Hellgate: London Review
HellGate: London Review
MMORPG.com Staff Writer Joe Iuliani gives his us his impressions of Hellgate: London.
The gates of Hell have opened in the middle of London, unleashing legions of demons upon the unsuspecting populace. Well mostly unsuspecting, I mean c’mon in every game or movie somebody sees these things coming.
Hellgate London is the post Apocalyptic MMO brought to you by the folks at Flagship Studios.
Hellgate London is not what most gamers typically consider an MMO, although it does meet all of the criteria. It’s Massive (well maybe not massive) Multiplayer (even though you can choose the solo play feature) and it’s Online (um, or not if you choose solo play).
There had been a lot of hype and interest in this game and I figured it was a much needed change of pace from my WoW addiction.
The quote on the back of the box cover was almost all I need to buy this game “The Creators of Diablo are bringing HELL to you”. Just an observation, but those same creators certainly have some kind of fake leg fetish. In Diablo it was find Writ’s Peg leg, in Hellgate London, one of the first quests is to retrieve Li’l Joey’s prosthetic leg. It’s a fitting homage to Diablo, but I digress. All I needed to see is the word Diablo on a game and I was already excited for it. For those of you who are fans of the way Diablo played, you will love Hellgate London. Playing Hellgate certainly felt a lot like playing Diablo again. There are many familiar aspects that former Diablo players will recognize immediately. Your inventory is graphed out for you, with certain items taking up more room than others. Fortunately, many necessary items stack (such as health injectors and teleport devices). In addition to your personal inventory, you do have a bank of sorts to store higher level and upgrade items for later usage.
Straight from the Hellgate London website, the three Factions found in the game are:
The Templar, a secret society preserving the rites of the original Knights Templar, mix futuristic technology with ancient artifacts to create powerful weapons and armor perfect for short-ranged and melee attacks.
The Cabalists are students of the dark arts and edges of science which often leaves them standing right on the line between good and evil. Their mystifying spells make them suited for mid-range combat.
The Hunters are mysterious, highly trained ex-military operatives who lay waste to their foes with hyper-advanced weapons that blend theoretical science and the latest in technology – and their bullets can come from almost any distance.
The templar classes are the game’s close quarter combatants consisting of the heavily armored Guardians who excel at taking a beating and the Blademasters the sword wielding melee fighters.
The Cabalists as the faction description implies are Hellgate’s casters. Summoners, um, well they summon demons, while the Evokers are a type of techno-mage.
The Hunters classes are Marksman and Engineers are you long range damage dealers. After trying many of the classes I settled on the Marksman. There is certain liberty to laying waste to countless demons and nasties from far away.
What class is missing from your choices? Yep you guessed it no healing class, you heard me right NO HEALING CLASS. (Admit it you just like saying that to yourself, hell say it out loud too) Players are on their own to watch those health bars. Lucky thing for you, you can pop those healing injectors fairly rapidly.
The User Interface was extremely intuitive. I had no problem just jumping into the game without reading the manual. There are your standard hot keys for your special attacks, just keep those health injectors hot keyed folks it’s a life saver.
I began the game in single player mode; I thought it would be a good way to get used to the game at first. To be honest unless you have no internet connection or are just completely anti social there is almost no reason to play this game in single player mode.
Factions in Hellgate don’t really factor into the game play other than to provide a role playing aspect. I didn’t come across anybody role playing during my time playing Hellgate London. The lack of definitive sides to choose from during character creation may be partly responsible for this. To be quite honest, the characters and game don’t seem to lend themselves to role-playing. I suppose if you are that creative and enjoy immersing yourselves in you games you could role play, but I would save that effort for a game that would enhance the experience.
I had a blast playing Hellgate London. It was a refreshing change of pace from the majority of MMOs. Maybe it was because I treated the game as a first person shooter rather than a typical MMO. There just seemed to be no pressure while playing this game. Leveling moves along at pretty smooth pace. I didn’t feel compelled to spend every waking moment playing. Additionally, there didn’t appear to be any sort of “arms race” in order to advance. Hellgate London is just good wholesome fun, while slaying the hordes of the underworld.
There are no crafting skills in Hellgate London; instead there is a system of upgrades to items available. The majority of items you loot will be of no use to the character you choose. Fortunately, those items can be analyzed and broken down into components for upgrading and creating items useful to your character. I didn’t really pay much attention to this feature until a little later in the game; rather I focused on selling every non usable item I came across. Breaking down items saves you the time and effort of returning to merchants for sales. I was a big fan of there being no crafting involved. One full time and a part time job are enough for me.
The opening cinematic clip was outstanding; it really set the feel and theme for the game. The in-game graphics were very clean and neat. I enjoyed the design of all the elements throughout the game. The variety of demons did not disappoint. The appearance and feel of the world that was created didn’t feel forced nor out of place. Some of my favorite effects were those found in the specialty attacks, as well as how your character responds to attacks. Character customization is available, there are just enough choices on how create your avatar to give it a unique look. Although I don’t know if I will ever be happy with the choices any MMO offers in their customization.
The sounds and music compliment the graphics very well. It really helps complete the feel to the game. The voices chosen for the both the cinematic scenes as well as in game were well thought out. The sound effects worked perfectly with the visual effects. The music was rather generic for this type of game. Certainly worth keep on through the game, but I wouldn’t be looking for the soundtrack any time soon.
I am running the game with Windows Vista Ultimate on a Dual Core E6750 @2.66, Dual ATI Radeon HD 3850, 2 Gig Corsair RAM and cable modem. The game ran very smoothly in single player mode. Unfortunately, there were times in densely populated multiplayer areas that the game hung up a quite a bit. This happened almost every time I logged into a zone. The situation would correct itself in time but it became very tedious very quickly.
I decided to bundle these two together. The best I can score these is average. There was nothing thrilling about either. That’s not to say it’s disappointing, it’s just that after a few weeks of playing I sensed no major spirit of community in the game (at least it’s not Barren’s chat folks) Additionally I had no need of any service for the game. Not needing service I suppose is a good thing and a testament to the how the game was made. The website at http://www.hellgatelondon.com/ supplies enough information for newcomers.
A game with a one-time purchase cost and unlimited online play, how do you really go wrong with that? If you are inclined you can option for the subscription for a modest monthly fee.
Your purchase of Hellgate London grants you a standard account with the option to upgrade to a subscription account for a monthly fee.
The upgrade to the Subscription Account grants you the following:
- New Character Classes
- New Monsters, Items, and Areas
- Exclusive In-Game and Online Features
New Game Modes
Additional Character Slots
The Ability to Found Guilds
The Bottom Line:
In closing, this game is certainly worth purchasing, at this time I can’t say if I would upgrade to a subscription account, but I am certainly looking forward to everything the standard game offers.