Hellgate: London review
Great Game

The good:

The Gameplay
The Graphics(depending on your hardware)
The Storyline
The Audio
The Controls

The bad:

The Audio
Game Glitches and Bugs


The Gameplay:
I'm not sure what to classify Hellgate as. It has RPG styles and FPS styles combined into one, yet it still possessed a pretty strict linear storyline(eg. one thing must be completed before moving onto the next, whether it's collecting items for the main quest line or doing side quests to keep your character leveled throughout). I guess you could classify it as a fantasy FPS RPG. The game doesn't really break any new barriers with it's gameplay styling, but in NOT doing that they have decided to stick with a tried and true format that has in the past proven to be a winner if you like this style of gaming.

There isn't much freedom in this game. There is an obvious storyline that needs to be followed as well as quests that need to be done. You can choose not to do the majority of the quests but you will find yourself very weak when pitted against enemies within the main quest line without the regular leveling up gained from side quests. I don't really think that's a bad thing though, as it prevents that exact scenario by not allowing you to blow through the game. I'll comment on this more in the Repetitive section of this review.

You get to make your character in the beginning as well as decide which fighting style you want to use. You can choose between being a sorcerer, a bladesman or a gun toting operative. There are also cross-categories that allow you to employ some of the fighting styles from two of those three categories.

You purchase and sell items that you find or need. Your money found in the wild is circa Super Mario Brothers as coins appear from the defeated bodies of the demons.You can modify and upgrade your weapons as well as create your own mods for them.

Now that you have your weapon class and your weapons, you get to choose skills with your level-up points. Each class of character has it's own skill tree for you to gradually fill in during your progression through the game. Each skill adds a new special move or a permanent unique boost to your current attributes.

All in all, I'm a big fan of this particular gameplay structure. You have plenty of opportunities to develop a very successful character but you still get the option of how exactly you develop that character. I feel that this really does a great job of making you feel like you are part of the game. It's "your" character, almost an extension of you.

The Graphics:
The graphics are great in this game. It can operate under the DX9 engine or the DX10 engine depending on how capable your hardware is. I unfortunately can not comment on the DX10 portion as I'm not capable of playing it through my DX9 hardware.

The game settings are all pretty dark and dreary. Mostly underground tunnels and caverns as your passageway from city to city is through a subway system that has been breached by the enemy forces. You do in fact visit the outside world and even Hell occasionally, so I don't want it to sound like you are constantly running through a tunnel because you are not. The times that you are outside, it's still pretty dark due to "the burn"(explained under the storyline) forcing a black sky. It's all very suiting to the plot honestly.

They've done a great job with reflections, hardware optimization, weapon effects and just across the bored the graphics are very pleasing to the eye. If the game gets too busy you can still turn down some effects via a fully customizable graphics control panel with minimal loss to the game experience.

The Storyline:
Years ago, a dimensional rift caused the forces of Hell to start to enter the human world. Their systematic conquering and ultimate connection between these two worlds is completed by "the burn", a literal fusing of the two dimensions.

An ancient society, the Templar, once fought back the minions of Hell but failed in closing the gate between dimensions. Their fighting bought time for the survivors to train under the Templar's order and to integrate the behavior of the demons into their training.

Now, you play an integral part in round two.

quote From the game booklet
London, 2038:
The once-great city lies in ruin. A massive, sinister gash in the fabric of our reality swirls and churns, dominating the horizon near the Hellgate as it blends into permanently darkened sky. The Invasion, the unspeakable cataclysm that befell London, eventually engulfed all of humanity. The powerful nations of man were eradicated, and the decades-long process called "The Burn"-the alteration and assimilation of our world into theirs-has begun.
Mankind is a race of survivors. Men and women hide in the shadows of their former dominance, struggling to survive, yearning to strike back at their conquerors.

These survivors have banded together, and they are learning. Learning how to travel undetected. Learning how to forge weapons capable of piercing unfathomable defenses. Learning how to harness the forgotten arcane powers of magic. Learning how to defeat the demons and close the Hellgate once and for all.

The Audio:
The audio is pretty good, only falling short in a few NPC's voices. Not so much the game audio, but rather isolated instances. Most of the time there is a slight rumble of noise you'd expect to hear when fighting... or rather not fighting... demons. When the fighting really breaks open and starts getting crazy, there is fast-paced music of distorted guitar amping through your speakers. It really adds the desired effect to the fighting.

You have the standard options of altering the master sound, the effects volume, voice levels, and the music volume.

The Controls:
These controls are great. Too often do you have great games with controls that rival Ground Control at NASA. Dozens of hot keys and too many controls that are by default keyed in some awkward fashion. Just because of the sheer amount of controls, there is no way to comfortably reconfigure them.

Not in this game! The places that in the past have used too many controls and buttons are replaced with drop down menus and key combinations. The devs of this game still understand that we only have 8 fingers and 2 thumbs. In addition to that, you can still take full control of how you want them set up through the control reconfiguration panel.

The Audio:
Like I stated above, the only real problem with the audio I have are the few occasions where some NPCs basically start yelling as if they were overly excited. That in itself wouldn't be so bad, but they posses a stereotypical, gutter-snipe British accent. It's terrible to listen to. Thank god not all of the NPC have it.

I'm not really sure if this is even a bad thing. Anything will get repetitious if you do it enough. Some people will buy a game and play it on end until they've beaten it. Well with just about any game, doing that severely limits the longevity the game will have as one of your favorites. This game is the same way. You are fighting demons with weapons. That's the bottom line. Many different demons, but nonetheless it's still a game comprised of pointing and clicking.

Take that at face value. I really enjoy this Hellgate. It's only repetitious if you smother the game.

Bugs and Glitches:
There are a few bugs in this game. Mostly with ragdoll effects and it isn't that frequent so it's nothing real major. Enemies dying and staying in a frozen "attack" position. Enemies dying and being partially beyond the level boundaries. Enemies dying in an awkward position and continually convulsing due to some sort of collision glitch.

Those are the main ones. They're not even that prominent but I felt that they were worth mentioning as I was thrown for a loop the first time I killed a demon and it didn't fall. I thought it was still attacking me.

One thing I'd like to mention which I'm certain isn't really a bug, but it definitely isn't realistic. Unlimited ammo if you decide to be a gun slinger. No ammo caches, no mention of ammunition in the game even. No reloading at all. The game is mostly "sword and magic" but you can go the gun route if you wish. Because of that, they probably didn't write a new string of code to add ammo caches and whatnot if that's the fighting style that you prefer.

The last FPS game I can remember playing where ammo didn't matter at all, was Duck Hunt for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

(This one makes it looks easier than it actually is, and there is none of that Matrix style movement.)

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