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Hellgate London

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Hellgate_London.jpg

 

Remember this game? I do. I remember seeing an article about it in some magazine before it came out. It looked really cool, action RPG with sci-fi and magic in a world full of demons. I liked that idea so much that I bought it not long after it came out. What I got though was a bit disappointing...

 

What it turned out to be, is basicaly a more action oriented but otherwise pretty standard MMORPG without open world but with a singleplayer mode. I played singleplayer for a bit and then went on to play something better.

Some years later I found out about something called Hellgate Global. An updated Hellgate London made into free to play MMO. I tried it, played it for a bit, but drop it when I got to a point where you need a ticket for passing to the next act.

Recently I picked up my original copy, installed a Lost London V mod for more fun and played through the whole thing as a Hunter.

 

 

When playing singleplayer, Hellgate London felt to me like Diablo with guns, at least when it comes to game mechanics. You go through locations which are either static safe stations with NPCs, or generated streets, subways, sewers etc. filled with enemies. You kill stuff, do fetch/kill quests, level up, get better gear. You don't have any say in progress of the story and you don't do any decisions excluding what piece of gear is better.

Combat itself is about aiming (unless you use weapons which don't require you to aim well) and using abilities. Enemies don't do much besides attacking you, difficulty comes mainly from their numbers and stats. Let's say it's nothing special and it gets boring quickly.

The game tries to shake things up a bit with a turret and squad commanding section but it seems rushed and you will be glad to have it behind you. Unfortunately you will see the squad command interface again at the end of the game, where you get a big mech suit and instead of driving it directly you have to give it commands in topdown view. Mine got quickly shredded by demons because it can't hit enemy too close to it and I continued on foot...

 

What is more interesting though is the world of the game. Yes, the locations look similar to each other but the design of the monsters is quite interesting. You get your standard zombies but then there are monsters which range from "weird" to "kill it with fire!". Of course the impact is much smaller after you kill a few hundreds of them, nevertheless, we have some proper hellspawn here.

 

Also if you take the time to read through NPC quest talk you will find some interesting stuff here and there. There is the standard "problem here, go kill", some experiments going bad, drink brewing, fetching various things for various purposes... There is also a series of quests about helping a hunter to set up his date in such a way that he won't get killed by hordes of demons but his crush gets enough stuff to kill. Later on the game gets a little selfaware with NPCs which basically says to you "you can't fail a mission can you?" and "oh, you are the guy who does everyone's job for them, ok, do this tedious job for me."

Of course, most interesting is the main quest. It's a big hunt for Thruth with cryptic messages which neither I nor the NPCs understood. You will do some infection cleaning, saving templars from doing their duty of following their glory-hungry leader into fight they know is suicide, having fun with the Oracle and at the end going through trials, defeating the game cover and getting a twist ending.

 

There are also some memorable characters and even though most of the information is delivered in form of a text, NPCs also have few voiced lines from which some of them are a bit fun. My favourite would be lines from vendor in Covent Garden Station, the delivery of his voice actor is just excelent.

The more notable NPCs I can remember would be a guy who constantly swears like this **** and one of his quests is to find 2 "gold ****iens". You will also meet the huntress from the trailer who sacrifices herself with a grenade, but somehow survives that... What surprised me was that her quests are about finding out how the hell did that happen (again, little selfawareness). Just a little silly that she goes to do detective work 20 years after it happened.

But of course the most memorable NPCs are Lucious Aldin and Techsmith 314. Aldin is just crazy, and it's awsome, especially with Techsmith 314 on the side with his commentary. Techsmith 314 himself is just walking tragedy, so much bad happens to him and he blames it all on you. And he's right, if it weren't for you trying to save the world and gluing Oracle together he wouldn't get his mind raped by it and wouldn't have to suffer the pain of having a demon inside his head (and you as well, Lucious transports you inside Techsmith's head). And if you do his missions at the end he will properly thank you by flipping you off.

 

 

To sum it up, I like the world of Hellgate London. It's just too bad that the game is such a grindfest.

 

For anyone interested in playing singleplayer I recommend trying the Lost London V mod. It helps a lot by increasing size of inventory, vendors refresh their stock instantly and enemies drop more rare stuff.

Merging original 6 classes into 3 is nice as well. My only complaint would be that some of the levels are just way too big but the mod has addons which allows you to change level size to normal.

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I never played the game myself but I did enjoy this guys retrospective look at the game

 

 

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I did a playthrough with an Engineer (drones, guns etc.) maybe two years back and did rather enjoy it. Yes, the game is obviously pretty awful in some ways, but after getting over the initial shock I did mostly enjoy it. The stations are a bit of a weak point, I fear. Lifeless is what I'd call them. Most characters are not memorable at all, there is barely any narration on the factions or the world in general and the story, well... I honestly don't remember much about it. Where it works is out in the "wilds" when killing monsters and picking up loot. Especially the class-specific loot felt like it was the only thing in the game that was illustrating the factions in a way.

Edited by BurningSheep

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I played the singleplayer release and... it was bad, really bad. I mean it looks bad, the gameplay is just, MMO tier crap.

 

I'm not surprised that it flopped as badly as it did. Man the screenshots I saw, were ultra cheerypicked, honestly they had to be fake or something, because the game didn't look that bad, once I actually got to play it.

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