LEAP Review

LEAP emerged on the Xbox Network a few days ago with little in the way of fanfare, but a pretty amusing trailer. It is a online First-Person shooter that supports both Player versus Player and Player versus Environment modes. The emphasis is on fast paced movement and looking for synergy between the 4 main classes to take an army of human/AI-controlled opponents. 

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as the saying goes. Having now played several hours of LEAP, I think there are a lot of developers who should be feeling very flattered.

Each of the classes the player can use are divided up into a sniper, healer, heavy, machinegun/shotgun guy. They have their own unique ultimates that power-up over the course of the match and can turn the course of fights when used. There are three modes of enhanced movement – dashing, traversal via grapple hook, and a hoverboard. There are Capture the Flag and Team Death Match modes but the standout is Control that pits 2 teams of 30 players against each other as they fight to control points on the map and reduce the other team’s resources (respawns) to 0.

All of these things are very familiar, the grappling hook and movement are like Titanfall and Apex Legend, the speeder feels like it was copied from Destiny, the class ultimates are Overwatch-like, and the PvE/PvP dichotomy feel cribbed from Warface. LEAP emulates each of these in manner that is effective, it has elements that are fun to play because those parts were fun in the game LEAP took inspiration from.

The large scale maps with people vying for control points is nothing new but it works with people coming in from all angles, defensive turrets being placed, shields dropped and people cloaked. It took a little while for me to discern friend from foe but after a couple of rounds I felt like I was in the thick of it. My favourite class being the Tech guy that could heal teammates and offer midrange support with a burst rifle.

The game is not that pretty to look at, probably to accommodate the number of players zipping around screen, this didn’t bother me all that much and harked back to mid-tier games from the X360-era like Section 8 and Brink. These were scrappy multi-player titles that had enough verve to them to keep me entertained.

The real problem here is that LEAP doesn’t really have anything that distinguishes it and despite having a number of good features, none of them give the game much of a soul.

I never wasn’t having a passable time, but there was nothing in LEAP that made me want to latch on to it and make it my new multiplayer title.

The daily challenges are ‘use a grenade’ or ‘use an ultimate X number of times’ and this allows for gaining XP to unlock abilities and cosmetics. The cosmetics aren’t particularly exciting and the characters themselves also lack a personality to latch onto.  The extra abilities seem like a neat idea but the current meta seems to be locked into a specific subset of early ones so there doesn’t seem like a need to explore.

It is probably the most damning thing a mid-tier free-to-play game can do – not having a hook to draw people in. More damning is that Leap costs money to get involved in.

Maybe with some updates, a little tweaking, and a shift in business model Leap might find its audience. Where it stands now is a game which mimics some of the best but lacks a spark that elevates those games.

Conclusion

Leap is the very definition of a mid-tier game, not bad, not great – a few iterations from finding itself and its audience.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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Good
  • All the bits it copied from other games
  • Solid release for a multiplayer game with this many players
  • That trailer was fun
Bad
  • Struggles to find its own voice
  • The lack of voice means it is hard to pitch why anyone should jump into this game
5.5
Average
Written by
AJ Small is a games industry veteran, starting in QA back in 2004. He currently walks the earth in search of the tastiest/seediest drinking holes as part of his attempt to tell every single person on the planet that Speedball 2 and The Chaos Engine are the greatest games ever made. He can be found on twitter (@badgercommander), where he welcomes screenshots of Dreamcast games and talk about Mindjack, just don’t mention that one time he was in Canada.

2 Comments

  1. 5.5 is way too good for this game. It’s boring and empty. The gunplay is bad, the TTK is terrible, everything feels cheap and perfunctory. I wouldn’t recommend buying it even on sale. 2,5/3 at the best.

    Reply
    • Fair enough! I will say that when I was having fun with this game I was actually having a lot of fun. It just felt really soulless.

      TTK too high, you reckon?

      Reply

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