Guns… lots of guns.
So you’ve got a few minutes to waste and the money to support a video gaming habit while you’re at it. What could possibly fill this void but an unnecessarily obvious shooter called Loadout, one packed to the gills with grunting, mutated, and largely void-of-personality character models you won’t care about shooting. Yes, it’s one of those Eggnog-induced stocking stuffer digital titles that promise a lot and deliver on getting you back to that blockbuster action game or even movies. Yes, even movies.
Normally, you couldn’t get me not to endorse a shooter. Obviously, this market is made up of many different core genres but the player often gets lost as the subject in a medium usually content to lead with the ever-present “Follow” objective marker. Loadout lacks a metaphorical impetus for its brutish actions and then capitalizes on it with heaps of unnecessary gameplay you’ll need friends to fully enjoy.
I like to think of games offering something underemphasized or even unattended in their expression of an idea or a larger narrative you can soak up. Loadout does not do this at all. Loadout says you’re a guy, you’ve got a Rambo-style haircut or some other appropriate lack of definition other than meat-headed-ness and tells you to protect or attack. Hold this position with your rifles and grenades or try to kill as many opponents as possible. Maybe do both. If you’re capable, you’d think the game may comment, but it can’t even muster the customary “maggot” or “lump” to finish its insult.
That leaves the actual content to blame for being so boring. While the shooter controls themselves are entertaining enough with the PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4 controller, they feel floaty and largely inaccurate. It’s like using digital touch controls without all the thumb’s obnoxious self-loathing.
With the title being free-to-play, you should have an idea of what to expect before downloading. You can take on loads of missions, fight back tons of not-all-that-different enemies, and equip plenty of different firearms, but it’s camaraderie that will offer the most entertainment. Getting along with friends in-game and seeing how awkwardly the unlock chain continues over voice-chat will at least provide a few hours of gaming. What I don’t understand is the actual expenditure of time on Loadout’s largely shallow suite of shooter mechanics.
I’d rather go much further out of my way to actually shoot a gun than play Loadout. The title’s third-person camera and weapon mechanics feel not unlike those found in Uncharted 3’s multiplayer, but I hated that game’s competitive suite too. Working with another player does help ease the progression of Loadout, but frustration awaits anyone taking a risk. Be in the mood for free-to-play fighting before you leap into action while browsing the PlayStation Network store.
I love to waste time with video games, but Loadout seems to point the gun in the wrong direction and then fire dud rounds at all the wrong ideas. The package offers plenty of gameplay and you could certainly get a kick out of using Vita remote play to while away commercials on TV, but you probably have other games to play too. Don’t be afraid to abandon this and wait for a really bored day with friends to revisit.
Code provided by publisher. Review based on PlayStation 4 version. Also available on PC.