I was fortunate to be admitted to the closed beta last spring, and have watch Loadout develop and grow into a more complete game over the last year. Much has changed in the past year, but the two major aspects of the game, fast action and being able to create a weapon that you enjoy playing with, have remained intact and largely the same. Now the game is finally being released this Friday (Jan 31, 2014).
Loadout at its core is a third person team shooter that is focused of intense and fast combat. The maps are small, but not too small, and the variety of weapons is enormous. After each match your account receives experience and blutes. Experience allows you to unlock additional slots for creating new weapons and creating new loadouts, which determine which of your awesome guns and additional equipment you spawn with. Blutes are used to buy weapon upgrades. During matches the weapon you use also adds experience to the weapon type it belongs to in order to unlock additional upgrades for purchase with blutes.
Being a free-to-play game the main concern is always whether or not the micro transactions permeate the game way too much. We I am happy to report that paying is in no way pushed onto you. Although you can buy experience and blutes boosts, you still have to play matches to earn the extra experience, and blutes most of the paid items are simply vanity items. The only real down side is that the number of weapons you can customize, and the loadouts you can take into matches are limited to your level, unless you buy the extra slots, and your level doesn’t go up very quickly.
Right when you get into the game you can create a pretty decent weapon that will allow you to compete. Also, if you find yourself getting murdered too often you can pick up any weapon off the ground, even if you couldn’t create the weapon yourself. Different weapon components for building weapons can be bought only with blutes, and once purchased are available to be used in as many weapons as you desire. There is also a weapon progression system that opens up new components for purchase as you use a particular type of weapon, such rifles.
Something I think that would add to the awesomeness of being able to create weapons is if there was some way to copy or share your weapons with your friends. I just think it would add to the cool factor of the game.
Another concern that might occur post launch is if there is too big of a difference between lower and higher levels in term of firepower. However, the match making system handles this very well as I have never been in a game that I felt was one sided.
Daily bonuses definitely help though. Each day after the first match you play you’ll get an extra boost of blutes from a chest that you select from three available ones, and for your first win of the day gives you an experience and blutes boost.
Matches are fast paced and intense. When you spawn you never have far to go to get to the action, but at the same time I have experienced any problems with spawn-killing, or dying as soon as I spawn.
The graphic are cartoonish, but fit the character of the game and don’t detract from the experience. The controls are very responsive, and fully re-bindable. A nice touch is also being able to disable or change what double tapping the directional keys do. At first I thought that the double tapping to roll felt a little too sensitive, but after a short amount of time I got used to the responsiveness and actually prefer it to other options for rolling.
Altogether Loadout is a fun and great experience, and I don’t think that there is any good reason to avoid giving it a try.