1,637 people found this review helpful
55 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 23.3 hrs on record (23.1 hrs at review time)
Posted: Jun 6, 2019 @ 11:35am
Updated: Jun 6 @ 6:41am

Early Access Review
Completely lost it's original vision to become a lowest common denominator shooter. ( a good looking one though)

So, Hell Let Loose had a vision that was part FPS, and part Company of Heroes style resource meta.
With the maps larger than we now have, with 25 sectors.
This was what i signed up for with kickstarter.
And, initial signs were good.
The Alpha gave us exactly what we expected from the kickstarter description. A tough, slow paced tactical game that had a completely unique game meta that would have really set this game apart from any and all competition.
The Alpha had almost universally positive feedback, and rightly so.

So, what happend? Honestly. I don't know.
Whether you enjoy the game now or not, everyone can agree that the game advertised on kickstarter. Is not the game we've ended up with. Even the game we had during Alpha no longer exists.

Things started going downhill towards the end of the Alpha.
For the last week or so, they reduced the map size. Cutting it down from 25 to 15 sectors.
There was some alarm over at Hell Let Loose forums. But, a devs comments on discord were posted suggesting that the map size reduction was part of a 'population scaled meta' implying the reduced map size was for when player numbers were low in the server.
Ok, all was calm. Panic over.

Que months of quiet from the devs. Then an announcement of the first beta, and that they had a new publisher on board. Team 17....

This is where things start to take a nose dive (coincidence???? Mabee, mabee not)

Firstly, it comes out that the reduced map size is now a permanent fixture. Why the change when it was previously so well received???

Then we get into game, to find the mostly rather good sounds from the Alpha all completely changed and the new sounds were appalling.
But, at least there was still 15 sectors. And some semblance that the 'company of hero's' resource meta was still going to come.

Second beta starts, not only are sounds now worse. But the multiple sector gameplay has now been completely dropped. For a kind of squad style AAS. Only, the maps here are so much smaller, with now only 5 caps (including main bases at each side of the map) resulting in nearly all the combat being focused on the middle cap.

All the time this was going on, things were changing with the gameplay aswell. And not in a good way.
Arcade features like visual direction indicator for shots were added. That red mark that shows you where your being shot from. Just like you see in battlefield or Cod.
Yet the game was advertised as
" This is a simulation of war... not an arcade arena shooter"
And as having "Unprecedented Realism"

*************
First update, Roman (dev on discord) has since release posted this on discord
I'm sure we will consider making the original game mode an option for hardcore players based on the community feedback.
Posted on discord, 20:30 June 6th.
Little sign of this happening now, but does show coming game modes are not like the original.
**************


Let's talk about realism for a minute.

Added recon plane that shows enemy positions in real time.

No turn out in tanks, that's not as it's just not been done yet. It has. Early on before the first beta a picture was going round of a commander in a Panther tank looking out of the cupola. So, it's been implemented for the game, and a long time ago.
The reason it's not in, is as the devs don't want people being shot out of tanks, they want tanks to be really tough nuts to crack.
So, why talk about 'Unprecedented Realism' so much if that wasn't the goal?

Still the squads arn't forced to have a squad leader. This means half the squads are running over the map with no way of creating spawn points. The devs said they didn't want to push the role on people that don't want it. But, with team work, VOIP, a promote button. A willing participant can be found. And at least then, you wouldn't spend time in game without a squad lead, or without knowing the squad lead has left. And without a way of creating a spawn point.

When a few squad leads get there act together, they can put down a few garrisons (team spawn) and an OP (squad spawn) These can be placed so close to the cap and combat. And as you have both, you don't have fear that one might get taken or over ran. It's created a kind of rush, meatgrinder feel. Where people spawn in, and don't value thier lives as they know they'll re-spawn again close to the action, and quite quickly.
Now people will tell you 'get a good squad and you can play tactically' And, they'd be right. But, lets get things right. It's not the norm and the game doesn't punish you for playing for yourself and 'spawning, run to cap'. In Squad or PS, you try that behaviour, you'd be kicked from the squad, or dead before you got close to the objective. Here, it's the norm. And squad playing tactically, will find themselves surrounded by dozens of players all doing thier own thing.

