We all know Offworld Industries love making shooters and most of their catalog is shooters of different ages. Starship Troopers: Extermination is another FPS by Offworld Industries and one that the studio has decided to launch first in Early Access in order to develop it alongside the community. If you grew up in the 90s, chances are that you might have seen the Starship Troopers movie which was released in 1997 and it was an amazing movie filled with action and lots of dead bugs. If you, like us, hate bugs and think that a good bug is a dead bug, then you would have loved this movie and you will most probably like their new FPS Starship Troopers: Extermination as well because it has a lot of dead bugs. This is our Early Access review of Starship Troopers: Extermination on PC in which we kill tons of bugs and establish a foothold on an alien planet.
Starship Troopers: Extermination is a team-based co-op horde shooter set in the universe first laid out by the movie of the same name. In the game, you join the Deep Space Vanguard which is an elite Special Forces branch of the Mobile Infantry, and your goal is to kill all of the bugs no matter what color or size they are. Set on the deep space mining colony on Planet Valaka, the designation PE-59 has been destroyed and ravaged by the Arachnids and you must fight to take it back now. As a soldier on an alien planet, you will build bases, explore hostile environments, and shoot bugs before making an escape back into the orbit. There is not much of a story that I can discuss here since this is a random objective-based title but then again, you do not need any story to annihilate hordes of bugs anyway.
For killing the bugs, you currently have three distinct classes in the game. You can choose between Hunter (Assault), Bastion (Heavy), and Operator (Support) according to your desired gameplay style and become the Deep Space Vanguard that you always wanted to be. Each of these classes excels at a different skill and you will be using their unique skills and weapons in your squad and supporting your team members in battle. Since Starship Troopers: Extermination is a team-based game, you will need to work with your team in order to win the game against the deadly Arachnids. The Hunter can use his jetpack to go higher and scout the area ahead and use assault weapons to lead the assault. The Bastion can deploy shields surrounding him and tackle the horde while protecting the squad members and the Operator comes with all of the healing goodies.
A single match consists of 16 players which are distributed in squads of four players. While all of the squads will work together for the same goals on each map, splitting into teams makes more sense since four players can easily look after each other rather than 16 players working in one huge squad. The missions are the same for all squads and most of the time, nearly all of the players will be present at the same location as well. Since the maps of the game are pretty big, the fights take over a pretty huge area as well and there is plenty of verticality in the entire map so each fight is pretty grand. The horde is relentless and sometimes even a full 16-player squad seems to struggle to survive. During my time with the game, I usually found players working together and looking after each other but as soon as the final objective is complete and the dropship appears, it is every man for himself as players forget about their squad and just starts running towards the ship.
As of now, there is only one planet in the game, but the location is different every time you start the game. Sometimes, the time of the day is also different, and I do remember completing a night stage as well. Each mission is around 10-14 minutes long and does not take too long to complete but the action is extremely intense during each of the missions. At the moment, there is only one game mode available where the squad lands on the planet, completes different objectives, and tries to secure the location before getting evacuated from the planet. The mission objectives vary in every mission, but they are mostly the same as setting up refineries, collecting ore, delivering them to the refinery, taking over control points, killing big bugs, and finally defending the main base against hordes and hordes of bugs before extraction.
Starship Trooper: Extermination also offers base building in specific areas. You cannot build across the whole map apart from these specific locations where the game allows you to build. Pressing B makes you enter Build Mode and with your Build Tool equipped, you can repair damaged structures and also build new ones. There are plenty of structures that you can build to defend your position in the game such as walls, gates, bunkers, towers, electrified fences, and turret defenses. You get a limited number of resources to build these structures and you also have a limit on the number of structures that you can build. This keeps the challenge high otherwise you could just spam turrets and chill back in your bunker while the turrets do your dirty work. The building presents an interesting take on the whole horde shooting mechanic because all players share the same resource pool and each player can put down whatever they want so you get to see really interesting builds during matches.
The Early Access version of Starship Troopers: Extermination offers a diverse variety of Arachnids to kill in the game. Each of these bugs is unique and different from the others and poses the same level of threat. Most of the bugs will appear out of the ground suddenly and will begin charging at you if you are closest to them. There are no special spawn zones and sometimes, these bugs will literally crawl out from under your feet. Where you see the ground shaking and the sand going up in the air, the bugs are coming out from there. Depending on their size and ranking, the Arachnids pose a different level of threat in low numbers but they always spawn in big numbers and one horde will consist of many different types of bugs as well. The most common type of bug is the Drone which is the smallest one and can be easily killed but they rush you in large numbers making them a big threat as well.
