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You’d think that an essential pop-cultural icon with a strong cult following like Starship Troopers would have more video game adaptations than there are bugs in Klendathu. Alas, other than the excellent RTS Terran Command (which we reviewed), there’s not much in the way of video games based on the IP other than a handful of not-so-great games that capture the essence of the chaotic battles depicted in the film series. Enter Starship Troopers: Extermination, a PVE co-op FPS developed and published by Offworld Industries, launched in Steam Early Access on 17 May 2023.

You’re put on the frontlines of an all-out war against the Arachnids and you get to join forces with 15 other players (you heard that right) to drive the alien species into extinction. Extermination is as chaotic and fun as it sounds but is it worth buying, considering that the game just launched on Early Access? Strap on your bug-stomping boots and pick up your assault rifles – it’s time to teach the bugs how colonization is done!

Duking it Out

Considering that Starship Troopers: Extermination is in its infancy, there’s little in the way of a narrative. You play as one of three classes – Hunter, Operator, and Bastion, members of the elite Deep Space Vanguard of the mobile infantry. Your job? Eliminate the bug threat using deadly force. As for now, the game features only one map, the planet of Valanka. Starship Troopers: Extermination is not just a PVE shooter, it also has elements of base building. There’s gotta be something between you and the overwhelming bug forces, right?

You get to choose from two modes, capture the territory and a base defense mode. A horde mode is supposedly on the horizon. No matter which mode you choose, the flow of the game remains more or less the same. Shoot, gather resources, build your base, defend, and extract. A basic but pretty intense loop once you see what you’re up against. As you complete more objectives and kill bugs, the infestation level will increase, and more and more deadlier Arachnids will surface. What starts out as simple assignments soon escalate into frantic chaos as you near extraction. Trying to get to the space shuttle evading hundreds of deadly bugs while having 15 random people scream into the mic is something that one must experience at least once in their lifetime.

Nailing the Goods

Five minutes into the game and you can already tell that the game is made by folks who love the source material. They’ve nailed the visuals, music, and intensity of the firefights from the 1997 cult classic.  The weapons feel punchy, and the bugs feel good to shoot at and the decision to incorporate base-building systems into a team-based shooter is a 300 IQ move if I’ve seen any. Despite the *very* Early Acess-y feel of the game, you can already see that they have a good one in the works. That being said, there are some fundamental issues that should be taken care of. This is excluding the staggering lack of content and overabundance of bugs (hehe) that’s synonymous with Early Access.

The first major complaint I have is a big one. For a game about “joining the fight”, there’s no Asian and Oceania server in the game. If you live outside NA or EU, get rekt. This is such a glaring flaw in a game that depends highly on the number of concurrent players. I was able to join games easily but the experience was not always stellar. If you’re from Australia or China, get ready to combat Lag spikes, connection timeouts, and high latency. Ironically, most of the players that were in my sessions were from Asia and they share the same sentiment.

Another notable problem with the game is the balancing. This goes for classes and weapons. There’s really no major reason to pick anything other than the support class. The dude can heal people like crazy, insta resurrect folks, and carry an extra ore in their backpack. The Hunter gets the short end of the stick with his jetpack being pretty useless in the grand scheme of things. 

The progression is also pretty half-arsed. The rewards aren’t really anything with plenty of poorly balanced weapons and gear. The base building is also pretty limited and clunky, considering it’s a big part of the gameplay loop. Then there’s the performance. The game runs pretty great, over 100 fps on my RTX 3070. That is until you reach the point of extraction. This is when everything goes to shit. The game drops fps to the 40s as all hell breaks loose around you. I’ve tried dropping my settings but the issue persisted. Then again, the game is still in the Alpha phase so there’s hope yet.

Initial Impressions

 After a long time, a team has finally managed to represent Starship Troopers in all its glory in the video game form. It’s equal times fun, frantic and it’s soaring with potential. Still, Starship Troopers: Extermination has a long way to go to stand boot to boot with co-op heavy hitters. Content updates, more game modes, balancing patches, and most importantly, the inclusion of Asian and Oceanic servers are a must if the game is to sustain a healthy player count. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.

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