On it’s core, Hellgate London is more an RPG with some shooter elements. Therefore you have all the RPG goodness and context, dressed as a mediocre 1st or 3rd person (your choice) shooter.
Following the tradition of good RPGs you have the option to choose from a variety of characters and create your own character based on their skills. A few base character options are available such as: Marksman, Guardian, Swordsman, Summoner (mage) etc. Each character has unique dress code and weapon skills. For example should you want to take the clean shooter approach (as I did) you should choose the Marksman, or woman, since you have options to further customise your character as to their gender, skin colour, hair style, hair colour, body size etc. These customisations won’t affect the gameplay so much as they aim more to your visual liking rather than the game’s mechanics. I should guess that female characters have less strength than their male versions in favour of their agility.
Hellgate London’s plot is indeed based on the city of London. Or to be more precise, the game uses the London Underground system to map it’s various levels and locations around. By that I mean that usually the player moves from place to place by using the tube’s tunnels.
The actual scenario of the game is quite silly and equally silly are the various (and many) dialogues that you will encounter. What happened is that the city of London was taken over and got completely destroyed by the demonic forces of darkness. Only a few people survived and they are using the tube’s underground stations as fortresses and to safely commune and survive. Although many people carry the big guns on them, only a few have actually the guts to go out and face the foul forces. One of them unlucky sods is the player, which has once again to do all the dirty work and save this goddamn’ planet.
The strange thing to me about Hellgate London is the fact that RPGs are not really my kind of thing, although I admit from time to time I really like the ol’ RPG but I’ve never been a true fan of the genre, yet I’m completely addicted to Hellgate London. I wouldn’t comment on it’s shooter values, cause it simply sucks as a shooter, and coming to think of it, it was designed to act only 15%-30% as a shooter! Should you choose a sword wielding character you have a classic RPG! This is the 3rd week that I’m playing this game (the last game that lasted so long on my system was S.T.A.L.K.E.R and Test Drive Unlimited – which I still have installed and play it from time to time). I should mention that the element that appeals to me the most about Hellgate London is the cyberpunk and modern feeling, as most RPGs are set in medieval or mythical times, which is not really my cup of tea.
I have done a summarised list of the pros and cons of the game, I’m not going to go into any detail in here, as I will probably write a review for mobygames. So there you have it:
- -RPG with strong shooter elements
- -Uses real London underground places as levels
- -Brilliant cinematic intro
- -Battle of good against evil, no religion is involved or mentioned, actually God, or Satan is never mentioned in the game, instead they call the opposing forces as light and evil.
- -Variety of player characters and further cutomisation: hair, face, skin etc
- -Variety of Weapons, mods and power ups
- -Freedom of movement – non linear plot (like S.T.A.L.K.E.R.)
- -Adequate variety of enemy characters
- -Eerie monster sound effects (screams, growls etc), eerie winds when outside
- -Zoom mode: 3rd person (RPG players), 1st person (shooter players)
- -Enemies often use the element of surprise as they crop up from nowhere (due to their metaphysical abilities and nature)
- -Limited variety of scenery: most of the time is spent on tube stations and tube tunnels and less often on dungeons, alleys, scarce small city blocks, parks, hell, museum
- -Has a rather stupid storyline, naive with many gaps
- -Boring and extremely repetitive scenery, unimaginative level design, non accurate representation of the real city of London (only in small part), repetitive graphics (houses, cars, surrounding)
- -Dated graphics and modeling
- -Medium shooter, too easy, it all comes down to who’s having the most powerful weapons
- -Crap enemy AI
- -Too long and silly dialogues with a lot of clicking for the next sentence
- -Will appeal more to RPG players than shooter fans, has a lot of RPG context in it
- -Boring scenery will make you loose interest quickly.
- -Good lasting value because of choice of player characters, but boring scenery brings down it’s value
- -Not recommended for pure shooter fans