There’s a surprisingly long history of Starship Troopers games, a film series you feel should naturally crossover with interactive entertainment.
To be honest, most of these games are pretty forgettable. None of them ever really stood out or have stood the test of time, so it’s down to Extermination from Offworld Industries – a dev team known for their team-based FPS shooters – to turn things around.
I guess the thing that really surprised me off the bat is that this one is in Early Access. It feels sort of odd for a major IP to be released in this way and obviously a clear statement of intent from both Offworld and TriStar to keep investing in this one over the long term.
After spending some time with it, I’d say the potential is clearly there to see but there’s some way for this one to go. Particularly in the visual department which still looks quite rough with shooting and weapons that just feel unimpactful and bugs and characters that have this jagged edge to them.
The content also feels a little on the weak side for now, but since we’re in Early Access that’s entirely to be expected. For now, what’s here is enough to keep you playing, keep building up your characters and most importantly, keep fighting bugs.
Extermination sees you and up to 15 others team up to build bases, protect vital resources, gun down oversized insects and then sprint to an extraction point. This does feel a tad repetitive after a while, especially as you move and fight across very similar-looking terrain and objectives stay largely the same, but the way you build up bases, craft vantage points, use tricks and traps to defend yourself can make every match feel unique in its own distinct way.
Mixing elements of Fortnite with the likes of a Rainbow Six, you can choose a Special Forces unit to attach to, starting at different areas of the map then tackle your set of objectives with your team. You’ll need to choose your class – Hunter, Operator and Bastion – all of which play slightly differently – and take down as many bugs as you can find.
The game plays a bit like a Horde mode with waves of enemies of increasing difficulty coming for you, drawn to the locations you need to protect. There were a few times when my team and I stood back to back, firing to protect one another as bugs surfaced in front of us and tried to rush us in numbers.
I also adored the tension of sprinting to the dropship, knowing the bugs are surfacing from all sides and I’m looking up at some seriously ferocious beasts. You’re getting attacked from everywhere, trying to find small gaps to break through or run past and there’s no guarantees in that moment.
The rush of making it is only relieved when all of you are at the dropships. If even one is left behind you have to wait for the timer to go down, adding even more stress and tension to the situation as the bugs unrelentingly try to drown you in acid.
Any victory within a class then ranks it up, giving you access to new weapons, perks, and grenades which you can swap out in the loadout screen, letting you customise things further as you progress. Though weapons in general all feel a little bit limited.
While the visuals still don’t feel at their peak, the music and sound effects is suitably on point and really throws me back to the films – particularly when the action is getting hot and heavy.
It’s early days for this one and there’s certainly things that work and some things that don’t but it’s a game we’ll be keeping regular tabs on to see how it evolves and what it turns into.
There’s real potential here, but with a dwindling player base already, there’s work to do to keep players invested. And obviously there’s nothing to do beyond the multiplayer. I’d have absolutely loved some form of co-op campaign which I can blast through, either with AI or friends, and think this game could really lend itself to that.
But what is here is interesting and engaging enough to keep me playing round after round, and hopefully the game will continue to find its audience and stay active. The updates have seemed a little sparse so far, but as we said, it’s early days and Early Access is definitely a journey.
What I can say for now is that Starship Troopers: Extermination is the best gaming foray into the series yet and worth a look if you’re after some squad-based action and bug slaying with your buds.
Starship Troopers: Extermination is out now on Steam PC in Early Access
Code kindly provided by Offworld Industries for review purposes.
Full overview to follow