Official website: www.arcgames.com
Developer: Tuque Games
Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
Release date: August 30, 2016
Available for PS4, Xbox One and PC
Reviewed on PC (Steam)
Following a cataclysmic event, corrupted AI machinery overuns Earth. Humanity is on lockdown. Three “Capital Intellects” (aka, robots with big guns) are awakened and released to the surface to reclaim humanity’s freedom in Livelock. Find the encryption keys to Eden, humanity’s sanctuary, with the guidance of Satcom in this sci-fi action top-down shooter.
Livelock’s story is very much inspired by elements of The Matrix. You may even catch a few references, like the kill speech of one of the Intellects, “Not like this.” The story unfolds throughout the gameplay and a few cartoon animated cutscenes in between. The animated cutscenes are a treat and look great, with no skimping on the audio and a killer soundtrack to boot. Livelock’s action takes place in the semi-destructive environments of war-torn New York, Tokyo and Moscow. Initial levels are not too long – all of which are linear. But boy, are they beefed-up with detail. Some levels are primarily boss battles while others may feel a bit more open for exploration and tearing walls down for some secret bonus discoveries. You’ll want to enjoy the sights. The attention to detail on the environments, animations, enemies and the player’s characters are incredible and run smooth and silky. You can feel the inspiration from Diablo games, but with a detailed sci-fi spin. Enjoy the lighting and detailed environments – there is lots of eye candy and visual effects to absorb. Livelock is a refreshing change – harkening to classic gameplay with 3d graphical goodness. Livelock truly is a beautifully detailed, chaotic world.
Select from three different character types, which include Hex, Vanguard or Catalyst, each with their own class traits, weapon stock and visual customization types. Hex is a nimble marksman, Vanguard a brawler with big guns, and Catalyst is flanked by combat drones. You can upgrade and store up to five different Chassis types to stock up for different multiplayer experiences.
Whichever of the three chassis you choose, there is a big variety of weapons, class-based skills (Functions), and visual appearances (Firmware) to dominate with your Capital Intellect. Weapons include the infinite ammo primary type, a secondary type for a bigger punch, and a mow-down big-gun heavy duty launcher type. Each weapon stock is distinct to the Chassis you choose. Functions, which are class-based skills, allow for up to three loaded special skills. The Catalyst can drop down a Drone Gun with a shield for attack and defensive support and combine that with a Temporal Rift to suck enemies into a vortex magnet. Maybe finish the enemies off with a carpet-bombing Drone Storm. There are many functions and weapons to find and upgrade to take down corrupt robots by your preference. Finding Carbon-caches throughout levels will help in upgrading weapons. Enemies will attack in huge waves in some areas, where they present the biggest challenge to stay alive. From clusters of small and speedy types, to larger bosses flanked by heavy shielded bots, Livelock features an array of enemies to tear through, or tear you down. So stocking up on the most compatible weaponry to your gameplay style is essential – or teaming up with the right Capital Intellect online. Find yourself in a heap of scrap? Throwing down a drop pod easily continues the action.
Livelock’s game options include the primary Campaign Mode or the how-long-can-you-last survivalist Open Protocol Mode. In Campaign Mode, you can select from four gameplay types: Public, Friends Only, Private and Offline. Online multiplayer will allow up to 3 Capital Intellects to battle it out together. The main Campaign Mode game is about under 10 hours, but Livelock offers three different difficulty modes for each level. Difficulty varies from Autonomous (Easy), Emergent (Normal) and Singular (Hard). Starting out at Emergent feels balanced enough for new players. A high score leaderboard is tracked for each level, so once you get your Intellect up to speed, you will want to revisit higher difficulties for more rewards (and leaderboard bragging rights!). There’s a time-completion bonus too, so you can always put your speed-running game skills to test. Completionists will want to revisit levels to discover secret areas and Audio Logs, which is easily doable from a level selection screen. Once you complete a level you can revisit it. Plus there are different kinds of visual gear you can find and unlock to customize your character’s Chassis. These include custom parts for your head, body and cape. There is a plenty to discover and to be rewarded with for players who like to dig deep. Getting to 100% completion for each Capital Intellect is a challenge and will take some time.
Open Protocol gameplay mode tests your Captial Intellict’s power against endless waves of enemies. How long can you survive and topple the leaderboard? It’s a smaller combat arena that sends wave after wave of ever-challenging enemies. It’s just another way to enjoy a bit more gameplay from Livelock.
Livelock is a refreshing top-down action game with super sweet 360 degrees of action. The attention to detail, soundtrack, and most importantly the gameplay, is locked down for enjoyment. I really enjoyed Livelock. The sci-fi references, cartoon intermissions and soundtrack make Livelock feel like a classic rebooted with beefy graphics and slick animations. But it’s a new piece of action gaming that I highly recommend to gamers who want to enjoy something fun and different to what is out there today. Two bits up for Livelock! Go forth, Capital Intellect.
Livelock official launch trailer: