E3 2017: Hands-On with Laser League

From the developers of OlliOlli comes a new multiplayer game that looks like Tron, but with an e-sports focused concept.

Laser League is a top down 4v4 arena sports game, where the main objective is to survive longer than your opponents. Spread across the play-field are moving nodes that when activated shoot lines of lasers out that will kill the people on the other team. To keep things easy to follow, each team is assigned a color and when a person on that team activates a node, the laser will be the same color and safe to pass through for that team. The concept is simple and the gameplay is chaotic, the play-field can become packed with lasers and the game becomes about dodging and outlasting the opposition.

In addition to the lasers, there are classes and power-ups that can greatly change the flow of a match. There are six classes in total, each with their own special ability. For example there is a class that can stun and another class that can steal an enemy node. Working with your ability to best trap and kill the other team is a major key for to victory.

As for the power-ups they are random and their impact on a match can greatly shift the momentum. I was told there are a few power-ups, but I mostly saw a power-up that shifted the active lasers to the opposite color which more often than not backfired on whoever activated it because of the chaos it caused.

Death isn’t final though, you can be revived by your teammates, but when a team knows you are by yourself the match can become about isolation. Reviving is easy, getting to your fallen teammate is not. With a constant rotation of new nodes and patterns, trying to survive, activate nodes and getting to your fallen friend cranks the intensity up a few notches.

I spent a little over twenty minutes playing Laser League with a rotation of people from the media and the development/publishing team. It was easy to see the level of skill required to master the game, but the rules were easy enough to understand that it didn’t take long for most people to learn the rules and get into the swing of things.

I quickly fell in love with the class that had the ability to stun enemies and primarily focused my time on stunning a person as my team’s lasers approached them. The strategy with my teammate quickly became that I’d focus on stunning and he would focus on activating lasers for the team, and for the most part it worked. If one of us died it quickly became a game of isolation, with the other team knowing we wanted to revive, they would hover around the fallen and dare the last player to do something.

I had some really intense matches where the longer the match went the crazier it got. The arena board was filled with lasers and our reflexes needed to be on point. Sometimes a match came down to just hoping your opponent made a mistake before you did.

I had a blast with Laser League and as someone who enjoys local multiplayer games, I could easily see myself getting into it. The game has style and gameplay that is easy to learn, but with nuance that allows for room to build a skill set for. I can totally see Laser League catching on if it finds an audience especially if the online community accepts it.

Laser League will launch in Early Access on Steam in the summer and will officially release on PS4 and Xbox One in 2018.

Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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