PC gamers around the globe became hooked on the sincerity of Hell Let Loose, now console gamers are next in line.
As hosting technology continues to improve, so do our expectations; we don’t want to be able to run upside down on ceilings, we want realism, we want to feel part of the game. Video games have become rather skilled at achieving convincing visuals, but the context underpinning those visuals can pale in comparison. Whilst true that some games don’t warrant or desire being true to life, some do try, and some fail. The genre of warfare games abbreviated to the term ‘Milsim’ (military simulators) was born from this desire for realism and has since gained popularity in recent years because they offer a raw, cerebral gaming experience over scoreboards and distracting character designs. One of those such games that has garnered many approving looks is Hell Let Loose, a game that tries to attain realistic combat, giving players a real taste of WWII warfare. Running on the Unreal Engine 4 and built by Black Matter, Hell Let Loose was published by Team 17 on Xbox and PlayStation consoles just a few weeks back after a successful tenure as a PC exclusive – it has thoroughly impressed us and we would love to tell you about it.
What does Hell Let Loose gameplay involve?
Played solely in first-person, Hell Let Loose requires a team-based approach to warfare; voice communication is non-negotiable as you tap into unit-specific channels, like Snipers and Spotters (of which there are only one on each team) and Infantry, as well as proximity channels too. Getting to grips with Hell Let Loose took me a few games, but the tension of gameplay struck and stayed with me, I felt as though I was the last man standing in a jittery Battle Royale game. I ran for my life across a field, gun fire whistled over my head and scuttled into the dirt around me – I knew one well-placed shot was more than enough to kill me. The hardcore shooter mechanics that make Hell Let Loose just so satisfying (and gruelling) prevent you from running care-free through machine gun flurries or firing dangerously close to team-mates. Often, I didn’t manage to discern how my character met his death, only that I got obliterated and punished for taking my eye off the ball for a split-second. The game physics are admittedly rudimental but run well, scaling walls, crawling along the floor in prone and jumping through walls are not the most fluid motions I have ever seen, but they are functional and take nothing away from the gaming experience. Hell Let Loose is not a triple-AAA game with a huge budget and it plays extremely well considering. Anyhow, if you want to see how this game looks, check out this JackFrags gameplay video below!
'I ran for my life across a field, gun fire whistled over my head and scuttled into the dirt around me – I knew one well-placed shot was more than enough to kill me. The hardcore shooter mechanics that make Hell Let Loose just so satisfying (and gruelling).'
What strategy does the game require?
Hell Let Loose is not for the faint of heart or for those looking for a quick 15-minute solo adventure; prepare to be surrounded by death and caught in the tide of sundry team-based manoeuvres – you don’t want to be the weak link. Hell Let Loose concerns itself with strategic movements to flank and subvert the enemy rather than arbitrary scoreboards – you are victorious when you out-smart your opponent, when you capture a zone and drive the enemy back, not when you kill 25 players. Describing Hell Let Loose as all-out warfare would be selling it short, insinuating that the game is more chaotic than it is pragmatic, but don’t get me wrong, the 50 vs 50 battles between Soviet, American, and German armies are totally mad and enthralling. There is something very atavistic about successfully co-ordinating an attack, charging as a squad and scaring the living daylights out of your adversaries. Like any worthwhile warfare shooter, the frontline and direction of battle is always evolving and shapeshifting, moving in the favour of those who embrace the USP of Hell Let Loose: teamwork, because without that synergy of effort and toil you will be quickly overrun by those who do cooperate. Corporals fight and build, Officers keep their team alive and non-combatant Commanders delegate sections of the offensive to Officers just as they would in the real theatres of war. It’s a neat hierarchy.
Is the gunplay any good?
You know your foe is dead when you see him fall, no blind grenade kills, no hit counters – oh the virtues of hardcore shooting. The fact that shooting in Hell Let Loose is unadorned is exactly what makes skirmishes so enjoyable: they realise our vision of how shooting ought to be, how it really would be. After all, this is what is so unique about Hell Let Loose: its harsh representation of fighting. Wherever I went in the France-themed map I played, I had guns ringing around me, a sniper crackling in the distance, the cries of my team-mates getting splattered with bullets – it is near impossible to avoid getting drawn into the brutal atmosphere of this game. As you ensconce yourself in the sound, you can sneak up on an enemy squad and, so long as your magazine has a few bullets capacity, wipe them all out – clearing a building has never been easier. More, the absence of hit markers and gamertags in-game allows players to better blend into their environment, it’s not like you have a shortage of space to do so. Hell Let Loose sports some huge maps designed to replicate real battlegrounds, the landscape genuinely looks as sombre and defeated as it would have done after being beaten down by war. All factors of gameplay, shooter mechanics, audio, visuals among them, are minimally designed – little is superfluous, leaving nothing to the imagination, an approach that makes Hell Let Loose such an intense and addictive play.
'Wherever I went in the France-themed map I played, I had guns ringing around me, a sniper crackling in the distance, the cries of my team-mates getting splattered with bullets – it is near impossible to avoid getting drawn into the brutal atmosphere of this game.'
Are there any other gaming modes?
Gamers can choose between three modes of battle: Warfare, Offensive and an RTS mode. Warfare mode entails players seeking to capture and hold zones spread out across the map while Offensive Mode places two teams, one attacking and one defending, against one another – your job is to either maintain defence or break said defence. The third game mode is an RTS-like game focusing on the building of defences and managing resources which somehow need to be generated. Whatever gritty form of battle you want to take on, Hell Let Loose has something for you to get your rifle butt stuck into.
Hell Let Loose closely resembles other FPS Milsim games on PC, like Squad, but remains as the paragon of the genre available on the Xbox and PlayStation consoles. Some have wanted a different taste than what is offered from the typical shooter titles, such as the Battlefield and Call of Duty series, shifting their gaze towards games such as Hell Let Loose that aim to represent truer feelings of war. I just loved the unromantic and genuine take Hell Let Loose has on warfare, with its spurts of fast-paced survival, inescapable terror of gun fire and unforgiving shooter mechanics. Better still, just recently have Team 17 announced new Eastern Front content coming to the game, giving players further opportunity to place themselves in the military boots of infantrymen in the Second World War. I just had to see what all the Hell Let Loose buzz was about and, like many others, I am very glad I did; this game is remorseless, forthright and downright petrifying – I love it!