Hellgate: London--A Real Gateway into Repetitive Hell
When asked which game holds the least fulfilling experience, it was difficult to give an answer until I remembered a little game called Hellgate: London. This game was such an over-hyped, highly potentiated creation that it’s often overlooked when you go back and chronicle the games you’ve played. For those of you who have not had the dissatisfaction to play this game, it was developed by Flagship Studios for the PC exclusively and was developed by the gaming juggernaut EA. I can’t say for sure which of these companies made the ultimate decision to design the progression the way they did, but someone had a severe lapse in judgment.
It had such promise!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not the type to hate on games as I’m always trying to give developers the benefit of the doubt, but this game’s shortcomings can’t be overlooked. I had stated that it was highly potentiated but the concept, the setting, and the core gameplay were very enticing. The underground societies around London in a post-apocalyptic world seemed like a real winner setting-wise. And, to make it better, the apocalypse was not manmade, but biblical to the effect of demons and dark denizens pouring from the bowels of Hell. Not only this, but Hellgate also provided a wonderfully fresh take on the typical MMORPG structure by providing this futuristic, but still fantasy setting and provided one of the first smooth integrations of action-type controls in the game. Where did it all go south?
While not all MMOs are built around dungeon clearing, but Hellgate was. This doesn’t make the game terrible and repetitive because the setting was perfectly poised to support the quests and ventures into the underground. The problem lies within the structure of those dungeons and the environments as a whole. While textured very well in the beginning, the game quickly declines through levels 10-20. A very basic and easily noticed method of “mixing up” the dungeons bleeds away, leaving the player staring at a dungeon, slightly retextured (and I mean very slightly), with the same EXACT layout as a dungeon that had to be cleared 3-4 levels before. Sure, maybe it’s not a huge deal if this occurrence was only levels 10-20 (although this is where the game is supposed to draw in hardcore fans), but the patterns continued throughout the game.
As the player progresses in levels it becomes clear that each area has the same ways of rehashing areas the player sees early on in the environment. Even the end game content follows this pattern and, for anyone who is familiar with the MMO scene, you’ll know that this is a game destroyer. End game makes the game worth it in a MMO and for this reason, along with the repetitious nature, I have to say the experience was exceptionally unfulfilling.
From my understanding there’s a new version of the game that was acquired by Hanbit Soft, which was updated and re-released It’s currently free to play and only available in North America and Korea. If anyone would like to check it out, please do and judge for yourself, but I found that even after the reboot, the game is still lacking.