Cooperative online twin-stick shooters seem to be a growing genre. Livelock definitely offers some hectic shooting action but is it unique enough to warrant a purchase? Upload your consciousness and let's find out.
Livelock makes quite en epic first impression. Upon booting it up and being introduced to its post-apocalyptic world, you'll be compelled to jump straight into the campaign. Basically, humankind uploaded their minds before a hostile takeover of Earth occurred. It's now your responsibility as a powerful machine with the intellect of a human to revive humanity. You can choose from one of three soldiers; a long-range sniper, a melee brawler, or a support specialist. Experimenting with them is enjoyable until you finally decide on which one best fits your play-style. Then, it's time to save humankind! The premise is awesome (even though it's been done before) and the creepy atmosphere makes it all the more engaging. The haunting voices of your enemies contrast with your team's macho tones while the explosive onscreen action ties it all together.
Of course, Livelock is best played online where you and one or two other robo-warriors complete the campaign's missions together. Working as a team to rid the levels of dastardly foes feels awesome but there's also a competitive aspect. At the end of each mission, you'll see how everyone fared score-wise. Also, you'll acquire experience points that you level up with. Doing so grants you new abilities that you can equip to maximize your performance on the battlefield. It's quite rewarding watching your character grow into a more capable combat unit as you obtain a wealth of weaponry and abilities. You can upgrade your firearms with collected materials, too, and doing so can give you that much-needed edge. Overall, Livelock is one satisfying game to play.
Although playing online provides some fantastic hectic action and growing your characters feels great, you'll soon realise that there isn't much challenge involved in Livelock's campaign. This is primarily due to the fact that you essentially have infinite lives. Obviously, your score reflects how many times you perished, but if you don't care about that then there's no real incentive to hone your skills. That being said, there are a few missions that you can fail. An example of this is when you have to protect something but then it gets destroyed. You won't find that happening often (if at all), so anyone can easily breeze through the campaign without any significant problems. On the other hand, it is quite lengthy with over 20 missions that can be quite long and involving.
The stages are mostly very linear with only the odd side-area to explore for goodies. In other words, you definitely won't need a map in this game. When you couple this with the fact that Livelock is so easy, it's hard not to get bored halfway through. There is extra content in the form of a randomly generated survival mode but that simply doesn't do enough to set itself apart from the campaign.
My only other complaint is that the onscreen action tends to get far too chaotic to decipher exactly what's happening. I found myself shooting allies and dodging my own turrets because it all seems to blend together in an orgy of explosions and indistinguishable projectiles. I wish the visuals helped streamline the gameplay but they're more flashy than intuitive.
Livelock is a solid online twin-stick shooter with some well done features yet it also suffers from some serious problems. However, you surely won't regret downloading it if your expectations are set appropriately. In the end, Livelock is a fun yet flawed experience that genre fans will enjoy but probably won't remember for much longer after they put it down.
- + Cool premise with a creepy futuristic vibe that blends well with the action
- + Hectic online cooperative gameplay
- + Rewarding character growth dynamic
- - Lacks any significant challenge as it's impossible to fail most of the missions
- - Onscreen action can get too chaotic
- - Linear stages and not much extra content