Hey guys! Splitgate is free-to-play multiplayer arena shooter that is best described as “Halo meets Portal.” It was released in early access way back in May of 2019 as Splitgate: Arena Warfare. However, it’s only recently with the release of the Splitgate beta in July that the game has really blown up, to the point that for a time it was even impossible to get into a match..
So, just what is Splitgate? In this game you’ll go up against other teams in various game modes while trying to gather the most kills or points. You’ll use futuristic weapons, a jetpack, and of course, portals in order to come out on top.
The Halo comparisons are way more than just superficial: from the guns, to the game modes, to the too-cool callouts from the announcer, Splitgate wears its inspiration proudly on its sleeve. Any fans of Halo multiplayer will feel right at home in any match of the Splitgate beta, and this ends up being one of its greatest strengths.
The defining feature of the game are its portals. In the Splitgate beta, you can create two portals on the map at any one time. You can then travel directly between these two portals (and so can other players). If you’ve played Valve’s classic Portal games, you’ll be extremely familiar with this mechanic, as it works exactly the same. You’re even restricted to placing portals on special surfaces, just like in the Valve classics.
The combination of these elements make the Splitgate beta a very interesting gameplay experience. But is it actually good? Let’s look at the good and the bad.
One of the biggest positives of Splitgate beta is that the moment to moment gameplay is a lot of fun. It’s clear that developers 1047 Games understand just what made classic Halo multiplayer such a blast. The weapons are very similar to those in Halo, featuring traditional weapons, energy weapons, and the occasional melee weapon, which can be found and picked up at various places across the game’s maps.
All these weapons feel great to use, and there’s a solid weapon variety in the game. It’s also nice to see the game’s variety of game modes, most of which are taken directly from classic Halo. Currently, the available game modes are:
- Team Deathmatch
- King of the Hill
- Team Oddball
- Team SWAT
- Team Shotty Snipers
- Gun Game
- Team Fiesta
Right now, it appears that there’s only team game modes available, but hopefully this will change in the future. In addition to casual matchmaking, there is also ranked matchmaking that becomes available once you get your character to a higher level.
So, this all makes for a great deal of variety when playing, although I definitely like some modes better than others. Thankfully, you can choose which game modes you want to queue for when matchmaking.
The game’s unique portal mechanic is also a lot of fun, although it can be a little hard to get your head around. Used properly, the portals can allow you to make some truly next-level plays, and when you make good use of portals, it often leaves you feeling like a genius. You can also use your enemy’s portals against them. For example, if someone is trying to use portals to snipe you, you can shoot them back through their portal.
The game also has great map variety, with 10 different maps at present which all have their own unique aesthetics. The maps are also large and varied, with plenty to explore.
All this makes for great, fast-paced action with a high skill ceiling, but enough familiarity to be accessible. Plus, the game’s got a solid UI and aesthetic, and at least right now, the freemium aspects of the game such as pay currency and the battle pass aren’t at all intrusive. All this adds up to a lot of good things about the Splitgate beta.
The Not So Good
While the Splitgate beta has tons of great things going for it, there’s definitely a few issues as well. For one, while the familiarity with classic Halo can be great for getting into the game quickly, it also means the game can feel a bit stale. This is especially true in matches where other players aren’t making use of their portals, which is what really sets this game apart. Although it’s not necessarily the fault of 1047 Games, it does feel like a lot of players aren’t really taking full advantage of the game’s mechanics.
Another issue is that, in order to play most game modes, you’ll need to level your character up first. Although 1047 Games likely has a justification for this, it’s a bummer to not be able to play most of the game modes right out of the gate. In fact, at level 1, only 5 out of the 12 game modes are available, with the rest requiring you to reach level 10 before you can matchmake for them.
Another issue in the Splitgate beta is that the maps feel very uneven for some game modes. On multiple different rounds I found myself saying that the particular map I was on sucked for the game mode I was playing. For example, if a map is too large, game modes that involve hunting a single target (such as VIP) can become a bit tedious.
There’s a couple of other minor complaints I have. For example, despite a good UI, I think the font used in the game is a bit ugly. Overall, though, the game has very few major flaws. Considering this is still the beta, hopefully these things will improve over time.
The Final Verdict on the Splitgate beta
Overall, it’s easy to see why the Splitgate beta has exploded in popularity over the last few weeks. It’s got a great combination of the familiar and the unique to create a standout arena shooter experience. And in a market where there are very few good arena shooters available, this is great news!
There’s a few things I hope they improve, such as some of the leveling requirements and gameplay variety. Overall though, the core gameplay of the Splitgate beta is tons of fun, and I highly recommend checking it out, especially considering that it’s free-to-play. The Splitgate beta is one of the coolest breakout games in recent memory, and you don’t want to miss out on the action!