Get ready for some edge-of-your-seat gameplay

The Game: Hell Let Loose

The Maker: Black Matter, $29.99

The Basics: Hell Let Loose pits two opposing teams of 50 online players each against each other in historic combat zones. With an emphasis on Western Front battles in 1944 France and the Battle of the Bulge in 1945 Belgium, the game incorporates 14 different roles for infantry, armor, and artillery, each with unique gameplay styles. 

The Objective: Germany and the U.S. fight to control different European territories ranging from Normandy’s Utah Beach to Foy, Belgium, with squads working together to overwhelm and outmaneuver the enemy. Teamwork—not individual action—is rewarded, making Hell Let Loose a departure from similar games like Call of Duty or Battlefield. 

Historical Accuracy: Tank combat dynamics in particular are very accurate, as ill-equipped crews must closely communicate in order to spot the enemy, fire, and maneuver with little visibility. German and American field equipment and weapons are also mostly spot-on, with exceptions. For example, the M1 Garand’s function and sounds are technically correct, but the model in the game is a post-war manufactured International Harvester M1 with T105 rear sights instead of a period-accurate Springfield Armory or Winchester with lock-bar rear sights. 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The game’s vivid, three-dimensional scenery lends a cinematic touch but can also make it trickier to spot or identify enemy players. This adds unpredictability—which can be a good thing for players seeking believable, immersive combat simulations.

Playability: Players accustomed to console games might find that the controls take some getting used to, as they’re operated via mouse and keyboard instead of hand-held controller. Gameplay is surprisingly smooth once these are mastered, although character and vehicle movements are realistically limited on certain terrain like mud, rocks, and ditches. Lone wolves, take note: since gameplay is dependent upon group and squad cooperation, teams do best when members work together to accomplish objectives.

The Bottom Line: Between the great visual details, realistic sound effects, and suspenseful gameplay, Hell Let Loose is an entertaining game that keeps players on the edge of their seats.

World War II rating: 4.5 stars 

—Hayden A. Foster is the assistant curator at the Institute of Military Technology and a writer for American Rifleman magazine.

This article was published in the December 2019 issue of World War II