It has been well over a month since the V10 update dropped on the 5th of February and I’ve had more than enough time to enjoy it. So it’s about bloody time I reviewed the long awaited and excitement inducing update for Squad. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game itself, don’t fear as I have a review you can check out before reading this, for those of you are, get stuck in and enjoy.

In this review I will not be covering every single aspect of the update, just the bits I consider to be the most important, interesting and exciting. To include everything would take quite a lot more pages of an already long article and I don’t think you or I would like writing or reading every little detail all that much. First off check out the trailer because it’s so damned good;


Gameplay And Meta

One of the biggest changes to the way the game is played is the fact that now you cannot utilise the flag rush meta straight off the bat in AAS game types. If one enemy is on a flag, you cannot block the capture with superior numbers without searching and destroying the single enemy. Meaning that you cannot stop the enemies’ advance dead in its track from the get go.

Even though I have always enjoyed crushing the enemy from the beginning of the game, I do feel that this is a better way of balancing things out for teams so the game can actually get started and flow, not dying a death before it has even begun. Encouraging teams to focus on the progression of the game as well as installing a proper supply chain for forward operating bases. You can still block the flag but this requires hunting and destroying all enemies, which is more likely to be a high risk gamble and waste of resources.

There has been a 3 minutes ‘staging period’ added at the beginning of matches, allowing time to spawn up, organise your squads, which vehicles you are taking and the like. However your movement is limited to the staging area of the main base until the time elapses. Graciously the developers have made it so you cannot discharge your weapons, having the foresight to know what gamers made to wait can be like and so helping to avoid griefing.


Mobility

An aspect of life that’s for the most part highly important, becomes even more so on the battlefield, what with the wanting to run away when the loud noises start and all. With V10 you can now run away even more effectively, a part of the update that is definitely applauded by heroes and cowards alike.

The addition of the ability to vault over objects and use your buddy as a boost to climb hitherto unreachable places, means taking cover and traversing the terrain has become even easier. No more being trapped behind knee high walls while the rounds kick up dust at your feet. Well, that is unless you’ve not got the stamina to carry out the mantling move.

A free look bind has been added allowing you to be even more observational on patrol with a 180 degree arc of vision. The speed and ease of entering the prone position has been made more slow and difficult, meaning goodbye to the tactic of drop shots and hello military realism. Whilst prone you can also now lean round, perfect for peeking corners, turning your whole body out and giving you a much better field of view when looking out from cover. Crouch sprinting has been implemented, meaning you can now run distances with a lower profile at the cost of speed.

Another feature that comes into play with your movement is the fact that your weapon length is now a valid factor you must take into account when near obstacles. It will be made to lower and you cannot fire, meaning that your secondary weapon pistols can often now have a bigger advantage in tight spaces, especially as a marksman with their long barrels.

All in all this update has done wonders for your mobility and has brought much more to the table, realism and gameplay wise, making getting around smoother and more tactical.

FOBs And Deployables

Now when you place a FOB radio set down, both the ammo and construction points are set to 0, owing to this, a number of the deployables have been cut in the points that it costs to place them. This has been implemented as previously they relied heavily on the points you initially started with for placement. The ammunition resource cap has been doubled to 2000, meaning FOBs can now be better defended and provide better cover and support, something that will make this feature of the game more useful and hopefully therefore more used. As all too often mortar teams are seen as pointless. Packing more of a wallop over a sustained period should make them regarded as useful as they should be. Another element which further develops the usability of mortars is the new smokescreen rounds. Which cover a large area and can last up to a minute, allowing for advances to be made.

Logistics trucks now work a bit differently, you can now decide with what you would like to fill the truck. Either construction materials, ammunition or both depending on your FOBs needs and your squad leaders’ orders. To drop supplies off you must use the number keys 1/2 or mouse scroll to select which resource you wish to drop, then hold the left mouse button to drop off. To pick up supplies you hold down the right mouse button.  Lastly logistics trucks now have the ability to load up from a FOB to take the materials elsewhere, the significance of this is that now if retreating or advancing you can salvage what’s left and redistribute it. The developers have stated there will be more development on these building aspects in the future, hinting that perhaps some FOBS could be used as supply hubs in a logistics chain.

 


An anti-aircraft emplacement has been added as a deployable for both unconventional warfare teams, a ZU-23 twin barrelled 23mm AA gun. It costs 100 ammo points to reload and is limited to one per FOB, costing 400 construction points to build. This addition is hinting that perhaps we are getting closer to the promised incorporation of helicopters which the developers have been working on since 2017. I hope they get implemented soon as I really cannot wait to play flight of the Valkyries down my mic in local chat at the nearest possible opportunity as we hover onward into battle, sorry fellow players.

 

SPG-9 emplacements and the mounted variants now have the option to choose between high explosive anti-tank or fragmentation rockets. The latter being best for hitting grouped together infantry units or those taking cover inside buildings.

The militia now have a new defensive deployable in the form of a wooden trench wall section, limited to 10 per FOB and costing 150 construction points.

FOBs are a vitally important part of gameplay and I’m enjoying seeing these developments, how they can be used and pondering on what can be added. I think it will be interesting down the line to see what other developments are being worked on and what effect they’ll have on the game itself. 

