Title: Loadout
Publisher: Edge of Reality
Developer: Edge of Reality
Platforms: PC, Mac

If one were to mix Quentin Tarantino’s penchant for gore, an Austin Powers sense of humour, and Call of Duty, the result would be Loadout. A free-to-play, third-person shooter, Loadout pulls no punches when it comes to freedom of expression.

Straight away, the player is prompted to pick a weapon from four types: rifle, launcher, beam, and pulse. Each of these weapon types offers a different form of firing that varies its stability, firing range and more.

Further customisation is available in the form of stocks, scopes, different kinds of ammunition, barrels, and triggers. The player can name and customise their gun using ‘Blutes’, currency acquired through kills and completing objectives in game.

Character customisation is also available using three-base models, with most customisation options being available for purchase using real money. This represents the only major downside of the game.

It’s possible to buy more Blutes using real cash and more customisation is available to those who pay. This system is sometimes referred to as a ‘pay to win’ but thankfully the actual gameplay balance rarely reflects this, except for an occasional one-in-ten game against players who seem utterly overpowered.

During gameplay, the player will witness the hilarious effects of explosives, electricity, fire, acid and more on the exaggerated forms of other characters and their own. A specific example of Loadout’s stylised over the top violence can be seen when players can be left without a torso, but are still given control for a brief moment to let their lonely legs run around squirting a fountain of blood.

All damage that doesn’t result in a death leaves behind gruesome injury, but the dumb smile never leaves their face. While taunting, one may experience a hail of bullets annihilating their character’s arms, but the chuckle worthy dance won’t miss a beat. Death from a headshot might result in collapsing to the ground with a raising of the middle finger as a final gesture. No one can doubt this game’s well-defined sense of humour.

There are a variety of objective-based modes available, from capture the flag (in which the flag is a giant hammer that also doubles as a weapon) to scoring points by collecting bits of ‘Blutonium’ from around the map while killing the opposing team’s collector.

Along with the large range of gun customisation (with millions of possibilities, the developers claim), these game modes lend themselves well to the comical, often enjoyable gameplay.

Loadout isn’t exactly a top tier shooter, but it’s easy to overlook some of its flaws given its well executed free-to-play nature. It’s fun, overtly violent, brutally hilarious, and worth at least a few hours of your time.

Karl Quigley