Hands-on: Hellgate: London

Someone make an updated version of Diablo 2 with mind-bending visuals and physics, please! Till then, Flagship Studios’ debut game Hellgate: London will certainly settle as the placeholder, because it includes everything that made D2 a classic: randomized dungeons, tons of loot to collect and non-stop hack n’ slashing gameplay. Hellgate also includes an updated plot and the addition of guns (complete with FPS view).

Sounds great, right? Well, from what I played in a recently released single-player demo, what I described above is very much present in the game, but the overall presentation of the game is way below what I expected. I pictured a post-apocalyptic and war-torn London in the far future, and I’m fighting zombies and flying frogs in sewers?


I was pretty letdown by the visuals. Yes, performance was great, even with everything turned on high, but I wasn’t really impressed. There were many bland and blurred textures making up the rather generic level design. In the dungeons, the same boxes and shelves litter the walls. It looked like Flagship decided to focus on making sure Hellgate runs on as many PCs as possible, and they sacrificed visuals to do so.

But the gameplay is very exciting, if you like the non-stop hack n’ slash gameplay. The demo features two characters — basically a melee or ranged character. If you go the melee way, it plays out like a futuristic D2; going ranged plays like an RPG with guns. Plenty of loot drops and plenty of experience gains ensue.

The skills are your standard RPG fanfare. After you gain enough experience, you gain a level and can spend a skill point and some character points. For example, skills for the melee character include your standard power melee attack, while the ranged character can get a grenade attack or a rapid-fire attack. Shove in fancy-sounding names and you’ve got Hellgate’s skills system.


The main focus of Hellgate is the multiplayer. But of course, I can’t talk about any multiplayer because this is a single-player demo! Even the idea of just playing co-op with a few pals and hopping in any game as you please sounds like a blast, though. There’s also the division of the "optional" subscription fee folks can pay to get some perks.

All the things I talked above will be perfectly fine in an online setting, but in a single-player game, it was just like playing another random RPG/FPS hybrid. Online play is key for games like Hellgate: London, and if done right it’ll surely prevail, but I don’t know how many folks will fork over money for the subscription.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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