In three words: God Damn EA

User Rating: 8 | Hellgate: London PC
I believe my headline pretty much summarizes the problem.

Before i start with the review let me "introduce" myself. I've been following this game for a long time. I managed to get in the closed beta for about 3 weeks and have completed the first three acts through many characters.

To anyone that believes i'm bashing the game, i want you to check out my forum posts on the HG:L forums and you'll notice i've been doing nothing bu the opposite all this time. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GOD DAMN EA:This game was rush released. Everything proves that. There's no way in the world a company like Flagship would release a buggy unstable and unfinished game if they weren't forced to do so. EA set a deadline for the game. Unfortunately, it only led to the team doing the best they could in the little space of time that was left, which, still wasn't enough.

FLAGSHIP STUDIOS:Through the beta, in only three weeks, the whole gameplay changed a lot towards the direction we all wanted. Their devotion and hard work can't go unnoticed. I have never seen a team redesign their whole game through the beta in many terms.

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GRAPHICS:8
The graphics are not last gen. They are quite nice for what they are supposed to be, though. The setting could use a bit more diversity (which will be fixed by future additions according to official word) and there could be a bit more gore. Like a bit of blood splattered on floors/walls.

SOUND:9
The Hellgate:London musical theme is very nice. And the music and sound effects throughout the game are spectacular. The voice-overs of NPCs are quite a problem, though. Before Patch 0 the voice-overs were too funny and out of place. After Patch 0 the voice-overs are lifeless and uninspired. Hope there will be another patch for those. No official word.

GAMEPLAY:9
This is where the game shines. The gameplay engine is simply magnificent. Randomized levels in 3d are lovely, and places that appear randomly give some spice to the game. The battles can be very intense with hordes of enemies on the screen at once. The gameplay is quite action-oriented rather than point-click spell style which has been adopted by many recent MMOs and games.

REPLAYABILITY:10
That's what the whole game is all about isn't it? Especially in multiplayer with all the neat additions coming up, the game is supposed to never end. Even if you finish it at some point, though, it feels just great and quite a different experience to start over with another character maybe also on another difficulty mode. Currently there are the following modes: Normal, Elite -and for subscribers only - Hardcore, Hardcore Elite. With all of those playable in two different difficulty settings (Normal and Nightmare) each, you can expect loads and loads of game hours till you've actually done it all. (Quite impossible)

MULTIPLAYER:5
The multiplayer makes me feel it was the product of rushed thoughts. There should be some way to switch between station instances. Like in guild wars for example: International-1,2,3 etc. The trading doesn't exist for now. Stacks can't get split, it's all chat based and generally it's not working. The LFG-using-chat mode is broken. The chat itself is the worst chat system that could be implemented. You just join random channels as soon as you get in the game and that's it. Not even that old GRC-1, USA-6 etc. Its just a chat-1, chat-2, chat-3, LFG-60, Trade-28 etc. The weak auto-party ends up with you finding a party once in 3-4 hours. Once you manage to get in a party the game gets really fun but you won't see that often. Bigger monsters, more monsters, better loot etc. Concluding, this section of the game needs a complete overhaul.

OVERALL:8
This game has loads and loads of potential. It could - and most possibly will - become one of the top games in the genre. The bugs are quite annoying though. Crashes, Player getting stuck at places, Lag at some points, combined with the unusable chat system don't allow me to give a higher score for now...

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CONCLUSION:In its current state, i like this game. I don't know for how long i will be able to cope with all its problems, though. Provided the game manages to survive in the market, considering the devotion of the team, this game is going to shine in about 3-6 months from now. 3 months before it was a very different game and in 3 months from now it's also gonna be a lot different. The game is still in development. When, and if, its finished and polished, it's gonna deserve that 9.5-10 from me.