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Hands on with Livelock, an upcoming sci-fi shooter from Perfect World

Perfect World Entertainment is best known for its strong lineup of free-to-play Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs), including my personal favorite, Neverwinter. This year, the publisher will release its first non-F2P, non-MMO game on consoles and PCs: Livelock from Montreal-based developer Tuque Games.

Livelock is futuristic co-op shooter in which a trio of android-human hybrids must prepare the ruined Earth for the return of the human species. The battle won't be easy though, as three malignant AI factions have taken over our former home world. At PAX South last week, we played Livelock and spoke with the developers about their sci-fi shooter. Read on for full impressions and video interview!

The end of humanity

Livelock's story was co-created by Robocalypse author Daniel H. Wilson. I haven't read that one, but this game's story certainly sounds intriguing. In the far future, a cataclysm threatens to kill destroy all life on Earth. Humanity has only ten years to prepare. It isn't enough.

After the cataclysm, humanity is indeed wiped out. Far above the Earth, a satellite activates a trio of humanoid robots. Downloaded into these forms are the minds of three humans – the last remnants of our great species.

Their job is to return to the planet surface and prepare it for life to return. But that won't be easy, as the machines left on the Earth have been corrupted by the cataclysm. They now rule as three factions, and our heroes will have to wipe them out if humanity is ever to be restored.

Battle for the ruined world

Livelock

In Livelock, players will select one of three distinct characters with which to fight. Each of these has unique abilities, strengths, and personalities. Seeing as how Livelock is a three-player game, it would be unfortunate if everyone had to play as a different character. Luckily, more than one person can choose the same robot.

The character we got to test drive during the preview was Hex, the Marksman. He has three distinct powers that make him play differently from his fellow soldiers: he can dash, cloak, and temporarily go into "overdrive," inflicting extra damage. The dashing, in particular, makes Hex a very fast character to play. He can easily run from danger or position himself behind an enemy for assassinations.

Players can equip a variety of weapons before heading planetside, switching between them during the fight. We wielded a fast-action plasma rifle, a powerful shotgun, and a gun that lobbed explosive projectiles in an arc. Melee attacks help deal with enemies that invade your character's space.

Livelock

Defeated enemies drop materials that players can spend on upgrades between missions. Potential upgrades include increased damage, ammo recharge rate, rate of fire, and more. The upgrade system should allow players to find weapons they like and continue to use them throughout the game, much like in Helldivers.

Characters will also level up as they complete missions. One of the game's development goals is to allow new players and experienced players to team up effectively. Even though a higher-level player will have unlocked more weapons and customizations, both players will have similar damage output and health counts.

An endless war approaches

Livelock

The campaign consists of three distinct acts, each with multiple levels to fight through. Many levels end with boss battles – we faced off against a screen-filling robot monstrosity during our session. The campaign offers three difficulties with progress shared across difficulties. Progress also carries over to the "Open Protocol" mode, which offers an unlimited assortment of procedurally-generated levels. Thus, you get the endless replay value of Helldivers combined with an actual story mode – the best of both worlds.

Livelock will definitely support single-player and 3-player online co-op modes at launch. Perfect World can't confirm local co-op support yet, but hopefully that feature will make the cut as well. We'll find out when the game arrives on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC sometime in 2016.

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

17 Comments
  • Hmm, I'm worried about the concept. I feel like "cataclysmic event" is such an overplayed concept. Ideally, this event would be both believable and explained in detail. If it's just a top-down shooter with a thin story of vague sci-fi origins, I won't be too intrigued. It would be rather unusual for a game like this to have a deep story, so if it happens, there might be a semi-unique experience to be found. Appreciate the work, Paul. Hopefully this one goes over well, because it's never a bad thing for a publisher to expand its portfolio. Perfect World might be the best example of this, because I can only take so many games built on free-to-play, which often means a bunch of slow progression to promote spending of money.
  • This looks like a fun little twin stick shooter. I'm looking forward to it.
  • For a while i thought was Live Lockscreen updates for Windows 10 Mobile with new designs
  • Haha, same here! :D
  • Nice preview Paul
  • This looks very fun. Looking forward to online co-op
  • By first line of heading I thought it was another app alternative live lock screen BETA for w10 mobile...... :'(
  • Argh, I though live lock screen was out of beta!
  • looks like a fun game!
  • Keep reading it livestock :D
  • Are you calling me a stinky cow? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I'm really looking forward to this one. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Uhm, I am not going to make the error again to play a game by PWE. My experience with them is that they tend to wring out their players more than in other titles I played or to push the developers into such a rush that they bring out more content fast but the existing content gets rarely a second lookup.
  • Looks interesting. Can't wait to play it!
  • Looks good, the cover art kinda felt like Destiny haha
  • Great review, looks fun! I may have to get this. I keep seeing new games coming for this year which is great! My wallet will have some choosing to do.  This year my want list is PvZ:GW2, The Division, Quantum Break, Crackdown 3, Gears 4, New Mass Effect, Cuphead(I hope), Sea of Thieves, Recore (not sure if its still for this year), FarCry Primal (still deciding), and Livelock. If there's a new Forza Horizons this year I will add that to the list as well.  The list keeps on going and who knows what announcements at E3 this year. Very excited for this year.    
  • Looks like fun!