Hell Let Loose: the review of a simulative first-person shooter with a strategic soul

Although the first-person shooter landscape is largely centered on fast-paced experiences that enhance the individual's prowess, there is no shortage of alternatives that focus on broader strategic scope, realism and tension, such as this simulation FPS developed by the studio. Australian Black Matter.

Hell Let Loose often starts with long crossings, in complete silence, with his eyes fixed on the horizon to catch enemy movements. Then, suddenly, a massive explosion, bullets hissing all around and the desperation of not being able to even understand where the red-hot lead comes from which in a few moments sent all our comrades to the creator, leaving us alone and confused in the middle of the enemy territory.



We have experienced all this several times during the Hell Let Loose review, a multiplayer shooter set during the Second World War that, available for 2 years in Early Access on Steam and also arriving on PS5 and Xbox Series X | S, first convinced several funders from below on Kickstarter and, subsequently, Team 17, finally arriving in view of the final release on July 27 with an update that adds the Soviet Union as a third faction and maps of the eastern front.

A strategic shooter

Hell Let Loose: the review of a simulative first-person shooter with a strategic soul
Team play is essential

Battlefield's influence on Hell Let Loose is evident, as is the case with many other modern military shooters, and can be seen in the character progression, in the two modes focused on the conquest of strategic positions, in the different roles of the soldiers and in the division into teams of the deployments. But the mortality is high and the simulation is evident, although not extreme, and extends to all elements of a game that includes tanks, trucks, artillery, supply system, fourteen classes, fortifications and gigantic maps.



All nine maps available in the launch version, largely dedicated to the Normandy theater of war but enriched by battlefields of the eastern front with the new update, are immense and were made by feeding the Unreal Engine 4 with satellite images, aerial photographs of the time and details taken from reality. Enough for Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, according to the developers, to be 1: 1 scale with the original battlefield.

Hell Let Loose: the review of a simulative first-person shooter with a strategic soul
Spectacular and massive explosions that add a lot to the atmosphere, involvement and tension

The game areas are too large even for 100 players who in the absence of organization risk wandering around in circles, ending up quite often in the clutches of lurking enemies. All factions, with the Soviet Union joining Germany and the United States, have mirrored vehicles at their disposal that can overcome barbed wire, unlike the slower foot units, but we are still talking about trucks and tanks of the Second World War, complete with a vintage manual gearbox to learn to master. Among other things, the speed of maneuvering of the vehicles is such as to make any driving error in front of wagons or soldiers with anti-tank weapons a sentence.

The prudent use of the offensive means, divided into four degrees of armor thickness, can give great advantages on the battlefield and allows you to play on factors such as the resistant front surface, the possibility that too angled shots bounce and the possibility of repairing. the middle. However, at least two soldiers specialized in vehicles are needed, one for driving and one for weapons, and it is also good to have a third one who enjoys a much better view from the turret.



On the other hand, taking the right direction is vital. The rivers are impassable, there is smoke everywhere and the battlefield is constantly shaken by the shots of the artillery which, controlled by the players themselves, can fire at enormous distance. It is also good to pay close attention to carpet bombing that thanks to the size of the detonations and the excellent visual and graphic rendering of the explosions give a spectacle bringing destruction on a large scale. So broad and compelling that it plays a key role in Hell Let Loose's ability to make the player feel like they're in real war. The graphic rendering is far from that of a Battlefield, and there is no trace of destructibility, but speaking of tension and possible situations, the overall realism is decidedly superior.

Hell Let Loose: the review of a simulative first-person shooter with a strategic soul
You need specific classes to be able to board a wagon

I aircraft on the battlefield they are not lacking, but they are not usable. They are in fact functional only for bombings and supplies, but this removes the problem of creating extremely difficult balancing vehicles. Furthermore, the choice is compatible with a game that, as we have said, focuses more on the rhythm of a real battle than on the excited action and actions of the individual.

Having said that, the action is not lacking among tanks that appear suddenly, snipers stationed, doctors who tend to do their job saving our lives, cannons and the continuous fire of the artillery positions placed in the main bases.


Gameplay

Hell Let Loose: the review of a simulative first-person shooter with a strategic soul
Accumulating levels in individual roles allows you to unlock secondary loadouts

Huge maps, high mortality and strategic component make Hell Let Loose a game of learning curve definitely steep. Even the most successful solo action can be almost completely useless if disconnected from the strategic dynamics that are vital in such a game.


Pushing solo to the enemy's rear to place a respawn point may make sense, but enticing teammates to throw themselves into hostile territory, in a title where there's no way to quickly move from one side of the game to the other. map, it can leave a rear base uncovered, perhaps held under fire by a tank that has bypassed our deployment and can make a massacre without anti-tank units in the vicinity.

Hell Let Loose: the review of a simulative first-person shooter with a strategic soul
An enemy from behind is doomed, regardless of the weapon held

However, it is not certain that an armored vehicle is needed to eliminate enemies. A small contingent can arrive behind any unit using maps of boundless size and full of passages. From time to time the action focuses on a specific point, usually along the front, but generally there is a tendency not to risk all units in one fell swoop, which is possible. On the other hand, one or two hits are enough to eliminate an enemy in a game that, although simulation, does not push itself towards the most extreme levels. The shots, in essence, lack ballistics and go straight and hitting a spotted enemy is pretty simple.

