Tuesday, January 18, 2011

LOCO Online - Tour

(Don't mind me... Just posting a press tour that I should have uploaded months ago!)

New to Alaplaya's line up is a brand new action game that mixes DotA inspired RTS gameplay with RPG and third person action called LOCO. The game features 13 different heroes to choose from (with 17+ more heroes on the way), each with their own strengths and weaknesses to bring into battle. LOCO brings players fast paced gameplay and intense team based PvP, all wrapped up with Unreal 3 Engine goodness, and I got to try it firsthand!

For starters: I have never played a DotA style game before. In fact, I didn't know that this sub-genre of RTS titles existed until a month or so ago, mainly because I suck at RTS titles. Looking at LOCO on the surface, I didn't know that it was a DotA style game until I got into it. So let's take a look at what makes LOCO such a unique experience, shall we?

Kicking things off

The tour started with me selecting my primary hero and then taking a quick romp through the tutorial mode. The heroes available run the gambit from looking generic to looking incredibly bizarre. I decided to go with Irene, a melee tank character that uses spears or maces with shields in combat. In the tutorial, the game explains just about everything you need to know about basic combat, and only took me around 10 minutes to run through (although I did skip a bit of the dialogue along the way.)

Irene alternate hero costume
After the tutorial: Hendrik went on to explain what they have in store with the game's AP shop. Like with Alaplaya's other titles, LOCO is free-to-play with an optional cash shop for players to purchase items with real money to enhance their experience. The thing about free-to-play games is that some people are under the impression that you'll have to spend real money to be able to compete, but that isn't the case with LOCO because the available cash shop content does not provide any major advantage over non-paying players. At the moment, players can buy special outfits for their heroes which gives them 50% more coins (in-game money) from battles. Players can also buy extra quest boards that give players mini missions to complete during battles to earn extra items, equipment and bonuses.

Game modes and rep system

It was just about time to get to the root of LOCO by participating in a live match. At the moment, there are only two game modes available (elimination and battlefield,) but there are more coming down the pipeline. While elimination mode was more of a straightforward team deathmatch kind of thing, battlefield is the real draw behind what LOCO is all about. While Hendrik started up a fresh battlefield room and waited for other players to join in, he explained the game's simple reputation system: Next to each player's username, there's a small smiley face showing that the player is in good standing. If player leaves a battle without finishing, they can have their reputation level lowered and that smiley face will be turned into a devil. Players with the mark of this little devil can get booted from games without vote kicking, so you better not think about running away from a fight.

Battle lobby
Getting down to business

Once the match started, I was given the option to play with either beginner or expert mode. Playing in beginner mode will allow the game to select your skills and items for you; while expert mode lets you do all that manually. There are no major disadvantages to playing in beginner mode against someone with expert mode set on, so playing with beginner mode lets me throw all the guess work out of the way so I could simply jump into the fray.

Of course, jumping right into the fray isn't always the best thing to do, since coordination with your team is the key to winning battles. This is where the DotA inspired gameplay mechanics come in, there is no permanent leveling progression in LOCO outside of gaining new equipment for your character, you'll have to defeat enemies to level up your characters during each match. There are several objectives you'll have to complete before claiming victory against the enemy team, such as destroying different types of enemy bases. Running right along with my team, we had to capture huge monoliths in order to take control of a giant flying battleship that rains fiery doom.

Using the battleship to destroy enemy base points was only one of our objectives. Next, we summoned a bunch of giant weapons to help us take down temples, recall spots and other buildings. What were these giant weapons I speak of? Why, they were huge mammoths!

Our last objective was a strike on the HQ, which we took down with ease. The commander NPC that was spawned from the destroyed HQ wasn't so easy. He was able to take down my team in a matter of seconds. Since this was the objective for my team to tackle, we had to wait a good minute and a half before we could respawn back in. Regardless, we headed back down to destroy the commander and won the match. Sure, the whole thing was a bit one-sided since the players on the enemy team were playing one man down but hey, a win's a win!

Wrap up

The tour ended and I got a pretty good feel for what makes LOCO tick. The mix between RTS and third person action seems to blend effortlessly and future content planned sounds very promising. For those looking give LOCO a whirl, redirect your browsers over to the official website!

Original article:  http://www.onrpg.com


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