PLAY

Splitgate [online]

Too portal afford a new game? Try this

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This is a free-to-play game, but in many ways, you’d never know it. The complexity and shoddy tutorials typically found in free-to-play titles are absent, for one thing. The enemy team is red, yours is blue, and you shoot one another with guns. Even your dog could understand how it works. It’s the portals, however, that make the experience feel fresh and exciting.

Splitgate would be a very good shooter even without the portals. The weapons on offer are diverse, and all are precise and satisfying to use. Movement is fast and so is the action, each excellentl­y-designed map offering a huge variety of lines of sight and no truly safe hiding place. The game modes are all great fun too, from the traditiona­l deathmatch to Oddball, where the game is won by the team which manages to hold onto the eponymous sphere the longest.

But the portals. The portals. That’s the little touch of genius that really sets Splitgate apart. Each player can create two, placing them on any of the purpose-built blue surfaces dotted throughout each map. Once you’ve placed them, together they act as a doorway no matter how far apart they are – that’s the point of portals, after all. There’s no limit to how far you can cast a portal, either. If you can see a suitable surface, you can hurl a portal straight

Any player can travel through any portal, but you can only see through your own.

onto it. When a player dies in the game, their portals close as well.

GATE SCOTT!

Any player can travel through any portal, but you can only see through your own. When you come across an enemy portal, you could close it down with a grenade. But perhaps it’s worth firing into it instead in case there’s a sniper looking through? Or you could jump in and take out any enemies hanging around the other side. A gamble, but very satisfying when it pays off.

Using a portal to snipe always carries risks (not to mention the fact that it means you’re paying less attention to your immediate surroundin­gs), so it never feels cheap. They can (and should) be used defensivel­y, too. One tactic is to launch a portal when you spawn, run off looking for enemies, then create another if you get in trouble so that you can return to your starting point. Don’t forget to close the portal behind you, though…

The thrill of making a last-minute escape through a portal, the satisfacti­on of making multiple kills via one, the tension of jumping into a portal blind, the simple joy of taking enemies down without using one at all… no wonder the beta proved so popular that the servers were overwhelme­d. The fact that the in-game currency and cosmetics are politely tucked into the shop tab rather than being thrown in your face at every opportunit­y is the icing on the cake (which isn’t a lie).

We thought we’d seen everything the online FPS had to offer, then Splitgate appeared through a portal and shot us in the face with a brilliant new idea. Luke Kemp

 ??  ?? With or without portals, each kill is as satisfying as you’d hope.
With or without portals, each kill is as satisfying as you’d hope.
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