Weapons And Kit

A lot has changed in regards to weaponry, a lot of it being very minor and fiddly details that I don’t feel worthy of noting as they are none to exciting. So for this section I am going to cut it down to what I feel are the most important elements. Many of what I am going to gloss over are just points on kit changes that bring balance to the different teams as well as more true to life loadouts and damage changes.

Firstly, all animations for the equipment and weapon usage have been completely rebuilt from the ground up for V10, some nice smooth animations (when they don’t bug out.) Furthermore the way weapons handle overall has been revamped too – recoil, weapon sway and movement are all something you’ll have to get used to again, which are all effected by your current level of stamina. I do find the weapons are a lot more realistic to use now, but somehow smoother at the same time. Same can be said of the swapping between what’s in your inventory, you can now cancel your reload or equipment change to select another weapon a lot quicker. Giving you better ease of response to developing situations, which can be vital to your survival out in the field. No longer will you be stuck doing something you need to stop. Almost all weapons can now have their scopes and sights zeroed in, to help aid at different ranges, something I haven’t quite got to grips with, but I’m certain will be useful once you know what you’re doing.

Now for one of the biggest factors of new weapons and kit that has been afforded to us, machine gunners. Finally they have been equipped with bipods to allow positions to be set up and for more effective fire to be levelled against the enemy. You can deploy them on most any surface including your squad mates back if they stay still providing you a firing position, and potential meat shield. Win win for the gunner eh?  All belt fed weapons have been given visual animations of the belt diminishing as ammunition is fired through, adding a nice little touch of realism and a better visual feedback for when reload time is near. These kits are great when used in tandem with marksman or other fire support roles, having a spotter to direct fire – they are best operated from a held position providing overwatch for your squad. Equipped with 500 rounds they can sustain fire for a large amount of time. You can get a rifleman to lay sandbags to make their position elevated and slightly protected.  A brilliant plus for your squads’ tactical fighting ability this kit unlocks at 5 squad members and is limited to 4 per team, unlocking one per 10 people on your team. Giving it a nice balance I feel.

Squad 1
Here’s a quick run through of the most important small noteworthy changes for brevities sake;

All the reticules bullet drop compensation indicators on scopes are finally fully functional. Coming in great handy for those long distance shots you just can’t calculate yourself. All marksman kits now have binoculars meaning they can play their role more effectively. Also binos themselves have become more effective – equipped with a proper reticule and rangefinder, which helps you indicate range by the height of the enemy at different distances. All non-scoped riflemen now get a reel of razor wire alongside their deployable sandbags, helping your squad dig in further when taking defensive positons.  The Insurgent raider kit has been given 2 drum magazines that hold 71 rounds, good for pushes and holding against a numerically superior force. Making you into bit more of a shock trooper. Insurgents now too have a grenadier kit, however it is restricted to 3 per team, better reflect their more heavy reliance on RPG weaponry in the real world.

Some lovely new changes in this sector, bringing more diversity to the game.


Vehicles

The first thing you will notice on all vehicles in V10 is that it now takes a while to enter, exit or move seats. How long it takes depends on the vehicle and type of seat you are moving to. This means that soloing vehicles is no longer as effective as it used to be, thus encouraging teamwork. Meaning vehicles take up more of your squad to operate or are less effective. Adding to the realism and overall balance of the game.

Insurgents have a new vehicle in their arsenal, a civilian coloured Ural 375D logistics truck (only in certain maps.) Both Insurgents and Militia have a MTLB variant with a ZU-23 AA gun on the back as well as a smaller PKT turret up on the front mount. A vehicle that can be operated to full effect by 3 people means that smaller vehicle squads of friends can get a lot of enjoyment out of this one.

Squad 44.jpg

squad 22.jpg

Me and my pals have had much fun using it so far and have found it best to be used at a distance to deal with people holed up in hilltops. It makes light work of smaller vehicles, but is vulnerable against the more heavily armed and armoured ones. Has to be said, it handles like a dream and is quite speedy, making it good for withdrawing and getting about in general. It costs 18 tickets when destroyed and only takes 6 minutes to respawn (thankfully as I absolutely love this addition.)

squad 33.jpg

Alongside the aforementioned vehicle, the Insurgents now have an Ural 375D mounted with a ZU-23 AA gun on the back which shoots high explosive rounds. It is a very vulnerable and cumbersome vehicle which is best used at a distance or for ambushes as it cannot fire directly forward. When destroyed it will cost 12 tickets and also has a 6 minute respawn timer.

squad 4.jpg
BTR-80 / BTR-82A / MT-LBM 6MA / MT-LBM 6MB / BRDM-2;
These above vehicles have now been fitted with a coaxial PKT machine gun, which is much more useful to supress and dispatch infantry threats and can be switched to in the inventory slot number 2. All vehicles mentioned above, as well as Strykers are also now equipped with smokescreens shot from launchers, you carry 2 loads worth and it’s great for beating hasty retreats or tactical advances. They are reloaded at the cost of 75 ammo points per piece. Developers have done this to ensure this feature is not abused and the map is not a constant mess of smog. Which I feel is very sensible, making them viable but not abuseable.

