Hell Let Loose is not the game you once knew. Taking influence from Project Reality and Company Of Heroes, this hardcore first-person shooter previously hit Steam early access back in 2019 and since then, developers Black Matter released 9 major updates. Gradually implementing engine overhauls, new vehicles, weapons and maps, update 10 is now upon us, and Hell Let Loose introduces us to the Eastern Front as it enters full release. There’s an entertaining experience but be warned, this unforgiving venture isn’t for everyone.
Hell Hath No Fury
Unlike other shooters, Hell Let Loose isn’t concerned about kill/death ratios. What we’ve got here is a strategic 50v50 shooter across huge maps, making team communication crucial. Offering one of eleven maps like Omaha Beach, Carentan, Foy, Hurtgen Forest, Kursk and Stalingrad, these maps provide a strong sense of scale to battles, keeping you alert through clever sound design and detailed landscapes.
Depending on your location, you’ll choose from American, German, or Soviet forces, playing between two gameplay modes. “Offensive” splits players into attacking and defending teams, where defensive forces must hold both sectors of a battlefield line long enough to win. Should you fail, they cannot be recaptured, and attackers succeed by capturing an enemy HQ sector. As for “Warfare”, each team begins by occupying half the map and to win, you either take the opposing side’s HQ sector or occupy the most land before time runs out.
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Between these teams, you get divided into squads, and each player has different roles to undertake. While you’ve only got one commander per team, you can go between officers, medics, snipers, crewman, recon and other classes, catering to different playstyles. Continue using them and that’ll unlock new uniforms and loadouts through a progression system, incentivising learning a specific class. If you want to win though, finding that right unit balance with other squadmates is essential, this experience prides itself on teamwork.
However, there’s no getting around one key fact: Hell Let Loose is tough. Within the first few hours, you’ll die repeatedly, often without seeing your opponent and there are no gameplay tutorials to get you up to speed unless you fancy reading pages upon pages of text. It’s unfriendly to new players and when matches can last up to an hour, you may feel overwhelmed. Considering matches are set across enormous battlefields, movement comparatively feels slow unless you’ve entered a tank, and when you just want to jump into the action, that’s off-putting.
That said, should you stick out this trial by fire, you’ll find that Hell Let Loose gradually rewards this patience and landing kills becomes more satisfying. While I wish these maps were smaller at times, there’s an element of depth not often seen in shooters. Thanks to the game’s lack of a kill feed, that lets you play dead when being attacked, so enemies must get visual confirmation of your demise. It’s just a shame there’s otherwise very little interactivity with the maps beyond taking cover, vaulting over obstacles, or use of tanks.
Ultimately, Hell Let Loose is a hardcore shooter in every sense of the word. Though it’s very easy to get discouraged at the beginning, those committed to seeing it through will likely have a great time. Though the niche focus won’t appeal universally, providing you know what you’re getting in for, anyone after a tougher World War II shooter would do well to take a look.
Review copy provided by publisher
Reviewed on PC via Steam