During the Alpha, the Thompson used the long range sights (notch on the top of the rear sight) During one of the betas they switched to the rear apature. But, it was too small for in game. So, they've now chopped it off giving a semi circle shape... i mean really? Just go back to Alpha if your not going to include a ranged sighting system...

But, it's one shot kill right?
Well.... Mabee. At any range past 50 meters. A center mass shot to the chest is not fatal. See:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBX9WvN5ZVI

It was also made clear in the KS, that weapon unlocks and any unlocks focusing on individual achievement, would not be part of a teamwork focused game. They're now integrated in the game. Showing, they had no intention of honouring KS vision at all.

*************
responding to below devs comments.
Comment from Jonno below suggests leaning is coming, but this is contradicted by dev on discord on the day i wrote this post. Whos post was mocking PS and squad for shooting while leaning. Mabee direction has changed??? But, at the moment, Jonno is insisting leaning is in, Roman said yesterday it wasn't.
Below are quotes from discord chat.

Question from Jaiseck
is lean to left and right planed to get added in the future ?

Quoting Roman
@ Jaiseck No, we decided to prevent people walking around with their heads/bodies bent to one side like in Squad/PS
posted in discord, 23:23 6th June.

Sirius, who i believe is a mod. said
Free look isn't possible with the current animations, but that doesn't mean it's off the table forever
posted in discord, 4:04 7th June.

Jonno himself posted
Free look is not coming at this time
Posted, 24/5/19
(Not sure if the times in discord are my timezone, BST, or UTC.. )

**************
Lean left and right is now, in. But leaving this here as an example of how poor devs communication has been.

Summary.
The maps shrunk, we lost the multi-sector game mode, and with it any pretence that the company of heroes style meta can continue. Casual features have been added and the game simply is not as advertised.
Can't help but feel i've been completely mislead by BM with their advertising. Although, something also tells me. That the new dev team making their first game. Might have been coerced into making a 'shooter for everyone' rather that the unique vision they started out with.
It really feels like the devs have turned their backs on those KS backers that brought this project forward.

Please check out kickstarter, for the teamwork orientated, hardcore "simulation of war", tactical game with a company of heroes style resource meta that is what i signed up for.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/blackmatter/hell-let-loose

Hopefully, one day. This game will get made.
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Developer response:
Jonno  [developer] Posted: Jun 7, 2019 @ 4:23am
Hey Andy,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us, we appreciate all our players sharing their thoughts with us.

I'd like to take this opportunity to provide more information on some of your statements to build up a complete image :)

Firstly i'd like to clarify some incorrect information you've stated:

Free look IS being scoped - We've stated this in multiple places, as well as why it isn't in game yet - we're working on further optimisation (which this can impact) first.

Leaning IS coming - You claimed that a developer on our Discord stated that leaning isn't coming. I am one of the Developers on that Discord and I can say that we've always said that Leaning is coming now that Vaulting is implemented. This is also in multiple Developer Briefings (News Section) and our official roadmap. If you could inform me of who said this wasn't the case, that would be great as every piece of our messaging and comms says otherwise.

In regards to our Alpha mode, i'm sure you're aware that we're working on two more modes for Hell Let Loose, 'invasion' and 'campaign' - with campaign being an updated version of the Alpha mode. We've messaged it multiple times on Discord and Steam :)

To further build on our existing mode we're adding 'resource nodes' that players can choose to deploy, defend and attack - in the style of Company of Heroes. This utilises even more of the map and gives teams multiple objectives to fight over and prioritise in different locations.

When it comes to things such as weapon balance and audio, two things that the community have been providing regular feedback on, this is a work in progress and part of our mission to perfect in Early Access.

Thanks again for taking the time to share your feedback, we appreciate it. I hope the information we've clarified for you today is beneficial to you.

This is the start of our Early Access journey and we're glad to have you with us.
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