Remember the movie Tron with the light cycles where if the other person hit the light they were done? How about the movie The Running Man with Arnold Schwarzenegger? What about in Hockey where you can hip check someone into the boards?
These three movies have something special separately…the light walls from Tron, survival of The Running Man, and force of Hockey (putting on the foil). But what if publisher 505 Games and developer Roll7 took each of these separate special things and combined them in a way that it gave us a game that had the strategy, the survival, and the forceful checks and added the fun? Well, it looks like they are trying to come up with that formula with Laser League for the PlayStation 4.
Most of you know I am all about Virtual Reality and when I get the chance to review a non-Virtual Reality game, I am happy to do so. When I saw that it was going to be Laser League, I am not going to lie, I had “this would be so amazing in Virtual Reality” running through my head. So I had to give it a shot and check out what the hype was about.
So what is Laser League? First and foremost Laser League is an arcade-style multiplayer game played top down, where you must gain control of the nodes and use lasers to help destroy the other team in a best 2 out of 3 rounds. There are no guns or bombs. Instead, you are in an arena, where these nodes appear. It is your job to run into these nodes so that the lasers spin your team colors. But keep in mind the other team is trying to do the same thing. Now some lasers will be moving as they spin which can come in handy or it can turn against you.
Now the lasers will only last a few seconds and once they go away, they are up for grabs again. If you hit one of the lasers you are out until your teammate(s) can come over to your spot to revive you. If you are out and your teammate(s) get it, the round is over. Sounds simple right? Well, that is where the strategy comes into play.
Not only do you have to avoid the other team’s lasers, you have to be aware of the power-ups. Some of the power-ups may be to recharge, reverse, and even reset the lasers. What really starts to come hectic is when there are more lasers on the arena that can start speeding up and not only that, but you have to keep an eye out where everyone else is. This is where the strategy comes into play.
Well, you might be thinking, what about the forceful hitting? Depending on the class, modifiers, and power-ups your character has, you can hit the other players into the lasers and that right there can be that last second play that wins it for your team.
Now I did forget to mention one thing is the walls of the arena. You can run through them to appear on the other side. So when a laser is coming at you and you have no place else to go, run through a side, but beware if there is a pillar that gets touched by the other team and not only will you have to keep a look out of the players, current lasers, but now future lasers that will get turned on as you are coming through on the other side.
Before I started to play Laser League I had a few thoughts at the beginning. Could you actually have fun without having weapons while avoiding lasers and be forced to be part of a team playing 2v2 or 3v3? I am happy to say that yes, yes you can. When I first started I was just going to test it out just to see, but what was meant to be just a little bit of time, became hours.
Now part of the fun is trying to figure out which class works for you. You have six to select from…Blade, Smash, Thief, Ghost, Shock, and Snipe. For me personally, I have found my class in Shock. As your power gains, you then can use your special power to use against your enemies. So for my Shock class, I can go by a near enemy and shock them and they would be laying still and here comes a laser. Other times when I thought I had it, I got Smashed into the laser. So it can work either way.
And there is no shortage of content. You get 16 maps where each has their own special presence, you also get 15 power-ups as well (and again, depending on the power-up and the class, this can really alter the match when you least expect it), 12 modifier effects (so adjust your style accordingly), and over 250 unique character customizations. So you really do get a lot here and I want to thank 505 Games for thinking about the amount of content that they offer.
So what about the controls you might wonder about. This is where I applaud Roll7 for making the controls so simple. Both the left and right thumbsticks allow you to move. You don’t have to move both. To use your power-ups, use the R1,L1, R2, or L2…that’s it. Now it will take a few rounds to get used to how things work, so I suggest you go through the tutorial as it will help you a lot.
Before each round you pick what arena you want to battle in and depending on the arena can determine the patterns and shapes of the lasers. So see it’s all about strategy and teamwork here. But the question will you be more offensive or defensive when you play? But this is what is great about Laser League, not only the strategy but the balancing between the characters. You will not find one character that is the all mighty power or one that cannot hang with the rest of the players. So again, Roll7, thank you for this.
There is something I wish that Laser League had. For one I wished this was in VR. Now, this is just me who plays a lot of PlayStation VR and no Laser League does not have to have this option. But many times while I was playing I was thinking how awesome this would be in Virtual Reality.
Some also might wish for more characters, but honestly the amount of customization and with everything that is going from watching and avoiding all the lasers to watching where your teammates are and if they need to be revived to watching the other team and what lasers they turned on all while trying to study the patterns of so said lasers, I for one am happy with the number of characters and was not paying too much attention how they looked as there was just too much going on.
There is one thing I find very intriguing when there is an idea that takes different components, mixes it all together, and just have fun with it. Roll7 actually had that ‘What If” moment, came up with the idea and executed the fun when they came up with Laser League, even if it wasn’t in Virtual Reality.
Laser League is out now. A review copy was provided. To learn more about Laser League, make sure you visit the site and make sure you like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. To learn more about Roll7, please visit their site and make sure to like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. To learn more about 505 Games, please visit their site and make sure to follow them on Facebook and like them on Twitter.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have some lasers to use in my favor.