Loadout is a new free to play third person shooter from the team at Edge of Reality. And it’s a cracker. Let’s get into the reasons why this is one game you have to play…
The tagline to the game is “Create. Customize. Kill.” This tagline refers to what sets Loadout apart, the weaponcrafting system. The game allows you to build a custom weapon from four templates: Launcher, Rifle, Beam, and Pulse. You can change the stock, sights, magazine, barrel, ammo types, and ammo characteristics. What is great about the weaponcrafting is you do not have to purchase the parts to try out your dream gun; instead you can test the weapon with a seamless jump into an arena where you can test the weapon. The weaponcrafting allows for a large number of combinations that can lead to crazy amalgamations.
Now you read that right, you purchase individual parts for your weapon with a currency called blutes. The game employs two types of currencies, blutes and spacebuxs. Blutes are the currency earned from playing the game and spacebuxs are earned by spending real money. Blutes are used to purchase weapon parts and upgrades in the tech tree. Spacebuxs allow you to purchase apparel, gunslots, loadout slots, avatars, and XP and blutes boosts. Players cannot use real currency to purchase any weapon parts or anything related to gameplay. Loadout is one of the most fair free to play models.
Besides the weaponcrafting, the other distinguishing factor is the game’s aesthetic. The game employs a cartoony, exaggerated graphics style. Body parts are oversized and out of proportion, and everything is over the top. When characters take damage, expect body parts to go missing, chunks of flesh to be missing, and the death scenes are gruesomely hilarious. Along with the cartoony aesthetic, the game is incredibly irreverent, puerile, and downright juvenile. There are crude taunts, obscene gestures, and just an atmosphere of crudeness. Some might be put off by this design choice, but I find it refreshing for a game to not only be gloriously stupid but embrace it wholeheartedly.
As of the time of writing, the game has five game modes: Blitz, Extraction, Death Snatch, Jackhammer and Annhilation. Blitz is a version of King of the Hill where players vie over randomized control spots over the map to raise a pair of boxers up a flagpole. (I told you it was irreverent.) While this mode is simply King of the Hill, it is frantic as players make a mad dash for the control points and mayhem ensues. Extraction is similar to VIP game types. One player is randomly assigned the role of the collector and is assigned to collect blutonium, which is found in various places around the map and to return to their team’s collection bin. The mode is frantic as when the collector is killed, the role of the collector is randomly assigned, even if you happen to be low on health. Death Snatch is basically “Kill Confirmed” from the Call of Duty series. Essentially, getting a kill does not net your team points, rather the team scores when the player picks up the blutonium dropped by players on death.
Players can also deny their opposition points by picking up the blutonium dropped by their allies upon death. Jackhammer plays out as a unique twist on Capture the Flag. In Jackhammer the teams attempt to steal the opponent’s hammer and return it to their base. What sets Jackhammer apart from CTF is the kill system, while carrying the opposition’s flag; you cannot use your weapons. However, you can kill up to five enemies with the hammer. Getting a kill with the hammer increasing the amount of points your team gains from the capture. This risk reward system makes the mode more interesting than a simple dash to capture flags. The last game type is Annihilation. Annihilation is the highlight of the game types. Annihilation is a combination of all the other modes except Extraction with some added bonuses. Capturing points and hammers and collecting blutonium from enemy deaths increasing the team score. Once the score is high enough, your team is allowed access to the opposition’s drop ship. At this point, your team has to charge the hammer on your drop ship and then take the hammer to the enemies’ ship and destroy the core. Needless to say, Annihilation is the most frantic and unique game mode available. Annihilation is definitely the highlight of Loadout.
The map design is one of the only flaws I can level at the game. The maps for the most part are distinct and interesting. However, some of the maps feature bottomless pits the unwary player can fall to their deaths. The game is fast paced and frantic, so falling into the pits is a common occurrence in the game. Also some of the maps tend to be better suited to some game types as compared to others. Besides that, the maps are strong and enjoyable, but since there are a limited number of maps at the moment, monotony could set in after time.
The other major problem with the game is the weaponcrafting system itself. There are a limited number of parts at the moment which can be exhausted, despite the arrangements that can be constructed. However, the game is a new release, so the developers might add more parts in future updates.