Starship Troopers. 16-player PvE cooperative play. An Arachnid threat that needs extermination. Sounds like the perfect combination and that’s just what Offworld Industries are hoping as Starship Troopers: Extermination heads into a year long early access. It’s been a week since then so lets see how it fares at the starting line.
NOTE: An Early Doors has been chosen given how early into the schedule this look into the game has come, a review will be pencilled in once finished & released, with a possible preview mid way through the early access cycle to check on progress.
While there’s no story to be had really so far, and given its a multiplayer co-op title it is expected, the game still throws out some of those obligatory Starship Troopers styled newsreels pre-game. Not only that but once the mission starts the game is quick to bring the intensity of the movies. Swarms of bugs can be on-screen at any time and the ammo can quickly run short, and just like the movies, if you get separated you are dead. Even the easy difficulty sees the bugs taking no prisoners if you’re not careful. The mobile infantry doesn’t make stupid troopers after all.
There’s 3 classes to play and rank up (each class gets specific upgrades as you progress), a standard trooper with a jetpack, a more robust one that can bunker down with a shield, and the one I usually play is the support – mainly for keeping everyone in the fight and building quickly when needed, but can also carry two resource cannisters that most playing don’t seem to know. It really helps to know what your class can do to help the team.
There are only a couple of modes to begin with and they play relatively similar, you’ll be tasked with collecting resources or clearing bug areas for the most part, before ending with a base build and last stand before extraction. You’ll need those resources to build the walls & bunkers needed to keep the arachnids at bay, not always an easy task as different bugs show up. The likes of tiger arachnids, like 5 times bigger than usual, and those that rain artillery down on you can make mincemeat of the walls. Really got to be on your toes and then pray you can make it to the dropship afterwards through bug infested territory.
The gameplay loop itself is quite good for now, it’ll need more fleshing out sure, but its early access nature holds it back most. QOL aspects like partial controller support leaving UI navigation and even aiming acting like a mouse (mouse sensitivity directly affects controller and isn’t easy to get it just right) are obviously there, but the game was more stable than expected. I actually didn’t encounter many bugs and probably faced one once every few games. Usually it’d be the typical getting stuck or falling through something, the most egregious being the extraction dropship disappearing after take-off and leaving everyone falling down into a horde of arachnids. The voice comms by teammates was quite funny on that one.
As its early access its only right to cut the game some slack visually, especially with word on strret being the developer is looking to move to UE5 at some point before release. Visually the game is a mixed bag, at times garish, at others really good. General all around detail isn’t quite there yet, but the arachnids are modelled well and still resemble their movie peers. Some of the effects are genuinely impressive like the fire etc, when a big bug explodes and the screen fills with blue fire it looks cool, ripped straight from the original movie almost.
Performance could be a bugbear for some. My system (R7 5800X/32GB/RTX 3090) pretty much had no issues when aiming for 60fps. There was enough performance left on the table that I could even DLDSR 1.7x at 4K to downsample with a little left to spare. Things could easily change going forward given it doesn’t look that hot at the moment, and there is that bugbear I mentioned. My brother uses a similar system aside from he has an RTX 2060 but he couldn’t get stable performance – even under 1080p. At the moment the games probably a bit raw unless you can brute force it.
Starship Troopers: Extermination is definitely a bit raw at the moment, unsurprising given its only been a week since the early access launch, but even then it has surprised on numerous occasions. There’s certainly potential here for a great Starship Troopers experience, one you may have been waiting a long time for, that will likely make the £20.99 entry price enticing at the moment. Personally I’d say wait a couple of months and a few updates first, there’s a solid foundation for sure, but some QOL improvements and optimisation will go a long way to making a better first impression.