Locked and loaded for a good time
By Lee Marcussen
Reviewed on Xbox One
Released on August 30th, 2016 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC
Developer: Perfect World Entertainment Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
Robots, guns, and massive amounts of enemies, what isn't there to love? That is exactly what Perfect World has brought to the table with this great top down shooter titled Livelock.
Livelock's story begins with humanities knowledge of an oncoming cataclysm that would knock out all biological life, ending the human race. Humans were forced to evolve because of this, so scientists then transferred human minds into artificial intellects. The human's minds were placed in a sanctuary called Eden and protected by an AI named Satcom, but the cataclysm took out all of earth so there are other machines trying to find the sanctuary. “The Few” were a set of special intellects that were activated by Satcom to find the Eden and stop the endless war between intellects and the machines. “The Few” include three chassis types named Hex, Vanguard, and Catalyst. They all have different weapons and special abilities.
I played a majority of the campaign split with Vanguard and Hex. Vanguard is a melee style sort of heavy gunner machine. Set up with melee gauntlets that are used to punch enemies, a heavy cannon weapon, and a missile mine launcher. Vanguard is also set up with interchangeable special abilities which include things like a front facing half circle shield, a foot stomp that opens a fiery fault that damage enemies, and an explosive circle to name a few. Hex is set up to be a more infantry style, featuring a battle rifle, a three round burst fire, and a highly concentrated plasma rifle. Hex’s abilities include cluster mines and an armor power up. Last is Catalyst, a character I didn’t play much as time with but had a weapon that fired a beam of electricity that could hurt enemies and also heal teammates. Her abilities include a deployable drone turret and drones. A cool feature is the customization of your machines. You have the choice of nine different articles of “clothing” for the head, chest and cape. You could also upgrade your weapons based on leveling up and earning the in game credits found on dead intellects or in hidden caches. You can also upgrade abilities and inter-change abilities. During fire fights there are random drops like when you kill bosses they will drop overlock power ups that last about twenty seconds and give you different bonuses. Some include a melee bonus with invulnerability, faster functions and faster movements. These are very helpful in combat. A big part of the game is the scores you get in the missions, as they are added up by the amount of kills you get, time it took to complete the mission, times you die, and the multipliers you get in game. The multipliers work by chaining kills together, specifically more than five enemies in a short amount of time. Keep killing and your multiplier keeps adding up but ends after short time of non-combat. After every enemy you kill they drop blue tokens that add to your general score multiplier but it also goes down one number after a certain amount of time passes without killing.
Livelock’s campaign is the same through the whole series of acts just shooting the enemy machines, spicing it up with special objectives from time to time. Some of my favorite missions are in Act I, where you have to escort a walking mechanized machine that has the ability to turn enemy machines into friendly ones. You have to battle the enemy in order to get the walking mech into the right area. Another is where you have to cross a huge bridge and destroy the turret systems in order to get more friendly machines to join the fight. These objectives help break up the constant shooting and clearing areas that most missions entail. There are several types of enemy machines that you fight against, including simple infantry machines, small suicide bots (similar to tickers in Gears of War), bigger melee oriented machines, snipers, and mortar style bots. Every so often, you encounter special machines that have double health or special abilities kind of like smaller boss rounds mixed into the normal combat, which gives an added challenge. There are bigger bosses at the end of chapters and end of the acts. Something that I was worried about when I first started was dying and then having to restart the whole mission but Livelock lets you respawn through drop pods that let you control where they fall. This allows you to get away from combat, which is great in the higher levels because I ended up dying a lot. Another mode that is available to play besides the main campaign is a survival mode which just sends waves of enemies with increasing difficulty, and this mode I found quite enjoyable and really liked the change of gameplay.
Overall, the gameplay in Livelock is what you make of it, you can pick Vanguard and go balls to the wall and fist fight every enemy or you could pick Hex/Catalyst and fall back and shoot. You really get to play how you want. Some missions get a little wild with the amounts of enemies all attacking at once or in a big boss fight. The weapon customization and abilities really help battle the enemies off and helps keep the game very interesting and intense. Your character regains health after moments of non-combat but some enemies drop health that heal you right up and if playing in co-op Catalyst can heal you as well. Graphically Livelock is great, having different textures and coloring that make the game very pleasing visually. Another cool part to the title graphically is a lot of the world is destructible. If your machine runs into a car it breaks in half or if you hit a wall it crumbles down, which adds to the engagement. Livelock’s cutscenes are well done with kind of a comic book look that ties it all together.
Livelock is a solid game for anyone who loves top down shooters. The game mechanics are all great, the missions are complex, and the weapons and abilities fit the characters really well. Graphically the game is great. I didn’t get a chance to play the co-op modes unfortunately so I can’t rate those but I bet the game would be just as good playing with 2 more of your friends. There isn’t a whole lot of bad things I can say about Livelock. The story can be a little hard to follow at times and the campaign isn’t that long but other than that I think Livelock is a very solid pick up for really any gamer. Grab some of your friends to pick it up with and kill some machines, because Livelock packs a punch!
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 9/10
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