Loadout is an over-the-top arena shooter that delivers an impressive arsenal of firepower for you to lay waste upon your enemies with. It’s a simple concept, but it’s one that Edge of Reality has managed to construct as a solid beginning for their venture into the realm of free-to-play. The only question that remains is whether or not Loadout’s gory and comedic violence is enough to keep you coming back for more.
Before you start any free-to-play game, it’s important to distinguish the difference between what real world and in-game currency gets you. For many, this makes or breaks their decision to jump in with everything they’ve got. It’s hard to justify investing time into a game to earn the best equipment when you wind up facing off against someone that simply dropped a bill payment on a decked out weapon.
Loadout isn’t that game.
There’s plenty to keep you coming back without ever forcing you to empty your bank account. Blutes, Loadout’s in-game currency, can be acquired in abundance simply by investing time into the game. Spacebucks, however, require you to spend cash in order to access a range of items to equip your avatar with. These range from a beer ammunition vest to a Gangnam inspired victory dance taunt. It’s peculiar that Edge of Reality has prevented players from acquiring any avatar items with Blutes, but you’ll likely forget all about it once you start investing your heart and soul into the essence of what Loadout is about, that being its robust weapon crafting system.
Exploring every inch of Loadout’s weapon customization is a blast even from the very beginning and should be taken advantage of before you start investing deeply into certain upgrades. Experimenting with different combinations is easy, considering Edge of Reality made the wise decision of letting you test different builds regardless of whether you have the necessary Blutes to build them. Really, it’s a saving grace. Quickly jumping between customization and testing allows you to map your route to ultimate destruction, and even comes along with a tech tree option that gives you a wider outline of where your investments will lead you.
Where you end up on the Tech Tree can truly be a mystery, but each destination begins by choosing your weapon’s chassis. Players can select a rifle chassis that shoots your run of the mill bullets, launchers that fire off self-propelled rockets, a pulse chassis which will unleash a fury of fast-moving projectiles, or a Beam will unleash a stream of pure firepower. Any of these core parts can be combined with a range of parts and bullet effects for unique concoctions of death dealing.
How you choose to play is entirely up to the types of weapons your mind creates, but remember, this is an arena shooter and doing anything other than staying on the move is going to reduce your character into bloody chunks. This is especially true at the beginning of each match, where players are huddled together waiting to unleash an arsenal into the crowd and be the last team standing.
Edge of Reality capitalizes on this insanity by including four different game modes that range from capturing your enemies’ Hammer to collecting precious mining materials as your teammates protect you. Additionally, these four modes can all be played across the four maps that are currently available. In spite of the small offerings, Loadout still delivers a worthwhile package of chaos and humor that keeps pulling you back in for more. Often times, the game is so fast-paced that you’re more concerned with staying alive than taking in the scenery, but it helps that it has such a fine level of visual polish.
Of course, enjoying the game’s fast paced action relies on the assumption that matchmaking is functioning properly. Many people have reported serious issues with Loadout’s matchmaking services since launch, but the only significant difficulties I encountered occurred over a single day. Luckily, Edge of Reality caught the issue early and worked to resolve it quickly. I did occasionally find myself fending off against multiple enemies by my lonesome, but often this was a result of players quitting, rather than the matchmaking system itself.
Much of what makes Loadout such an enjoyable experience are the cartoonish visuals that wrap up the game in a neatly bound package of chaos. Essentially, it feels like someone took parts of Team Fortress 2, fused them with Borderlands’ weapon possibilities and injected them with the arena-based chaos of Unreal Tournament. All of these elements blend into a slick package with equal parts charm and anarchy.
If you’re looking for a new fast-paced arena shooter to satisfy your desire for chaos, then Loadout is literally a click away. Mixing hilarious over-top-violence with an impressive arsenal of firepower creates a unique free-to-play package. You’ll easily find yourself lost in match after match, addicted to harvesting XP and Blutes, all in search of finding that perfect loadout for maximum destruction.
This review is based on the PC version of the game, which was provided to us for review.