MT-LBM 6MB and BTR-82A;
Are now equipped with a high explosive round for their main cannon, which is good for dealing with infantry taking cover or inside buildings. But best to switch back to your armour piercing rounds to deal with vehicle threats, even though HE does deal some damage. It’s not the firepower you need for blowing up armoured vehicles.

BTR-80 and 82A;
Now come fitted with a periscope for commanders, giving an extra seat. One day this will be rolled into the driver seat to make them the vehicle commander. But for now this is a nice little asset for SLs to use as an extra set of eyes.

V10 has made vehicles much more versatile, realistic and effective and I am absolutely loving using vehicles even more now since V10 dropped. Great fun, great effect – all round good update on this front.

New Map

There have been a few changes to a few of the existing maps, mostly bug fixes or adding more variation in buildings, populating certain areas and giving them more playability. But I am going to focus on the newest addition, the snowy map of Belaya. It includes 2 AAS game versions as well as 2 different invasion game type layouts.

squad 3.jpg

This tundra is set in Eastern Europe and is a nice change from lush grasslands and deserts we’ve been hitherto used to. Giving a nice new terrain to play in, with light to heavy snowfall which really adds to the immersion, obscuring your vision somewhat and giving you the need to focus more in outside areas on patrol. My favourite part of this map is the tunnel complex of the train yard, which makes for some truly fun close quarter combat and is both fun to defend and attack. It’s quite hilly but not too mountainous, has plenty of bisecting roads for vehicles and is generally quite passable in off-road routes, depending on your vehicle of course. A beautiful addition bringing something new to the table that plays very well.

Squad 2.jpg


User Interface

The main menu UI has been completely overhauled giving it a nice sleek look and making it easier to navigate. It also allows you greater access whilst joining a server with the ability to browse the menus without being dropped from the queue, so any last minute bind changes or what have you can be sorted without hindrance. Installed Mods are now viewable while in the main menu and a music player has been added, allowing you to choose through the Squad soundtrack. I’m hoping maybe we will be able to add your own playlists in the future, although there is no word on that.

INTERFACE.jpg

As a SL there has been some changes to your UI, vehicle claims appear on the left hand-side of your screen and you can now approve the request using a hotkey rather than fiddling around on the map. You have also been given more symbols to mark on the maps, one for ‘request pick up’ and another for ‘mine spotted’. You can now invite unassigned players into your squad if you wish to fill your ranks too though I haven’t worked out how to do that yet.

In general all weapon selection icons have been given a new and updated style, current selected weapons and equipment names are shown to you above your ammunition counter, allowing you to know what you have selected at all times. Coming in handy particularly if you have different types of rockets or grenades to switch through.

Miscellaneous

There is now some limited integration with discord, so you can see who in your channel is playing, what server, team and squad they are in. Hopefully there will be more of these little additions that are helpful. Another feature added is mod support through the steam workshop, all you modders and fans of mods out there will be delighted to hear!


Bugs And Glitches

There has been a number of existing bug fixes here are the ones that the developers have listed;

  • Fixed US Logistics Truck windows being fully bulletproof.
  • Fixed destroying certain vehicles crashing the server.
  • Fixed ammunition indicators and inventory being invisible while in a vehicle turret.
  • Fixed the “Ballerina Pose” bug that was occurring when a player dies or exits a vehicle.
  • Optimised the burn effects for vehicles and destroyed vehicles.
  • Fixed incorrect bullet casings being used on all AK74 and AKM series rifles.


Still with these bugs fixed, there are still a great great many issues. Here are a few that I have been experiencing and feel need to be addressed pronto;

Glitching through structures such as roofs when revived.You can mantle through certain windows with frames. Sometimes when you switch weapons your models hand comes off it and goes up into your face disrupting your view. Also weapon models disappearing from character which can be fixed by changing weapon sometimes.Players in vehicles sitting outside of them at some distance. Or even in the drivers lap obstructing view.

And a bug that I sadly didn’t get a clip of, where I was tilted upside down and couldn’t walk or move without spinning upside down… it was hilarious but quite disorientating and I had to be run over several times by my obliging squad mates before it corrected.

And these are just the ones I know off the top of my head. There are probably quite a few more to contend with.

All in all even with the unfixed and new issues, I absolutely love this game and they can’t detract from it – it is just enjoyable to no end. Most of the bugs are just funny but some do hamper gameplay in a number of ways as well as others being exploited to unfair advantages. Either way, they all definitely need fixing, however understand that with such a large game as Squad there are bound to be growing pains that need ironing out. Let’s just hope the ironing is done sooner rather than later.


All being said and done this update was a leap forward in the Squad experience thus far, also hinting at the course this game is taking and continuing to take, with glimpses of the future (i.e. aircraft counterparts to the AA weaponry.) It’s a course I myself will stay following closely and urge you to join if you like team based tactical shooters and large scale warfare, this is for you.

 

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A freelance writer and blogger living on the south-coast. I write about the world of video games on my current blog. With a focus on RTS/FPS military PC games.

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