Graphically, Helbreath International has its ups and downs. The detailed rendering of the terrain backgrounds is quite impressive and it is evident that great care was taken in the creation of these areas. Each area has its own unique feel, whether it be the peaceful starting countryside, the underwater city of Druncnia, the dungeon known only as Maze, and the fiery realm of Abaddon. I also found that a great deal of the more prominent monsters in the game showed a high level of style. The artwork behind the demon Abaddon, for example, was quite well done. Where I felt some improvement could be made was with the avatar and spell effect graphics, which were very reminiscent of the early Ultima Online MMO. Being used to more elaborate artwork for avatars and spell effects in some of the other leading MMOs, it almost felt like Helbreath was a throwback instead of a pioneer in this regard.
There was also a dichotomy for me when it came to the sound in the game. The sound effects didn't jump out and impress me in any way, however the background music was quite enjoyable. The sound effects seemed like they were standard "stock" sounds and there seemed not to be anything that made them stand out, or make me want to perk up my ears to hear them again. The music tracks, on the other hand, felt appropriate and gave each area where music swept in a flavor that graphics alone couldn't have done. Much like the background graphics, the music that was a part of the game felt like there had been a great deal of effort to create and incorporate this element. Conversely, like the player avatar customizability, the sound effects felt like they were just thrown in without much thought.
As we have all learned about the gaming industry, a pretty package means nothing if what's inside isn't up to par. The gameplay of Helbreath, much like its graphic content, plays like an early Ultima Online as well. However, there are several differing aspects with relation to the PvE and PvP elements that Helbreath brings its own twist to. The standard fare of monster killing and experience gain is in place in the game. Players of certain level ranges have designated area of the game that is geared for their level. New players are designated as "Travelers." Travelers are considered neutral and cannot attack other players. Players who kill travelers will be assessed a PK penalty for such acts. The penalties vary based on frequency of the acts. After so many "innocent" murders (killing those members of your own village), a player's stats are negatively affected as well as items of his are taken away. After reaching level 5, players can obtain citizenship from the village of their choice and thusly have access to the PvP elements of the game. However, being a traveler has its rewards, such as the ability to have weapons that do not decay over time and use. It's recommended, however, that players remain neutral until level 19 so that they get a feel for the game dynamics prior to jumping into the fray of PvP. However, up to the time a player decides become a warrior for his chosen village, he can venture to city hall to obtain quests from the NPC there. For a little bit of coin, the player can purchase missions which will provide reward in both coin and item form.