Release Date: January 31, 2014Platform: PCDeveloper: Edge of RealityPublisher: Edge of RealityGenre: Third-person shooter, multiplayer
There’s no question that the world of online multiplayer-only shooters is still alive and kicking today, with games like Team Fortress 2 setting the standard and paving the way for other newcomers to bring the mayhem to exotic new places in our age of free content updates and Steam Early Access. But it’s only every so often that a new free-to-play multiplayer shooter comes along and completely throws any preconceived notions you had about the genre out the window: and for many, that game will be Loadout from Edge of Reality. If I had to make a comparison, I would say that Loadout is like a twisted cross between a more insane Borderlands and a more obscene Team Fortress 2, with 100% more gore and camel toe thrown in for good measure. Now if that doesn’t do it for you, then I don’t know what will!
As a third-person multiplayer shooter, both the gameplay and controls in Loadout are incredibly slick and precise. Movement and aiming is a breeze, and the framerate always chugs along at a steady pace despite the scenes of pure chaos that are constantly erupting all around you. The physics themselves are intentionally designed to be a bit wonky, but that only adds to the overall charm and allure: Loadout is a game that is meant to be just as much FUN as it is downright FUNNY. It’s a good thing, then, that the visual style of the game is nothing short of fantastic, with outrageous Team Fortress 2-esque characters and a handful of vibrant and interesting environments with just enough details (sometimes the game almost has a little TOO much detail, but more on that later).
But it many ways, it’s the deep weapon customization features that steal the show here: not only rivaling Borderlands in the insane amount of possibilities, but perhaps even bypassing it in terms of ridiculousness. Weapons can branch off from four different gun types, including Rifle, Launcher, Pulse, and Beam, and each one is more insane than the last. Once you have the foundations laid out, you’re free to move on to fine-tuning the smaller details, like different scope or barrel modifications. The weapons play such a huge role in the game that there are even several intricate upgrade paths for you to build them up even further by unlocking new parts (think character trees, but for guns).
Even outside of the battlefield, everything runs at a wonderful pace, thanks in large part to an extremely user-friendly interface. I mean, the thing even encourages you to “multitask, bro” while you’re watching for matchmaking to take place, by working on your guns or fine-tuning your latest “loadout” with a powerful new weapon and character combo. There are three different playable characters to choose from in Loadout, although the game makes it abundantly clear that there are no strict classes to be had here: character types are both defined and developed completely by the player’s customization choices.
In fact, the characters themselves play a huge role in creating the sick and oftentimes gross humor that runs rampant throughout Loadout’s tongue-in-cheek world. Easily the most grotesque thing about the game by far is the character of Helga, a morbidly obese woman with enormous knockers who loves twerking over her fallen enemies. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, you also have complete control over changing everyone’s outfits, so god help the player who puts Helga in a string bikini and pasties, as you’ll quite literally get to see all of the spoiled goods. I was actually shocked to see some of the stuff that made its way into the game, and I oddly mean that in the best way possible.
Not to be outdone by the sheer amount of NSFW sexual content in the game, Loadout also cranks up the Over-The-Top-Gore meter to well past 11. The first time I got killed in a match, my character’s arm was completed severed from their body, and a thick and oozy stream of blood just started gushing everywhere from the wound. The next time my entire torso was gutted, leaving nothing but broken ribs jutting out from my chest cavern, and the third found my body charred and stiff from flames. It’s hard to get frustrated at being killed in the game when all the brutal death animations are just so damn funny (and the glorious Kill Cam option lets you relive your awful demise from a delicious new angle).
If there’s really a bad thing to say about Loadout, it’s that the game could really use some more base content, even in its initial launch state. There are currently only four or so different maps to play on, and about just as many game types. And while these different game types all try to add a unique spin on a classic online mode (like Capture the Flag with an electrified death hammer in place of the flag), given the sheer creativity going on in the rest of the game, I guess I just would have expected a little bit more. Along these lines, it also wouldn’t hurt to have a few more characters thrown into the mix. Despite all of the crazy mix-and-match costume options to keep things looking fresh, we’re still only talking about a mere three-character roster here.
But luckily for us, Edge of Reality is already planning on keeping Loadout up-to-date with “loads” of more content in future updates. And if that new content is even a fraction of how fun, frantic, and funny the current game is, then multiplayer gamers have a whole lot of cringe-worthy violence to look forward to down the road! With its incredibly over-the-top violence, its head-spinning amount of weapon and character customization, and a smooth shooter experience to underline it all, there’s no question that you’ll be building countless loadouts in Loadout until your eyes burst out of your head in a wonderful mess of blood and head cheese.
Graphics – 10/10
Gameplay – 9/10
Music – 9/10
Multiplayer – 8/10
Replayability – 9/10