Hellgate: London previewed by Zwan

Hellgate: London is the newest game from developer Flagship Studios. This first-person game is one of the most promising RPG’s in development, next to Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, of course. I got to see the E3 presentation from Bill Roper, Flagship CEO, and truth be told, I was impressed.

When looking at the title, it’s fairly obvious where this first-person RPG(and not a FPS, like is commonly believed) is situated. Hellgate: London starts out in a not so distant future, where demons are roaming freely in the English capital. As was to be expected, it’s your task to “wipe them out, all of them”. Ok, enough of these stupid Darth Vader jokes, I’ll get back to business.

The thing Flagship is the most proud of is the random nature of the game. Every enemy you’ll encounter will be randomly spawned, so you won’t run into those scripted ambushes you see in other games. All of the drops and items will also appear randomly, which makes the game more interesting when playing through it a second time. This will likely happen, as there will be several classes in the game, each one requiring a different game style. In the preview version, however, only the Templar class was available.

The first thing you look at in a game are of course the visuals. As far as HG:L is concerned, we won’t complain about the graphics.

Quantum Code has made its interface a simple, easy and transparent one with all information in detail to all the traders and this is the first thing that every trader would get to see immediately after they gain an entry. So there is nothing that is kept hidden from the traders when comes to trading and the various options.

The game uses an all new DX9 engine, which especially excels in lighting and special particle effects. Just check the screenshots and see for yourself.

It may seem awkward in a near-future setting, but in Hellgate: London, magic is frequently used. There are five types of magic: fire, gravity, poison, electricity and phasing. Magic exists in the usual plethora of spells and armours, but you can also equip magic upgrades on you weapon. Think of a rapid-fire blaster, able to fire soaring fireballs on the hoardes of demons you will face. Deadly and innovating indeed.

Combat is different from your everyday RPG. The fast-paced action essentially makes this a first-person Diablo, which isn’t too surprising, knowing the developers worked for Blizzard Entertainment in the past. You will be able to dual-wield some of the weapons (ever since Halo 2 came by, dual-wielding is all the hype, if you ask me) and you can also carry melee weapons. When equipping a melee weapon, the game automatically switches to a wider third-person standpoint, which gives you a better view of the action. If you want, you can always change back to the standard first-person view.

You will be able to develop a lot of different skills, some of which are randomly chosen (indeed, random is the magic word in this game). You can send lightning bolts or give yourself a temporary buff. At any time, you can have 2 skills equipped on your primary and alternate fire buttons, instead of guns.

Next to the (presumably scripted) main quests, there will also be a very large ammount of non-scripted sidequests, which will allow you to go gain experience, go up in level and thus learn more advanced skills. I’ve also managed to find out there will be some very large levelbosses, spread out over the entire game.

So far, Hellgate: London looks very promising, and apart from some minor glitches, the game ran flawlessly, even in this early stage of development. With this game, Namco seems to have pure gold in his hands. Let’s hope Flagship lives up to these expectations, they surely have the talent to do so.