20 October 2007

Hellgate: London Beta played

Weeks ago I signed up for the Hellgate: London Beta, without any expectations, since I wasn't too keen on trying the game out, and my rig, as far as I thought, actually not good enough to even fire the game up. Two days ago I received a beta-invitation to one of the most anticipated games of this year.

I played a Guardian for several hours to Level 7 and so far it is a pretty good game, but with a few letdowns. I'll start off with things that bothered me.

I was thrown right into the game, without any introduction to the world or the storyline, and the first quests didn't help me get familiar with the world either. The tutorial help messages were rather confusing and I was relying mostly on my Diablo-experience - which you could also count as a good thing since the game is pretty is to learn. It's also bad that the NPCs had no voices except for when first clicked on (like in World of Warcraft), and Flagship Studios should really have tried to put each dialog in one single box instead of having you click so often to get to the next sentence. Also there is no sort of Deckard Cain to be found that could identify your items all with one click, but that wasn't at the beginning of Diablo 2 either. The skill-system so far seems to be pretty simple: a couple of skill-trees but not as many skills as in Diablo 2. Also I could not use every key on my keaboard that I wanted to. Stuff like 'Shift' and 'Enter' seem to be reserved for specific commands.

In some way the bad things overweight the good things but a game is more than the sum of its parts, so it's good to say that the combat-system is simple, yet fun. You move your character with the arrow-keys and hold your left mouse button to swing your sword when enemies draw near. Special attacks are executed with the right mouse button. Random level design and item drops are excellent replay value and just get you going on and on to a pretty addictive extent, and this is where it really counts if you want a game with longlivety.

The game got better and better with every minute that passed, leading me to the British Museum where I had to enter a portal to hell and activate a mechanism that would destroy the gate. As soon as I had exited and returned to the Museum I was attacked by monsters who had previously been nothing more than statues, and when those were dealt with I met a woman that seemed to be pretty important to the plot of the game, but unfortunately had nothing to say that could really grab my attention. Shame on the missing audio!

So, it might not become the best game out there but I see no reason for current Diablo-fans not to move on to Hellgate: London, unless of course the London-2038-scenario does not work for them. HG:L has everything that made the Diablo-series popular, including a new weapons, new skills, improved graphics, and of course a 3D-environment.

(Watch the TV-Teaser of Hellgate London)

http://view.break.com/383960 - Watch more free videos

Update: a second TV-Teaser has been released


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