Darwin once said that “The species that survives is the one that is most adaptable to change. Change is constant, always flowing and fluid. At times, change can be seen from a mile away. But more often than not, change is sudden, quick, and deadly.”
Humans have been able to adapt to change for thousands of years. Where other animals have gone extinct, humans have managed to adapt through technology and intelligence. It’s how people have survived Ice Ages, droughts, and just about every known element on Earth. However, in LIVELOCK, humans have reached their end, in the face of an imminent astronomical catastrophe. To survive, they must change
A massive solar flare is predicted to head for Earth. Absolutely nothing can stop it, and it will mean the extinction of all organic life on Earth. With years until its arrival, humans must adapt to this change or face inevitable extinction. With all efforts failed, the only hope is to force change; to evolve to the next step.
Humans decide to upload their consciousness to machines and computer systems, in an effort to survive the cataclysm. With this change, humanity will continue but not in human form. They are known as intellects. A select few are chosen to become “Capital Intellects” whose minds will be transferred to combat chassis and lead the way for the future of the human race. Together, humans will return in the form of Project Eden.
However, the solar flare is far too strong, causing global destruction and separating the organization of the Intellects. For many years, the Intellects revert to their instinctual ways, when they were humans and enter an age of constant warfare. Most of the intellects are completely destroyed, with corrupted minds vying for control of what’s left of Earth. This is where players come in.
Three capital intellects emerge from the rubble, reactivated and fully online. A soldier, an athlete, and a wrestler, who were once human, emerge as full combat cyborgs. Their mission is to take down the corrupted intellect and restore humanity. This is the last and final hope for the continuation of the species. This is the world of Livelock, a new twin-stick action video game from Perfect World Studios.
Twin-stick shooters are a game genre that is immortal, originating from the days of arcade classics like Berserk and Robotron 2084. Since then, game studios have continued to refine and polish the tried-and-true mechanics of twin-stick shooting, while consistently introducing new worlds and styles.
Livelock sees humans become full robotic combat cyborgs to destroy robotic monstrosities and preserve the future of the human race. Using cutting edge weapons, destructive abilities, and human personalities, players trek across the three massive cities, destroying robotic armies along the way.
Aiding you is a noble artificial intelligence, SATCOM, and, should you enable co-op play, your three other capital intellects, each with their own abilities. The end result is a solid and engaging good time as Livelock is loaded with post-apocalyptic goodness and a ton of non-stop action.
Livelock gives you access to three Capital Intellects. Hex, the tall purple and white cyborg, is the former soldier of the group, a marksmen proficient with ranged weapons. He attacks primarily with missile launchers, plasma rifles, and laser shotguns.
Vanguard, the former wrestler, is the brute of the group. With his massive size and-and blazing orange color, he is seen carrying a massive steel sledgehammer capable of crushing even the most hardened of robots.
Finally, there is Catalyst, the former athlete who is also the only woman of the group. In her sky blue combat chassis, she carries drones, support items, and dual-wielding SMGs. It’s a hardened group with plenty of firepower for saving the world.
As a twin-stick shooter, the game sends you straight into the action and controls very well. Players can run, shoot, and use melee as they cross the grounds of the wastelands. Players will be able to go through intense firefights and battleground with cutting-edge weaponry and support.
For my playthrough, I focused on Hex. I was able to use plasma rifles and plasma shotguns to dispatch enemies, but also, was able to call in an orbital satellite strike to really give punishment to the enemies. The other cyborgs also feature unique abilities and weapons, each handling differently. Occasionally, small colored diamonds appear on the field. They are power-ups, and they can tip the scales in a bitter fight. The powerups allow for more movement, invincibility, high melee damage, and higher fire rate for weapons.
Livelock takes place in three zones with multiple levels in each. With the exception of primary objectives, the goal is to completely destroy all opposition that stands before you. Each of the Robotic warlords commands their very own armies, each coming in a variety of forms with unique abilities.
They will come in large numbers, with some using devastating ranged attacks and other using close-combat. Sub-bosses also make an appearance, coming in as walking tanks, spiders, and other machines.
Additionally, players are encouraged to explore the battlefield, looking for the remnants of other intellects and recording to earn energy credits to upgrade their weapons.
The Livelock action experience is incredible and very rewarding. The intensity of combat is a visual splendor, with laser fire, explosions, and mechanical parts flying everywhere across the battlefield. Using your special abilities is a joy and seeing their destructive results is satisfying.
This sensation is most especially profound when playing in co-op with other players. While Livelock can be played solo, the game does feature online and local co-op as well. Livelock features boss fights, and they are a blast to take down, especially with others. While Livelock isn’t incredibly challenging, do expect to die a few times, especially against the boss fights.
Livelock’s presentation is sound as well. There is a very nice mixture of music and a nice array of SFX during combat. Each weapon fired has their own particular sounds, which makes it easy to discern who is actually shooting. The voice work is done solidly, with lines and voices matching the personalities of their characters. Music composer Vibe Avenue created a solid scoring for this game, capturing the utter devastation that has come to Earth while giving a sense to the stakes at hand. The soundtrack evokes the struggle of man becoming machine to save what’s left.
If there is any drawback to Livelock, I only wish it would have been longer by several zones. I could have imagined more weapons, more enemies, more bosses, more gameplay variations, such as a rail-shooting segment, and simply more story.
I absolutely loved the cyberpunk setting of the game and the fact that the game focused on not just an apocalyptic world but a post-human one, where all organic life have been expunged. It would have been neat to see how our capital intellects cope with being full cyborgs, what enhances them, what makes them miss their humanity, and perhaps that focus on the mission. Perhaps, if Livelock 2 happens, we can see this further realized.
Livelock is a blast to play and a distinctive experience, with its cyberpunk setting and unique action. While a bit short on content, the different characters, online co-op, and the challenge will keep you going for quite sometime. Livelock is a fantastic game. Here’s hoping for more!