You’ll be forgiven if you do a double-take when first glancing upon Disintegration, the unique new first-person shooter with heavy strategy elements from V1 Interactive. It’s definitely got a bit of a Destiny look to it, artistically speaking, and there’s a good reason for that: Disintegration is from Master Chief co-creator and longtime Bungie veteran Marcus Lehto and his new team. Lehto was at Bungie well into Destiny 1’s development, so his visual stamp is on both his old studio’s game and his new one. Heck, Disintegration even has a player hub area where you walk around in third-person view and speak with your NPC allies.

That’s where the similarities end, though: on a purely superficial level. Disintegration is set on Earth, 150 years in the future. Humanity has, according to Lehto, been dealt “some very difficult cards,” including climate extremes, food shortages, and a pandemic (sigh). Societal stratification has arisen, splitting humanity into two camps: the Naturals and those who’ve “integrated” – meaning they’ve left their human bodies behind and transferred their consciousness into a robot body.

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Those who integrate can be a humanoid-looking Warrior, long-range Ranger, or mech-like Striker, each with different skills and strengths. You play Roamer Shoal, an ex-gravcycle pilot who’s escaped the clutches of the militaristic superpower called the Rayonne, and one of its leaders Black Shuck, inside a large Rayon capital ship hovering over what’s left of North America called an Iron Cloud. If this all sounds super sci-fi-y, well…it is. And hopefully that will end up being a strength of Disintegration.

The gameplay, though, seems like a surer bet to carve out its own (ahem) destiny. See, you’ll be an active participant in the first-person combat, but you’ll do so hovering above the battlefield in your gravcycle, issuing commands to your crew. “It’s the player’s responsibility in the campaign to not only engage in combat but use those ground units as an active part of your arsenal,” Lehto said. “It’s very important to remember that [the gravcycle is] the core aspect of the game.”

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That gameplay also is best played rather than simply demonstrated, and while I didn’t get to go hands-on with it in this look at the single-player campaign, IGN’s Brandin Tyrrel did, and it does indeed seem to be a unique experience. Roamer can go into a scan mode to look for health service areas and enemy units, for example. The Ranger has a Slow Field that can slow enemies down, the Warrior has concussion grenade that can stun bad guys so they are then susceptible to critical damage, and the Striker has a mortar strike that rains down big damage on your enemies from above.

Meanwhile, if you’re wondering, you’re always on the gravcycle. “That is the core primary function of our game and what we wanted to latch onto,” Lehto explained. You’ll be assigned a certain gravcycle type and loadout in each mission in the 8-10-hour campaign, plus a different set of ground crew units. Sometimes you might have two allies on the ground, sometimes there might be four. And your gravcyle will vary too, from light to medium to heavy – each with different loadouts and abilities.

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Sadly there’s no co-op play planned “at the moment,” according to Lehto, but the tone of his answer seemed to suggest it may very well be added sometime after release. Still, what Disintegration is aiming for seems worth a hands-on take, at the very least. Genuinely new first-person shooter experiences are fairly few and far between, so if Lehto and his team can deliver that, they’ll have put themselves on the genre map.

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Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s Executive Editor of Previews. Follow him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan, catch him on Unlocked, and drop-ship him Taylor Ham sandwiches from New Jersey whenever possible.

Source: Disintegration’s FPS Campaign Wants You to Try Something New