After around 2 years in Early Access Hell Let Loose has reached its full release date and it’s better than ever. The brutal combat, detailed maps and engaging gameplay have made it one of my favourite FPS games.
Platforms: PC Steam – (Coming to PS5 & Xbox Series X/S late 2021)
Players: Up to 100 players
Genres: FPS, WW2, Multiplayer
Developer: Black Matter
Hell Let Loose Review
Back in October 2017 the Kickstarter for Hell Let Loose successfully wrapped. I’d backed the game eagerly awaited the time when I would be able to play it. Over the next year or so a few closed alphas and betas were held before the game hit early access on steam. It was already shaping up to be a good game at that point. Over the course of early access, there have been multiple updates that have brought in new maps, armies, game modes, meta balances, and performance improvements. Today we have one of the most engaging and immersive WW2 FPS games on the market.
Whilst we’ve been treated to many great WW2 games over the years, to me they’ve always lacked one thing and that’s conveying the brutality of war. It sounds like an odd thing to praise, but Hell Let Loose is one such game that gives you truly horrifying gameplay moments. Grenades, tank shells, artillery strikes, and bombing runs are all devastating in their own right and there is nothing more terrifying than seeing those coming your way. Whether it be a grenade dropping at your feet in a trench, the turret of a tank slowly turning towards you as your desperately scramble for cover, or the distant sounds of a bombing run getting ever closer. You will feel scared by all of them. what’s worse is when you yourself make it safely only to see a squadmate a second too late and exploding before your eyes. Hell Let Loose delivers brutal visceral combat at all times.
The reason I mention this as one of the best parts of the game is that it creates an immersive experience. Every firefight feels dangerous, every corner you peak you risk getting killed and it feels like it matters.
Large Scale Warfare
Hell Let Loose features 50 vs 50 battles across maps km’s long and wide. Each map has been accurately recreated to resemble real-life locations and places that saw some of the bloodiest conflicts during the war. They all look incredible and are packed with detail to help package together with the immersive experience. That being said, don’t think that because you’re fighting on such large maps you will constantly fighting across long distances or engaging entire armies at once.
More often than not, my squad will find themselves engaged in smaller pockets of action that can last upwards of 20 minutes. When you know an enemy squad has an outpost located nearby or a garrison. It can be a game of cat and mouse to find where each other are coming from. You can find yourself pinned down by a well-placed MG and have to spend 10 minutes flanking to take them down and allow the rest of your team to push an objective. These smaller-scale battles can be just as engaging and fun as a push to an objective with your entire team. Sometimes even just hunting another recon squad as recon yourself can be excellent fun.
Within a standard squad of six, you have access to various roles. Standard Riflemen, assault, machine gunner, medic, anti-tank and more. Each of these classes plays a specific role and having a good balance across a squad can be vital to your success. As you play with each role you’ll earn XP and rank up the individual roles which can unlock new clothing options and more important variations on your loadout. For example, the anti-tank role that might start with an RPG can unlock satchel charges instead. The loadouts are pretty set so there isn’t the option to mix and match, but this is on purpose and to try and help balance the game.
Then have armour squads and recon squads that sit separately. However, they also progress in the same way. Progression can feel fairly slow at times. That being said, I think it harkens nicely back to a time where simply playing the game unlocked new items.
Another key area to creating an immersive gaming experience is how it sounds. I’ve already mentioned how good the maps look. However, a special mention needs to go to the sounds. The sound of planes flying overhead, distant ambient explosions all help build the world. Furthermore, the weapons sound fantastic MG’s pack a meaty punch as bullets whiz by your head running through a trench or side alley. The signature ping of the M1 is as satisfying as ever. Additionally, the vehicles sound loud and deadly as shells explode around you. But for me, the best sounds come from artillery strikes, the ricochet of rockets on tanks armour and the terrifying sound of bombing runs rumbling towards you. All of these sounds culminate in such an excellent audio experience.
Teamwork & The Community
One thing that I think can turn people off of games like this is the fact that teamwork is an important part of the game and succeeding. Yes, teamwork is important and communicating with your squad can be hugely beneficial. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time if you’re not the most talkative or don’t fancy chatting with strangers. I’ve had success both with squads who talk a lot and others that don’t say a word. Generally, if you’re playing an objective or actively trying to contribute to the overall success of your team you will do well.
That being said, the community surrounding the game has always been very welcoming and helpful. I myself play with a community group called Helly’s Heroes who run unique events and are always open to playing with new players. But there are communities all over the place that are willing to take on new players or veterans. Below is a recent video of playing with the Helly’s Heroes group.
Hell Let Loose is one of my favourite games right now and is easily my favourite WW2 FPS game I’ve ever played. But it doesn’t end there. Developers Black Matter has released a roadmap for future content including the British forces, new maps, new weapons and vehicles and loads more. The future for this already fantastic game is looking very bright.