Loadout: Loading Out Never Felt So Goofy, and Good

Yes, let it be known now: Loadout draws heavy inspiration from Team Fortress. But despite the game’s wacky style and mechanics, it and Valve’s shooter are quite different in their delivery. Though comparing it to the masterpiece that is TF2 is unfair: after all, this is a game that looks to stand on its own, and stand quite tall and proud.

From Edge of Reality, Loadout is a third-person shooter that emphasizes customization. Right from the get-go, it’s obvious that this is a game that wants players to get creative with who they play. Therefore, customization is deep and varied, with a store to further purchase new items and a weaponcrafting system to synthesize wicked, death-dealing armaments. When all of this comes together, Loadout feels like something truly unique. But before getting into the gritty details of how players can truly make their experience one of a kind, it’s important to look at the title’s core gameplay, which appears to be its primary selling point.

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Though not ground-breaking in its fundamental design, Loadout is a shooter that plays a lot like others of its kind, but with a distinct, frenetic and often frantic feel to it. When joining a game, players will choose their desired character setup that they can pre-arrange prior to each match, and jump into the team-slaying goodness without much need to consult a tutorial or controls; right away, the game feels familiar enough to pick up and enjoy from the start, no stipulations involved. Players are given two weapons to bring into battle — which they will need, to shoot a lot of people in order to reign victorious — and that’s about the extent of the so-called rules. Matches are basic as well, with a variety of modes, none of which require much else other than blowing up anything that moves. There are conquest modes and the like, but ultimately this is a game focused on killing your opponent, rather than beating him through a series of captured points.

In actuality, that’s where Loadoat excels: its focus is solely on providing an experience that is accessible, mindless fun. While there are plenty of customization options, the gameplay is quite intuitive. This design philosophy is even personified in the control setup, which is easy to grasp and devoid of fluff or complicated key strokes. Most of the time players will only need to be well acquainted with their jump button and fire button; everything else is secondary. So make no mistake that this is something of an arena shooter that quickly becomes a bunny-hopping fest of epic, Unreal Tournament-like proportions. What adds to this run and gun style is the fact that the game is silky smooth in its performance.

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Despite being a pretty darn good looking game with an equally great, cartoonish aesthetic, it moves well. In our time playing, we rarely encountered lag on the end of game performance (mostly server issues, but even those were few and far between), and the game never slowed down or chugged, even during chaotic firefights with seven or eight people running around, exploding everything in sight. This is all the more impressive because there’s been so much TLC put into the game’s visuals. Characters animate with a real sense of fluidity, and death animations are hilariously lively with players hopping around after getting a leg shot clean off and eventually bleeding out in the most melodramatic of ways. This is just a small segment of the much larger personality that Loadout possesses.

But what about that customization mentioned earlier? Well, it would be clear to any player that Loadoat wants to give folks a sense of belongingness in its wild world. To do this, they give individuals a host of options to choose from in order to create a character that is differentiated from the rest. Practically every part of a character can be dressed up and decorated, and the number of outfits and accessories to equip is impressive. To earn these items, however, players must gain levels by playing matches and just generally owning fools. It’s an incentive-based system that certainly looks to reward players for putting in hours with plenty of outfitting choices and the chance to carve out one’s own distinct sense of identity. Do note, however, that there will be microtransactions and a cash-shop of sorts, but we’ve been assured by the developers that the game will not be pay-to-win.

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Loadout is a title that combines elements from games like Borderlands, Team Fortress 2 and Monday Night Combat. In doing this, it seeks to accomplish the feat of being a free-to-play shooter that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but rather gives players plenty of customization options and an experience that can be picked up and enjoyed right away. From the graphics to the gameplay mechanics, this is a title that understands what it is, and that a game does not need to be mind-blowingly complex to be fun. In that, Loadout remembers that moments of chaos and enjoyment can be ascertained through simple gameplay and a goofy, attractive art style. Sometimes less is more, and that proverb surely seems to fit Loadoat’s premise: less complexities, more entrainment; plain and simple, ladies and gentleman. Be on the lookout for Edge of Reality’s F2P shooter when it launches on Steam later this year.