From the impressive Helldivers back in 2015, to this year’s fan favorite Alienation, top-down shooters have increasingly become some of the best games on the market. So, when Perfect World Entertainment introduced us to Livelock we were immediately interested to see how developer Tuque Games could share the spotlight with these other great TDS games.
While Livelock may not express its visual production value as high as Alienation, the sheer amount of intense action you are forced to face-off against through 21 levels of varied environments, coupled with an interesting narrative which shines through with colorful bosses and more, kept us racing to Eden.
Livelock transports players into the 22nd century, where the age of the machine rules all that is left on Earth. As the story explains, after the cataclysm, humanity is on the brink of survival. Clusters – groups of corrupted machines control what remains of the earth, fighting each other in an infinite war over resources. Players take control of a Capital Intellect as they are called, which are cybernetic combat war machines with a human consciousness.
Players have the choice of one of three mechanical chassis – Hex, Vanguard or Catalyst. Each Capital Intellect offers a unique arsenal of weapons and special abilities as they tackle varied war scenarios against the corrupted machine Clusters. Though Livelock will have you thinking more about its memorable confrontations than the lightly told story, I must say that I was intrigued by the aftermath of acquiring the fourth and final Eden encryption key and the potential wonders Eden would hold, but I’m getting ahead of myself and I refuse to spoil too much.
Livelock is all about working together as a three-man team, combining your unique abilities to overcome chaotic skirmishes as the story unfolds. After completing boss confrontations, which are especially enjoyable, players are greeted with cinematic graphic novel story details, which drive the narrative forward.
Initially as you jump into Livelock there are no character customizations prior to beginning the campaign. However, as your Capital Intellect levels up (max lvl of 30) while destroying upgraded enemy types, players will acquire customary loot via firmware function mods to change various parts of their appearance, such as color schemes, helmets, and caps, spicing up your Intellects combat presence.
Enemy types vary as you traverse the seemingly linear environments, yet some enemy designs can come across as old robotic relics taken from the past and brought to the future. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as you will certainly be more focused on destroying these enemies rather than checking out their artistic design. Nevertheless, the sometimes muddy design details could not be ignored.
As you traverse the ruins of Earth players will come across blue orbs which are a form of currency. This currency serves to upgrade your various weapons offered as primary, secondary and launcher. In addition, Intellects also maintain the capacity of Functions which once unlocked grants player unique abilities giving them an edge in battle.
As the action intensifies we were quite thankful for the regenerative health, as we took great pride in being evasive when the game demanded us to, especially when going it alone. As a side-note, don’t think your TV monitor or the game is having a glitching problem when the screen begins to jump as though malfunctioning. This is attributed to the your characters low level of health.
Satcom who you will discover is your AI ally, playing big brother in space, assisting you with a consistent dose of intel, ultimately plays a sizable role to the experience.
Though the action is sometimes short lived, missions can seem somewhat interrupted by ‘mission complete’ intermissions. You may not mind this too much as each intermission introduces you to newly acquired gear and or weapons, as well as destruction points, streaks and bonuses which are added to your overall point total.
Livelock doesn’t support a radar display of the games assorted map layouts, however player are given a directional marker pointing you toward your next objective. We encourage you not to always follow the chosen path before exploring a bit. Secret areas offer supply caches, useful orbs and audio logs, again making it important not to just follow your objective marker at all cost.
Informative audio logs can be found throughout giving players a glimpse into the past. These audio logs reveal the human voices and concerns of your ‘intellect’ prior to volunteering for this one-way ticket as a cybernetic warrior. This layer of information adds a unique human touch to the experience.
Livelock prides itself on confronting players with waves of aggressive and varied enemy types while offering an entertaining level of atmospheric danger by way of the games pleasing sound effects. Livelock will hold your attention for quite a while and even longer when playing cooperatively.
Though the ending happened rather abruptly, we are with hope that this conclusion has much to do with a continuation of this unknown Eden, which we finally opened with our majestic Eden encryption key. Even still, with a ride this fun I did feel like I was dropped off after the prom without a kiss to seal the deal.
Or, maybe I just didn’t want it to end. Livelock is an energetic shooter with a lot of charm. We thoroughly enjoyed it!