Do you love old-fashioned hardcore first-person shooters and dark cyberpunk worlds? Have you played Ghostrunner and wondered what it would be like if guns were added into the mix? If you answered yes to both of those questions, then Sprawl might just be the game for you. Sprawl even starts in a similar fashion to Ghostrunner, with your player character, in this case a disgraced special ops super soldier called SEVEN, being ejected via a window at a great height. Then she gets a voice in her head, urging her to get up, push on and seek revenge.
Before that though, there are tutorials. Sprawl wastes no time trying to make you a master at wall running, having you skillfully jumping between walls and platforms within minutes. And then you get to the good stuff: combat. Slicing and dicing enemies up close is an option, but for the most part you’ll be wanting to use guns – one in each hand. And to make you even more of an effective killer, you can focus your adrenaline to slow down time and highlight enemy weak points. While going for the head is always a good option, for example, why not shoot an enemy’s jet pack if they have one, causing a small explosion that might injure any friends they have, too?
Needless to say, Sprawl is a fast-paced and intense first-person shooter, where standing still for even one second is ill-advised. You need to keep on the move, use the environment to your advantage, and employ your adrenaline strategically. It’s a bit of a waste to use it on robotic dog-like enemies, for example, which are pretty easy to take down. For the guards that carry huge shields, it’s invaluable to slow down time as you circle strafe around their charge and take aim at their now unprotected heads.
We’ve only had time to play through a few of Sprawl’s surprisingly sizeable levels so far. Though it’s also because the game has been constantly kicking our backsides. While you can play with a controller, like we’ve been doing, it’s not recommended. Being a hardcore shooter, you just don’t have the required accuracy and speed. And this is despite the game having difficulty options. Ammo is something of a concern, too. All too often we’ve ran out of it during a large fight, forcing us to run around like headless chickens trying to find some, or attempting to rely on melee. That rarely works when you’re outnumbered.
Still, it’s clear to see that a lot of love has been put into the development of Sprawl. It’s got a kickass soundtrack, and its cyberpunk world is well realised. Considering that its developer, MAETH, is a two-person team, it’s quite an achievement. We’ll return to it soon, perhaps with a keyboard and mouse. That is unless it’s tweaked further to make it a little more forgiving. Having unlimited ammo for your basic pistols wouldn’t do any harm, surely?
Sprawl is available now on PC.