Beautiful Light Hands-On Preview – Extracting the Best of Tactical Shooters

Beautiful Light is an upcoming team-based first-person extraction shooter with its sights aimed at Escape from Tarkov, but without the high barrier of entry. The early version we got to try allowed us to dive into the immersive and oppressive maps while attempting to secure an artifact and extract before the other teams, within a desolate setting that instantly gives S.T.A.L.K.E.R. vibes. It’s a familiar template that is nonetheless aptly executed, still very much a work-in-progress but already showing promise of a game that could rival the best in the genre.

Calling All Operators

The few matches we played showed an engaging shooter with potential for tactical approach and cooperation with your teammates. It didn’t feel nowhere close to the overwhelming first-user experience seen in Escape from Tarkov, although that could be attributed to the fact that some aspects aren’t yet fully implemented, such as some environment interactions, bullet penetration systems, inventory usage, and anomaly gameplay. However, the need for swift but silent movement and the feeling of dread in face of imminent conflict was already palpable, capable, a great sign of what’s to come.

Gunplay felt solid and while there wasn’t any tinkering with the loadouts or looking into tactical gadget use such as night vision, you have a very clean HUD with fairly realistic ammo check, requiring an inspection of the weapon’s magazine. Running out of bullets during a heated firefight is the worse that may happen to you, making timely ammo checks of vital importance. The map is reasonably sized, with a handful of locations featuring good depth for exploration and ambushes, although there wasn’t a particular jaw-dropping moment, no memorable landmark or location yet, like the ones that often come to mind in a game like S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Beautiful Light Hands-On Preview

Our experience pitted a few teams of three Operators against each other in a bid to secure an artifact and reach the exfil point where the helicopter will be waiting to take you to safety. Easier said than done, as the mission will be regularly hindered by the presence of other players striving for the same objective, but also anomalies that roam the land and try to take you out.

The current game mode requires the completion of a few goals in succession, but the locations where these are placed, namely the keycard computer, may change between matches. Your first task is to find this laptop and print a bunker keycard, scouring the village or radar station, for example, for this hard-to-miss glowing green device. You can’t miss it, but until you do there’s some searching around the various rooms or houses for it, precious time wasted as the opposing teams may already be on phase two of the operation.

Claiming the keycard isn’t a straightforward thing for a new player as it requires a bit of hacking, although that’s quite the overstatement. Using the command help will give you the full rundown on this process, with a memo on the left side displaying the steps to take for achieving this goal and leaving with the printed keycard. A couple of matches later and this is something that any player will solve in a few seconds, as they should, given the rush to reach the next area, the bunker, where the artifact stands.

Beautiful Light Hands-On Preview

This claustrophobic area of long and barely lit corridors features a terminal where you must check the state of the core module and connect the power supply cables in the correct order to power up the battery, ultimately confirming the actions and releasing the artifact. Now it’s time to grab it and escape by requesting an helicopter, as anomaly numbers ramp up around you and so do enemy teams.

The current loop is fun, even if lacking a proper progression system that is in the works and should deliver some solid encouragement to your repeat runs. However, there are some concerns looming over the extraction gameplay, the same that plague other similar games to a certain extent. What is going to prevent teams from camping nearby the artifact location, trying to thwart the rival’s plans and winning the match? Or hanging around near extraction points to kill everyone in a frustratingly mischievous tactic? Those are questions that need to be answered when development progresses and we get a clearer picture on the plan to avoid these pitfalls, and hopefully the additional objectives in the works will help players steer their attention to more organic gameplay, instead of monopolizing the camping spots.

Anomaly in the Zone

Beautiful Light Hands-On Preview

Beautiful Light tries to offer two very polarizing gameplay styles, providing different thrills overall. While playing as an Operator as described above is your standard shoot and extract template, anyone selecting to play as an Anomaly is going to find quite a few distinct mechanics and objectives. While this mode wasn’t available in our test build, some footage was shown along with info on what the developers are aiming to achieve.

Giving the example of a creature known as juggernaut, this choice will place you in a concept similar to the Alien vs. Predator games. As the Anomaly, your goal and winning condition is purely to hunt and kill Operators, using your evolved movement abilities to their fullest. The footage followed a creature capable of running on walls and jumping between trees with barely any effort, making for quite the predator that would strike from above, unseen and unheard.

This unrivalled freedom is meant to be expanded upon by a selection of different Anomalies to pick from, each one featuring a unique movement type that highly contrasts with the grounded and restricted Operator movement. How that will turn out is yet a mystery, as this feature seems to remain fairly secretive and in early development stages.

Beaufitul Light Preview

Indie developer Deep Worlds aims to release Beautiful Light, its debut title, in Early Access by the end of 2024, which seems like a more than reasonable timeframe for a game already looking solid and fun, but naturally lacking in content, customization, and progression systems. For the Early Access release, the goal is to offer two, eventually three different maps, with the full launch in theory boasting a respectable eight maps.

First impressions from Beautiful Light point to a satisfying compromise between accessibility and challenge, ultimately pending to the latter but without discarding fans of Call of Duty and other more immediate shooters. It’s early days even if the experience was clearly positive, surprisingly polished for a game that still has quite a long road ahead. This is clearly one to keep on your radar if you’re a fan of Escape from Tarkov or Hunt: Showdown mixed with a taste of horror and anxiety where danger may lurk in every desolate corner or pitch-black corridor.