Lately, when the terms free-to-play is mentioned along with a video game, we automatically think the worst. We’ve all been there and seen the miserable experience that can come from games of the sort. All too often they are riddled with pay walls that prevent you from enjoying the game, and they generally just suck. Loadout, a F2P third-person shooter available on PC, features none of these issues. Instead, it follows a more Dota-like model that lets you enjoy the game as much as you like for free, and it only puts cosmetic items and XP boosts behind the paywall. But is the shooting any good? Well keep reading the post and watch the video that follows to find out.
The video we recorded below explains the gameplay, but in case you are the kind of person who prefers to see things in writing, it plays like a third-person shooter. WASD controls your character, and the mouse aims. You shoot with a left-click, zoom down the sites with a right click, and so on. Additionally, because this is a fast-paced shooter like Quake and Unreal, you can double tap on the move directions to roll, allowing you to pull of some slick evasive maneuvers. You can also jump with the Space bar, which is often necessary to avoid incoming fire from your enemies.
To make it easier to understand, check out the video we created breaking down what the game has to offer:
There are a number of game modes such as capture the flag (the flag is replaced with a hammer that can be used to beat down enemies), a mode that sees you killing enemies and walking over there bodies to confirm the kill, and plenty of others that you might expect from a shooter.
Sound and Visuals
The game uses an art style that is sort of like Team Fortress 2, but with enough variance that it doesn’t feel like a rip off. Basically, it has a cartoon look and feel, which is a huge shift compared one to of the other key aspects of this game’s visuals; the gore. This game takes the blood and guts and cranks it up 11 at all times. Characters lose limbs, heads, and even their entire midsection while being shot. If some serious gore turns you off, you might not like this game. However, the cartoony nature of the art style makes the gore less offputting, since it’s not real looking humans being blown away, but rather fun looking cartoon characters. Still, it’s something to keep in mind before you jump and in play the first time. (See the video above for a more detailed look at the kinds of things you can expect.)
The sound is also quite good, featuring a level of detail you might not expect to see from a free-to-play game. The only annoyance I have with the sound is the noise it makes when your shots hit the enemy player, but at the same time, it does a great job of letting you know your shots are making contact, which is nice. You can also turn this noise down in the settings, which is a nice inclusion.
Other Cool Stuff
Aside from the shooting, one of the things that makes Loadout stand out is the level of customization. While most shooters in a post Call of Duty 4 world have the ability to customize your soldiers kit, but in this game, you actually get to build your own gun, with the ability to tweak everything from the type of bullets it fires to the scope. This goes well beyond the basic attachments you will find in most shooters, and it really makes your gun feel like something you created from your own sick mind.
Additionally, you can customize the look of your character. This, again, further adds to making everything feel like your own, but most of the look changes do require you to spend money, which is where we get to the game’s free-to-play model.
As far as F2P games go, this one is not bad. All of the purchases are things like XP boosts and cosmetic items. You can absolutely jump in and have as much fun as you like playing this game without spending a penny, and that’s really all you can ask for. It feels like a multiplayer shooter that you would pay $60 for, and that’s a pretty solid compliment.
Overall, I quite like Loadout. It’s been a while since I’ve really gotten hooked on a PC shooter, but this one grabbed me. The dichotomy between the cartoony art style and over-the-top blood is actually comical, and it makes the intense shooting action feel lighthearted. Since it’s free, there is no reason not to give it a download and check it out.