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Hellbreed: Old School Rogue-like Action

By Christina Gonzalez on September 19, 2011 | General Articles | Comments

Hellbreed: Old School Rogue-like Action

Hellbreed is a browser-based, retro style, point and click, hack n’ slash online action RPG. If you’ve played Diablo or Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, then things will be plenty familiar to you. From Gameforge, the game officially launches today.

There are three gender-locked classes – the Siege Master, who is a melee character that uses axes and even explosives, is what I checked out in the demo. Huntress is your basic ranger, utilizing archery and taming animals. Warrior does exactly what he says on the package. Warriors can use any weapon in the game.

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Set in a fictional world called Manjuri that has been split apart by dark forces, you are the potential chosen one. You must collect enough shard fragments in each world (known as a dimension) in order to eventually unlock the following dimension. There are currently 10 dimensions and 150 levels spread among them, but more are planned. Is it the most original story in the world? Not really, but the game runs with it. After all, we’re talking about a top-down, isometric action game. 

The “dimensions” in which most of your action takes place are instanced, though there are social areas where players may chat, join co-op together, shop, or compare achievements.

There are several things I enjoyed about the game. Combat is fun. You move and fight via mouse or mouse and keyboard shortcuts. There are a lot of different creatures. There were about 250 in the beta build, but launch brings it to about 400. Dropping a ton of rocks onto a huge group of skeletons? Fun. The instances and dungeons all feature hand-drawn backgrounds and level art, which helps make them unique and not copies of previous dungeons. For a browser game, that’s pretty impressive. The artwork looks sufficiently old school but is also quite pretty. The effort pays off there.

Hellbreed is free to play and supported by item shop. Most of the items are available with in-game currency (gold) or cash shop currency (diamonds), but some are diamond exclusive. These range from feathers that let you respawn where you fell instead of at the level beginning to tablets that give you stat bonuses or increased damage. Some will see this as pay-to-win, but, as you will likely spend much time in instances, you’re not really competing against anyone but yourself right now. Players have suggested the addition of PvP, but the closest thing to competition among players right now are global leader-boards, as well as the over 150 achievements players may collect. There are also hidden achievements not listed for the intrepid to discover.

Hellbreed is presented in a fun way. If you love those old games, then this might satisfy an itch to play on your lunch break or at another time. Since Hellbreed doesn’t require a client, I can see it being something more people are likely to try, and revisit casually. While Hellbreed might cover familiar territory, it does so in a way that’s easy to pick up and join in, which is Gameforge’s aim.

Christina Gonzalez / Christina is a freelancer and contributor to MMORPG.com, where she writes the community-focused Social Hub column.