Black Matter released Hell Let Loose in early access back in June 2019, and they made a ton of improvements leading up to the full release 2 years later, in June 2021. The game has seen even more updates, content additions, and gameplay balances since then. So where are we in 2023 and what is this game all about?
Hell Let Loose is a WW2 hardcore tactical shooter pitting up to 100 players, split up into two teams of 50, against each other. It tries to stay as true to life as possible and executes this goal very well. You can choose to play as the commander of the whole team, a squad leader, or a soldier. Armored divisions, snipers, and infantry will be the primary makeup of your army. There are a total of 6 classes to choose from, depending on the play style you choose. On the main screen you’re greeted with musical anthems from the nations you’ll be representing in the game. You can choose between the Allies (the United States and the Soviet Union) or the Axis (Germany). The character models are pretty good but could use some more customization options. You can’t change a lot as characters go, but there are a few outfit options. Hopefully, with future DLC and free content releases, they’ll be adding more options to choose from. I’m personally ok with the lack of character customization because that’s not the primary focus here.
As I previously stated, Hell Let Loose is a hardcore tactical shooter. TTK times are low, as expected for a shooter of this caliber, and feel very life-like. You put a soldier in your iron sights, pull the trigger, and watch their body rag doll to the ground. Remember, we didn’t have the armor plates we have today. Be careful, though, since team killing is most definitely a part of the game. Hell Let Loose is a slower-paced tactical shooter than I’m used to, and I love if for that. I’m not a huge fan of “sweat fest” games.
If playing as a soldier, you work with a squad that consists of a squad leader and his mates. Your overall job is to move the front lines forward to the enemy territory. You move these lines forward by capturing points. The squad leader can communicate with the members of his squad and the leaders of the other squads, as well as the commander. Communication is key here to survive and win the battle. If you don’t have a headset, you better run out to the store and purchase one before trying to play this title. Commanders are tasked with looking at a map overview screen and coordinating the various squads at his/her disposal to win the battle. One hiccup in the chain of communication from the top down to you as a soldier could potentially mean a lost capture point. As a soldier, your job is to listen to your squad leader, even if that means holding a defensive position away from the main engagement area so the enemy doesn’t sweep around and try to pinch your main forces trying to take a vital area. I once spent 15 minutes holding a bunker with my squad without firing my weapon at all, but that was a key decision by our commander, as shortly afterward, the enemy started trying to rotate around the main force in order to take points farther into the map. Going rogue isn’t an option here. You can’t Battlefield 2042 yourself into a capture point thinking you will win the war. You must work together to survive. All forms of communication are important, from a spotter watching out for his sniper rifle-wielding compatriot, to the spotter in the tank talking to the gunner, to the squad leader telling you to sit on the log for a while as you await orders from the commander.
Hell Let Loose is a very visually appealing game as well. If you have a capable PC, running this game at the highest settings is stunningly beautiful. The maps are densely populated with trees and vegetation and appropriate buildings filled with variation. Despite being released in early access in 2021, Hell Let Loose still feels like a next-gen experience as I play it in 2023. The sound team has done an excellent job as well, with the sound design complementing the overall visual feel perfectly.
Where are we today? Hell Let Loose continues to pump out regular content updates. They’ve added nighttime maps, winter maps, and various cosmetics. It’s safe to say this game isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, as the development team has been very communicative with the player base. They even have a roadmap set up for future content releases and prospective timelines.
Hell Let Loose may not be for everyone, but it’s certainly worth being praised for what it has accomplished. If you want a slower-paced hardcore tactical shooter set in WW2 that relies on communicative teammates, then there isn’t a better title out there right now. Hell Let Loose is a beautiful, dark, and realistic take on the genre that most games steer clear of these days.
I agree with the author , best w2 shooter there is currently. It’s just really hard to get into on a skill level basis
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