Splitgate: Arena Warfare

An old-school FPS with a futuristic feel

By Teresa Whitehouse

Play this game if:

  • You like Halo
  • You like to shoot people through portals

Splitgate: Arena Warfare is a twist on the classic competitive FPS that brings in elements of Portal. Splitgate was developed by 1047 Games, a company founded in the dorm rooms of Stanford University by Ian Proulx and Nicholas Bagamian. Proulx prototyped Splitgate as part of his senior project at Stanford and developed it to as a full game after that with the help of his roommate and the rest of the team at 1047 Games.  

Splitgate pulls off the classic FPS feel very well, drawing heavily from Halo as inspiration for their map and character design. You can change the color of your weapons, armor, and portals too, which adds a welcome sense of individuality to the game since everyone starts off with the same weapons. Just like in older FPS games, there are no power-ups or loadouts.

There are two main modes in the closed beta: Ranked, where you get matched with people around your skill level, and custom lobbies, where you can customize all of your match parameters, including how much gravity affects you and how much health everyone has.

Some of the menu options for custom matches.

Much like in Portal, there are specific surfaces that you can use the portal gun on, which adds to the complexity and strategy of the game. The developers did well implementing the portal guns without the mechanic taking over the entire game. There are a lot of strategies that you can use with them, but since people are generally still learning the core gameplay, the feature was rarely used, if at all.

You own portals: Pretty nifty!

You can take enemy portals, shoot people through them, and make a quick escape by dropping one nearby and running for dear life. Sometimes, you have no idea where the person who shot you went to because of it! You can only see through your own portals, however, so you aren’t always sure where you’re going to end up if you randomly jump into one.

Enemy Portals: Not as fun…

In either game mode, you play against and with other people, though there is an option to add bots into the custom modes. As someone who is very bad at the FPS genre, I much prefer playing against bots. My average K/D/A at the end of the weekend was something like 14/50/12, if I had to guess. In most matches, I only got two kills. This is not at all the fault of the developers, it’s just how bad I am at shooters. Even with my lack of skill in this category, I enjoyed playing the game and exploring the creatively-designed maps.

During the beta, there were some small bouts of lag and the servers went down on the Thursday night, but you could still play against bots during the downtime. While playing against other people can be more fun than bots, you could still practice and learn different mechanics in that downtime.

I won’t say that if you like Portal, you’ll like this game, because while both are first-person, both are not puzzle-based games. On the flip side, if you like Halo, you will love Splitgate: Arena Warfare. While it lacks that franchise’s deep storytelling, it feels a lot like the original trilogy did, so players who miss that kind of game will feel right at home.

Splitgate: Arena Warfare will be released on PC later in 2019, with console release pending.



Video Games