Hell Let Loose is not a casual experience. This is not a fast-paced multiplayer FPS experience like some of the biggest shooters out there, but rather one of those multiplayer experiences where communication is key and everyone in the squad needs to execute their role properly. Without either or both of these components, things will get difficult for the team and battles will be harder to win.
Hell Let Loose has two main game modes – Offensive and Warfare – with matches fought between two teams of 50. Each team of 50 is then subdivided further into individual squads for infantry, recon and armor, each with its own leader and a set of different roles for everyone to choose from. These include things like rifleman, medic, machine gunner, tank crew, sniper, and spotter, but there’s many more that make up a well-rounded squad.
Every element is key and no one unit can really survive without the other. Anyone who tries to lone wolf it will soon find themselves in some bother. For example, an automatic rifleman is great for laying down suppressing fire but will go through bullets quickly. Unlike other games you cannot just pick up another weapon from the ground or run around and collect ammo. Instead, an automatic rifleman will need a regular rifleman to drop an ammo supply box nearby. Meanwhile, the only way to be revived when you’re downed is for a Medic to help you out. All of this is marshalled by what you hope is a competent Squad Leader to direct you and set up tactical points for the squad to spawn at outside of the beginning spawn points.
Finding where you fit into all of this takes time to figure out as you bounce between different roles when respawning, but it also helps to look at your squad’s composition and try to find a class that is in need. Personally, I favoured the Medic role as it meant getting people back in the fight quickly.
Both modes can be boiled down to capturing zones. In Offensive the defending team controls all areas of the map while the attacking team has to work to take all of the territory to get victory. In Warfare, the map is evenly divided and the team that either controls all sectors or the majority at the end of the battle will be the victor. There are control points across the maps, and these can go back and forth as one side gains control before the other fights back, potentially with a dramatic comeback. In a match on Purple Heart Lane my team had managed to push all the way and get to the final holdout of the enemy. However, the enemy team had dug in well and with eight minutes to go the enemy team mounted a massive push, taking away my side’s gains and resulting in our loss. A change can happen at any point during a match and victory is not certain until the very end.
Communication, as mentioned, is key. This is where Hell Let Loose will live or die as more people join the servers. From playing online, with cross-play enabled, there were a number of times I would join a squad, and no one spoke, leading to an isolated feeling fight. When in a squad where people talked to each other, the difference was significant and it really felt like the team was working together to meet objectives.
As a regular soldier there are two main channels to communicate on, these being squad and proximity. In the squad channel you will be in touch with your squad members wherever they are across the map, while in proximity you can talk to any other teammates around you. If players want to get the full experience of Hell Let Loose then they will need to mic up and talk to each other.
The sound design is very good and it is recommended to play with headphones on, especially to take advantage of 3D audio. Hearing bullets whistling past your head and hitting the scenery around you really immerses you into the experience. Explosions going off as things blow up and mortar fire rains down just adds to the impact of being on a chaotic battleground.
Hell Let Loose looks good as well, reviewing on PlayStation 5. Even though every character looks pretty much the same, the environment shows how the war has torn through the world and people’s homes. There is desolation everywhere and the world can look bleak. There are moments of respite like finding a field of green, but that same field can become a kill zone in moments. There are a couple of visual glitches that can be spotted, but nothing too distracting that it takes you out of the action.
One issue that could put off some players is the time it can take to get to the action, but Hell Let Loose is far from an arcade shooter. Initial spawn points are at the edge of maps and it can take a bit of time to get to the frontline, punishing any team whose squad leader and commander fails to put down spawn points. You might be lucky enough to come across a transport truck that you can drive or hitch a lift in. Another issue I felt was that hits sometimes didn’t register even if aiming down sight at a target. It was noticeable on couple of occasions, so hopefully a patch and server improvements can address that.