrounded by mostly open sandy desert, rocky outcrops, and villages. The map’s focus is on vehicle-based combat, but infantry squads that work in conjunction with armored units will find great success on the battlefields of Tallil.”
I’ll never forget the first time I played Talil. I played it on a layer which features an ongoing sandstorm which severely limits your view distance. I was playing on the U.S. Army team (vs. Russians) and we were holding down one of the massive hangers located in the central part of the map.
We were just putting up a TOW (heavy anti-vehicle weapon) when we heard a deep rumbling sound not far off. Everyone in the area kept scanning the area but we couldn’t see anything. Suddenly, a T72 came bursting through the sheets of sand and came right at us. Things didn’t end too well…
Update 12 also features a handy fireteam system. What this entails is that squad leaders can now designate additional fireteam leaders within his squad. Each fireteam leader may place markers on the map just like the main squad leader does, and this makes gameplay much more nuanced and varied. For instance, you can have one fireteam attack an objective from one direction in order to distract your enemy while the other one slips in behind them.
Squad’s older maps have been retrofitted and in some cases, expanded, and there are numerous quality of life upgrades including a much more streamlined UI. With all of this new content, now is the perfect time to jump in and get your feet wet with the best military-themed shooter on the market: Squad.
Squad features pretty great graphics that make its military-themed 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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