New Game Review

Review – Laser League (Xbox One)

A flashy new e-sport

The world of e-sports is currently dominated by tons of first-person shooters or MOBA titles. Their version of the Olympics isn’t exactly packed with variety, with the sole exception of Rocket League, a game I truly consider one of the best and most innovative titles of this generation. Suffice it to say, I’m all up for new ideas for e-sports and multiplayer-focused games. Enter Laser League, a game that falls right into this category.

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It starts off pretty easily

Laser League is a new concept in class-based multiplayer-focused arcade gaming. Your main objective is simple: run towards unclaimed laser posts, capture them for your team, while trying to make the opposite team run into your laser beams and get knocked out. There are no actual physical boundaries and you can easily walk towards a wall and end up on the opposite side of the arena, just like in Pac-Man. You have a wide assortment of classes, both offensive and defensive, each one with a special ability that can help you push your foes into your laser nodes or revive your fallen teammates. Keep doing this until you win.

Just like most e-sports out there, Laser League isn’t exactly focused on its visuals: it’s all about its gameplay. The graphics are serviceable (lots of flashy colors in a very dark background) and the soundtrack is comprised of what you’d find in any other futuristic game out there. The real kick here is about its controls and overall gameplay.

The game is unbelievably simply to play: its control scheme is so easy to learn that anyone can beat Laser League‘s tutorial within two or three minutes and jump straight into an online match without looking like a completely clueless noob. I’ve previously mentioned that each class has a different role, and all of them are easy to pick up and play. That’s by far the most commendable aspect of Laser League: just like Rocket League before it, this is an incredibly accessible game.

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It gets chaotic quickly

So far, so good, right? The game looks good enough, has a nice soundtrack and has an incredibly easy control scheme, but what about the overall enjoyment factor?

The game is enjoyable enough, since its rules are so simple and easy to learn, as well as the fact that there aren’t many players out there who are already infinitely better than the newcomers, making matches fair and accessible. There was always a bit of tension during matches, since many wins (or losses) resulted in a clash between two rivals trying to reach the same laser goal at the same time.

In fact, that’s my biggest gripe with Laser League: after a while, I started noticing that the vast majority of games would only be decided when some event like this happened. People have managed to evade long-distance lasers since the gameplay is so easy to learn, therefore trying to knock someone out started to become increasingly difficult, turning into a russian roulette of sorts: one player would knock his/her rival out by reaching a laser goal a mere millisecond before the other player. Every. Single. Time. This was the moment I started to get a bit tired of Laser League. The developers need to increase the laser speed and make matches a bit harder and faster to conclude. The class-based roles allow for some extra strategies to be created, with one type of player being semi-invunerable to laser nodes, for instance, but I still ended up seeing an excessive amount of games being decided on the aforementioned scenario. Since this is a game that is being designed to last for a long time, I’m sure they’ll come up with a solution for that, with new classes, rules and maps.

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A last-second win

There’s quite a bit of potential for Laser League to become a staple game in the e-sport scene. It’s an innovative concept, a true sports title not involving guns or MOBA elements, with an unbelievably simple control scheme in order to make everyone able to play it within seconds. A small revamp of its rulebook and some tinkering in its graphical department will surely make this game last for years to come.

Graphics: 6.5

Besides the very colorful laser streams and the dark arenas, there’s little else you’ll see here.

Gameplay: 9.5

I commend the developers for coming up with such an easy to learn and master control scheme. It’s simple, responsive and very accessible.

Sound: 7.5

A soundtrack comprised of electronic beats, very reminiscent of Rocket League’s soundtrack.

Fun Factor: 7.0

It’s an innovative concept for a game, and I can see its e-sport appeal, but I eventually got tired with every single match being decided in whoever reached a laser goal milliseconds before your rival.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Also available on: PS4, PC

A copy of Laser League was provided by the publisher.

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About Leo Faria

Founder and mastermind behind Way Too Many Games, hailing from the southern swag that is São Paulo, a Sega widower who considers the Dreamcast to be the greatest console ever released, the greatest Guitar Hero and Tetris player you’ll ever meet. My favorite games include Perfect Dark, Banjo-Tooie, the Guitar Hero series, Bioshock Infinite and Star Wars Rogue Squadron II. I also own an Ouya. Never turned it on.

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