Hell Let Loose
Black Matter/Team17 Digital
Our squad leader barked orders at us as we scrambled into the front yard of a cottage. We were on the outskirts of the Norman town of St Marie Du Mont and as Americans, had weathered quite a considerable German blitzkrieg—or so we thought.
Just as our last man made it into the relative safety of the cottage’s yard someone cried out: “Panzer!” I looked down a dreary, tree-flanked road and saw the silhouette of a German tank. Our squad leader hatched out a quick plan; we’d have our anti-tank man run out from the cottage and attempt to flank around the fearsome tank. Hitting it in its thick frontal armor wouldn’t work, but a shot from the side or rear by an armor-piercing round might just do the trick.
Our AT man managed to move quickly, crouched-down, through the woods which surrounded the tank and reported coming up on the tank’s seven o’clock zone. A rear hit would almost certainly put the Panzer out of its misery, it had to.
Suddenly, our would-be savior called out on our shared comms. He’d been spotted by German infantry who’d been using the tank for cover and summarily shot to death. As the tank’s treads creaked ever closer towards our cottage location, the situation looked increasingly dire…
There are only a handful of games out there that I refer to as “emergent storyteller generators.” When it comes to the shooter genre, only Squad and Escape From Tarkov come to mind. Well, that is until now. Game developers, Black Matter, have crafted a World War 2 shooter that has completely taken the genre by storm, and it’s called Hell Let Loose.
Distilled to its core, Hell Let Loose is a resource-based, first-person shooter where both American and German forces vie for territorial control. As platoon-size elements occupy sectors of control, they can seize unique resources that bolster their respective team’s assets.
The key here is that Hell Let Loose places a hefty emphasis on teamwork and communication, so lone wolfs need not apply. Each side, both American and German, can be comprised of up to fifty soldiers. Yes, that means that servers can contain up to one-hundred people, a feat that was promised in another WW2 shooter called Post Scriptum, yet failed to deliver.
Thankfully, this is a game that values historical accuracy. You’ll get to wield classic weapons such as the M-1 Garand and the Kar-98. You’ll also be able to crew mighty tanks, with more vehicles on the way (such as transport vehicles) in future updates.
All of the weapons feel as though they have some gravitas to them, as opposed to feeling light and floaty. The tanks are also scaled correctly (for once) so that when you stand next to one, you feel tiny, instead of feeling like you’re standing by a Volkswagen bug.
The environments are also beautifully rendered, and you’ll be locked in 50 v 50 battles to the death across vast fields, dense forests, ravaged towns, and busted bridges. The maps display some serious attention to detail and are all 1:1 scaled battlefields, each of which would take upwards of fifteen minutes to traverse by foot.
Combat is both extremely tactical and brutal. One well-placed shot can mean death for those who become a little too reckless. Fortunately, just as in Rising Storm 2: Vietnam or Squad, you can patch yourself up within a certain amount of time, if you receive a mere grazing wound. Medics are also part of the battle (as they should be) and can revive fallen teammates, provided they’re not too badly damaged. In other words, no one is going to be getting up after taking a direct hit from a tank shell.
This isn’t an arcade-y arena shooter where you spawn in, die in ten seconds or so, quickly spawn in again, die again, etc., such as your typical Call of Duty or Battlefield title. Here, you’ll see the bodies of both your fallen comrades as well as those of the enemy, lingering on the battlefields for quite some time. This lends a much more realistic vibe to the grisly proceedings.
Plans are in the works for a sprawling Utah Beach map, such as was famously featured in the film, Saving Private Ryan. The devs plan for the map to not only encompass the beach, but also the rolling hills above and beyond that area. More weapons, vehicles, and gameplay systems are also on the game’s development roadmap, which is exciting to say the least.
But as it stands now, Hell Let Loose is one of the most immersive (if not the most) WW2 shooters that I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. Just make sure that you come prepared with a mic as this is a team-centric experience.
Hell Let Loose features some pretty nice looking graphics that make its WW2 gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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