However, it is not always easy to tell if an enemy has been caught. Visibility is often impaired by smoke or vegetation and the interface does not inform us hits hit and it is a deliberate thing that greatly influences gameplay. In fact, it pushes players to maintain barrage fire by often taking those players accustomed to sprinting to surprise the enemy with their skill off guard. But there is no skill that holds up against a well-organized team in a title with deliberately punitive mechanics that only works by taking into account the strategic aspect, including the peculiarities of the roles on which fortifications, supplies and vehicle repairs depend.

Hell Let Loose: the review of a simulative first-person shooter with a strategic soul
The visibility of the tank driver is minimal

As in Battlefield, the army of the two factions engaged in a battle is divided into teams each of which can accommodate only one soldier per role excluding the rifleman. There are no limits to the infantry squads that can be even 50, or one for each single player of a faction in a full game, but there are for armored units, those that allow you to choose soldiers capable of using vehicles and tanks. . Furthermore, there can only be two recon teams and the limitation to only one role per soldier means that there can be a maximum of two snipers per faction.

The classes, however, are 14 and include doctors, storm troops and engineers, all with special abilities that include ammunition transport, healing, mines and the ability to also build mobile guns to have an advantage on the battlefield. But to build the structures you need the supplies that push on the strategic importance of the role. The support can in fact take 50 out of their pockets while the freight trucks, other than those for transporting soldiers, carry two blocks of 150 supplies. The problem is that they are vulnerable and this is where the importance of having a good team of tankers able to move behind enemy lines comes in.

Hell Let Loose: the review of a simulative first-person shooter with a strategic soul
The ping system allows you to visually indicate points where to bomb, soldiers, enemy tanks and so on

However, they cannot intercept the commander, a particular role that we have already seen previously and which can be decisive. In addition to being able to parachute a crate of 100 supplies, the commander can give orders and can use the fuel, obtained by conquering supply nodes, for the respawn of vehicles. It can also launch carpet bombings on the instructions of soldiers who have at their disposal a fundamental ping system to indicate imminent dangers, armored units and a lot of other specific eventualities, each with its icon.

Unique experience, for better or for worse

Hell Let Loose: the review of a simulative first-person shooter with a strategic soul
Manning a building is a good way to learn how to spot enemies without the risk of being hit from all directions

Once we clarify the importance of strategy and the ease with which Hell Let Loose is eliminated, let's move on to the chiaroscuro of a very interesting shooter, and still evolving, but far from perfect. Maps based on photographs and satellite surveys, combined with a realistic palette, give a good glance. A good look at the texture and polygon count of the terrain leave something to be desired, but to distract from the flaws are the fabulous explosions, the convincing smoke, the discreet modeling of the soldiers, lots of details, believable buildings and even more convincing models of the tanks.

On the other hand, the lower detail of the trucks compared to other vehicles, the animations of the flames that go jerkily, an occasional but eye-catching pop-up and many other elements not fully finished stand out. But the sensations you feel, as we have said, are those of a realistic war, thanks to a thunderous, powerful sound sector, full of excellent samples, which pays attention to making us clearly hear the footsteps of enemies and seasoned with evocative fanfare of the time.

In support of the strategic component, moreover, there is a communication system VOIP that allows you to talk to nearby players, the team and the deployment and works well, as well as servers that between official and paid, rather expensive to be honest, abound in Europe, guaranteeing the possibility of playing with a decent ping and without long waits except for a queue, of up to 5 players, on the most popular servers.

Hell Let Loose: the review of a simulative first-person shooter with a strategic soul
A blocked supply truck can cause significant damage to the entire deployment

What is missing are interactivity and destructibility, completely absent. Even the barbed wire remains immutable, even when crossed by a tank, and we do not expect changes in this sense, both for reasons of complexity, given the size of the maps, and for performance reasons. On the other hand, even an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti sometimes drops below 60fps in 1440p, busy managing immense maps full of vegetation.

We hope instead to see faster means or maybe the paratroopers to give some more chance to overturn the situation for a disadvantaged faction, given the already punitive nature of a title that with a good commander and a well-organized army gives memorable matches, full of epic moments and satisfactions, but otherwise it turns into a real hell, including players who launch themselves on the reconnaissance teams, closing them immediately in order to arm the snipers.

PC System Requirements

Test Setup

  • Operating system: Windows 10 64bit
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Video card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition

Minimum requirements

  • Operating system: Windows 10 64bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-6600 or AMD Ryzen 3 1300X
  • Memory: 12 GB RAM
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 4GB / AMD Radeon R9 380 4GB

Recommended Requirements

  • Operating system: Windows 10 64bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-8400 or AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Scheda video: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB o AMD Radeon RX 590 8GB

Comment

Resources4Gaming.com

8.5

Readers (1)

6.0

Your vote

Hell Let Loose is a fascinating shooter, a war simulator with a strong strategic component that stands out for its ability to bring the player into a decisively realistic Second World War. The absolute lack of destructibility does not help, but when everything goes the right way the satisfactions are not lacking regardless of victory or defeat. Otherwise, the size of the map becomes a reason for frustration, complicit toxic players who, given the nature of the game, have too many ways to compromise, or in the worst case voluntarily ruin, a game making even a price of 30 euros indigestible, more than commensurate with the offer.

PRO

  • A fascinating game with bold choices
  • A strategic underlayer that adds a lot when things work as planned
  • Explosions and sound catapult you into war
AGAINST
  • In the absence of organization, frustration wins
  • It only takes a few toxic players to destroy a game irreparably
  • Fluctuating graphic sector and no interactivity with the environment
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