Their slightly bigger brothers are called Warriors and they are melee focused as well. They also charge you when you are closest to them, and they will try to rush you in numbers just like the smaller Drones. Drones and Warriors form the front line of the Arachnid hordes so you will be killing loads and loads of these smaller bugs. Moving to the big boys, we have the Gunner, Plasma Grenadier, and Tiger Elite. The Tiger Elite is the deadliest since it will always go for melee kills and it deals a massive amount of damage due to its huge size. Gunner likes to stay at a distance, and it picks players from afar with its laser ranged attack. It is also the most annoying one because while you are fighting the Drones and the Warriors, a Gunner will be taking out chunks of your health with its long-ranged projectile attack.
The biggest and the worst one to arrive in every fight is the Plasma Grenadier which is not only the biggest, the toughest one to kill but one direct hit from its artillery-like attack and you are instantly killed. They have an insane amount of range and they can shoot their projectiles from areas that are very far away. You will need to actively seek these out and kill them as a priority because they can wipe out entire squads with a single hit. As the Arachnid Level increases in each level, more and more of these advanced and deadly enemies start appearing with every wave. For surviving in Starship Troopers: Extermination, you will need a good understanding of each enemy type, how they attack, and strategizing over what to kill first in order to make these hordes bearable.
Starship Troopers: Extermination is just insane when it comes to hordes because the bugs just don’t stop coming and if you have a rocket launcher at this point, the game becomes insanely fun as you shoot rocket after rocker exploding whatever comes in your path. The rocket launcher is a special weapon, and you can only acquire it after completing certain objectives in the game through special pickups. It also means that there will not be a lot of players in a single match with these rocket launchers, so this makes the rocket launcher the best weapon in the game at this point. It also makes the game a little easier even on higher difficulties because it will kill nearly all the bugs fairly easily when compared with the other weapons in the game.
This means that the normal weapons in the game are no slouch either as I found them to be pretty decently balanced. Each character loadout is unique which means that each class uses weapons that suit its own play style. I tried playing with all three classes and the starting weapons for all three classes are fairly equal and decent in terms of dealing damage to the enemies. Nearly all of the classes are using different variants of an assault rifle and additional weapons can be unlocked by playing more and more with each class. Instead of an account level, all of the earned XP will go towards that particular class, and you will then unlock new perks, weapons, and items for that particular class. Each class has its own perks, weapons, and items so the journey will be unique for each class as well. The more you play with a class, the more XP it will gain and the more the game will reward you with better equipment for that class. The Early Access version does not have the full arsenal unlocked at launch and we do have the slots in the game which shows that they are in development so the armory for each class will only get bigger and bigger as development continues on the game.
With that said, Starship Troopers: Extermination is not short of its problems and issues at this point. Being an early access game, this was only natural so I will suggest that you go in with an open mind as well. The game is not in its final form so do not expect that final bit of polish on the dead bug’s intestines that you just blasted open. One of the key issues that I face during my time with the game is the crashing and the game connecting with my fellow reviewer’s system. The game crashed in different locations, and it was most common when I died and had to respawn. If the game did not crash, it often would get stuck, and I had to Alt+F4 to the desktop. Apart from this, there were a few connection errors where I was unable to connect to the server.
Most of these issues are fairly normal for early access games and especially for online, multiplayer games so I am not too worried about them. Even with these issues, I still had a blast with the game, and I cannot wait to dive back into the game again. The frames remained fairly smooth but then again my PC is a little bit on the high-end and the visuals are not really that demanding. It is only a 10 GB game, and it still manages to look amazing. Starship Troopers: Extermination is an amazing game and I loved playing it even with the limited amount of content that it offers. I am looking forward to seeing what Offworld Industries does with the game and now I am waiting for a content roadmap for the game. It is intense, fun, and filled with insane co-op action that you can expect from any AAA shooter currently available in the market.
It was only natural for Starship Troopers: Extermination to have some issues since it is currently in its Early Access stage but even with them, the game delivers a highly enjoyable experience. I am seeing tons of optimizations, balancing, and more across the board with the future updates but the game is still one hell of a ride. It starts off slow but quickly picks up the pace in terms of action and even with so many squads running around a level, you still feel overwhelmed by the incoming horde of Arachnids. The level design, shooting mechanics, and the enemy design all are really great and I cannot wait to see what the future updates will bring to this game. If you are looking for a fun and addictive co-op horde shooter, Starship Troopers: Extermination is the perfect game for you to jump into right now. It can only get better with more content additions and updates.
Early Access Score: 8.5/10