Whom ever thought of the concept to merge a First Person shooter with RPG elements and lace that with an MMO must have thought it to be a task for the Gods. Well, thank God there is Flagship Studios headed up by some of the EX-Staff of a little game development company called Blizzard. So, of course, like shuckers (changed so I don’t get sued. ) you know it’s going to be good.
After an semi-easy install (Nvidia screwed up my download.. IE downloaded it fine.. go figure) easy patch system and the need to figure out that I needed to connect to the BETA server and not the test server. Hellgate loaded and all was good with the world. I was able to play for about 3 hours before my system locked up and enjoyed every moment it.. and better yet.. totally lost track of time.
The game is set in a post-apolocyptic setting where the gates of hell have opened (Hice the title.. get it? huh huh?) and everything from Zombies, Skeletons and demons have spewed forth to destroy mankind (like what did we ever do to them?) The gameplay centers around ’hubs’ where you are pushed off to different zones in order to complete your missions. This is where the MMO elements come into play. You can play the game solo or team up with a group of friends to raid a zone. A few pop events make you wonder what is around the corner and knowing that this is only the beginning of the game makes me wonder what’s going to happen next in the story, and what new demons I’m to face later on.
The gameplay has also been toned down from a ’twitch-shooter’ like UT or Halo. So you don’t need to worry about not being able to pen point your shoots as long as you are close most of the time you’ll hit the MOB. It’s also designed with total interactive combat. You don’t just run up to a mob and start playing ’wack-a-mole’ with the mob. You actively aim, fire, and dodge incoming fireballs and if you are teamed up you only see your OWN loot. You can not ninja loot in HellGate! Prase the Gaming Gods for this feature and, just like normal MMO’s/RPG’s, you also gain experience with each kill. Once gaining a level you can spend your points in stats and your huge list of skills from your skill tree.
Each and every level is created from a pallet of piece, from types of hallways to multi-level rooms, what’s cool about this is each zone is created randomly. The level will never the same unless you have been in it before and will be recreated differently each time you play the game and the levels are filled with items that really try to put you into the frame of mind that you are one of the last of the human race and just about everything has been destroyed or mess up in some way.
What about crafting? There IS crafting in HellGate. You can break down items dropped from Mobs to their components and use those components to create new weapons, spells, and power ups (called Mobs) for your weapons.
More or less, Mix Doom, with Diablo and wrap it around an MMO.. you’ve got Hell Gate.
However, HellGate isn’t with out it’s problems. First off is the hub system. Just like the Diablo series you are stuck in town gaining new quests before setting out into the world. The ’MMO’ part really only comes in play when you are in town and besides in game chat no real reason for you to team up with people unless you are friends or in a guild.
Also, the game borrows quite a lot of gameplay elements from Diablo, from the random maps to random weapons, armor, and mods. it’s fun for a while waiting to see what new cool random item will drop, but even Diablo get’s boring after you have played it over.. and over.. and over.. and over.. and over.
I’ve even seen some texture tearing in game, along with lag that allows your weapons fire to just show up on the screen with out showing your gun firing or even playing around. Not to forget Noobish gameplay problems like your gun getting stuck in ’fire’ mode so that it just fires over and over again or crashes to the desktop with out warning when the servers go down.
Now before someone jumps my ass about HellGate being in BETA. It’s gone GOLD and is to be released on Oct 31st. It’s a little late for noobish errors like this to be creaping into the code. Hellgate just doesn’t seem stable to me at the moment at least not with a Oct 31st released date. With open beta starting just last week, and the servers going down for patching over a WEEKEND. This is telling me that Hellgate isn’t ready for the public and expect a patch pretty dark quick after launch. Along with the complete unknown about how well Hellgate is to be supported due to it’s weird subscription model; I’m worried about the future for HellGate.
I’m worried that HellGate is trying to be to much at once and hasn’t been in the oven long enough to really allow it’s full flavor to come forth on your tongue.
future patches may take care of all of that, but damn it.. I’m tired of paying for a game that’s still in beta. Remember Vanguard!