Loadout invites you to create an insane weapon and take it for a spin

Ian Birnbaum at

Upcoming free-to-play multiplayer shooter Loadout released a launch trailer last week to celebrate its arrival on Steam’s Early Access beta testing service. At first, to be honest, I just rolled my eyes. The heavy metal. The dick jokes. The guy dancing Gangnam style. Oy.

But then it started to win me over. Loadout actually looks like it could be a hell of a lot of fun. It’s stupid, but it’s stupid on purpose, and that frees us up to enjoy some great explosions and a very cool gun crafting system.

Loadout joins the pantheon of cartoonishly violent multiplayer shooters already populated by games like Super Monday Night Combat and Team Fortress 2. Where TF2 relies on its hats and cutting humor, though, Loadout’s gameplay hinges on its absurdly customizable weapons, with available combinations numbering in the “billions.”

The comparison to Borderlands’ randomized weapon system are inevitable, so there it is. It’s a lot like Borderlands, right down to the little damage numbers that, in the testing arena at least, fly off of your opponents while they are burning/bleeding/being electrocuted.

Unlike the Borderlands system, you don’t have to rely on the kindness of the game gods for a really great weapon. Just hop into the weapon builder and customize or roll the dice until you come up with something incredible. Here’s a high-capacity flaming shotgun shell sniper rifle with a collapsible stock. There’s a bolt-action heat-seeking rocket launcher that shoots explosions of health, so you can give your entire team first aid from across the map.

The results of the randomized arsenal look fantastic. Fireballs, lightning, and rockets fly across the map causing horrific explosions of cartoon gore. This sheer chaos needs to be experienced, at least just to try it out. It'll be free-to-play at launch, so why not?