SPRAWL Hands-on Impressions

SPRAWL Hands-on Impressions

By  William Brett - 23rd Aug 2023

Destroy Junta!

SPRAWL Hands-on Impressions

This cyberpunk dystopia has been overtaken by a tyrannical ruler in the form of the military regime Junta. Take control of SEVEN, a disgraced special ops soldier that will do everything in her power with the help of FATHER to overcome and free the city from the Spire. I had the pleasure of trying out the game for myself and writing my thoughts on the experience.

Overtaken by Junta

This once-destroyed cyberpunk megapolis wasn't always so grim and lined with horrors. Before, the sprawling city basked in riches of cybernetics and artificial intelligence that pushed it into a new era... but it came at a price. Now, a government by the name of Junta has overtaken the city, and it is up to you to stop it.

The aesthetic narrative is definitely present in this high-octane boomer shooter, and the graphics are attractive with a side of pixelated in a 3D world. Though I had a slight issue with the largeness of the guns that SEVEN wields against Junta, the cyberpunk aesthetic is quite charming, even when lined with the blood and gore of the enemies you leave behind.

That said, nothing compared to when I found out (quite late into my campaign, much to my dismay) that SPRAWL is compatible with ultrawide resolutions, and the once-handsome world became jaw-dropping gorgeous with the increased field of view, as it felt more immersive and one of my favourite titles to play in ultrawide, if not only because the increased range of vision ensured I could see my foes more comfortably.

A Large Arsenal of Weapons

A Large Arsenal of Weapons

When FATHER first wakes up SEVEN, you will be tasked with the job of fighting back Junta with only your melee katana, a gun, and your Icarus implant (more on that later). As you progress through the game, you will unlock a vast arsenal of weapons, each of which works best against different types of enemies, ensuring there is a bit more strategy to the combat.

There is no reloading, and your single magazine is what you have until you get more, but part of the charm was using the "right" weapons against enemies. This strategic element gave me the opportunity to try different approaches, but it isn't particularly explained to you by the game — you can fight anyone with any weapon if you so wish. I still found a lot of charm in being able to change my weapons and approach with each encounter, and it was a great way to ensure every new fight was unique and exciting.

My favourite weapon is the one implanted in SEVEN — the Icarus enhancement. With her power, you can slow down time and glide across walls with three jumps, giving you a unique way to fight that makes the boomer shooter elements even more enjoyable.

Take Advantage of Icarus

Take Advantage of Icarus

Combat becomes a unique mixture of boomer shooter with bullet time given to you by the Icarus, though being able to hit enemy weak spots was never as enjoyable as using the wall-sliding mid-battle to gain momentum and outrun enemies. Manoeuvering the battlefield was endlessly enjoyable, as changing my approach to different encounters made it very fun to just play through the various levels.

The enemy variety is relatively simple, but it doesn't need to be much more complex considering the eight-hour run. The difficulty instead was added by making harder enemies more common, and the survival areas where you had to kill waves of foes to progress became ever more challenging.

Verdict

Overall, SPRAWL is a game I can confidently recommend. I didn't expect to enjoy it nearly as much as I did, but using Icarus to glide through the walls and bullet time made it stand out from the other boomer shooters I played, and it had been a while since I devoured a title so quickly.



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