This Hellpoint PS4 review is probably one of the most fragmented pieces I’ve done of late as the game allowed me to jot down various notes while playing.
Sometimes it would be the loading screen (quite long) after dying for the 30th time within an hour, well, not that often but you get the idea. Other times it was stopping to take a breather as I’d unlocked new gear that had completely changed my playstyle and I was looking to add these comments in this review.
But most of the time, I was so engaged in the gameplay that I’ve probably missed more than I care to admit.
Hellpoint PS4 Review
This review covers the PS4 version, but tinyBuild kindly provided both this and the PC. While the PC edition is notably sharper, it was a little more practical for me to play on the PS4, and considering the time to invest in the game, I stuck with the console version throughout.
I did notice a little bit of stuttering with the PS4, surprisingly, when standing still. I tested my controllers in case of drift, but there was a slight movement now and then on the camera. Nothing game-breaking. There was the odd ragdoll effect too, but only on death.
The next in a long list of disclaimers is the overall score, and this review is solely based on solo play. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t play online with others, but the Dark Souls series, which this will be compared to countless times, but I depend on the assistance of much better players than I am – notably, for the guardians as with Code Vein.
Unfortunately, due to the early release, finding a single player to assist was non-existent, but by the time this hits the shelves, I don’t doubt the numbers will be there.
It Started With A Kiss
It didn’t, but it’s an opener. First impressions when starting the game was a mixture of Etherborn, Dark Forces (don’t ask) and a hint of the film Event Horizon.
You play an advanced human/AI who has been engineered, labelled Spawn – not the McFarlane creation; otherwise, this adventure would be easy. Sent to Irid Novo – an apparent hot spot for the occult, your job is to investigate and uncover what the hell is going on.
Aa a third-person action RPG, immediate comparisons would be Dark Souls (from now on DS), but the combat is more like Bloodborne and has less rigidity than the former.
You run through various parts of Irid Novo killing lesser characters that are mildly challenging, but after a few dozen attempts and levelling up, sections become less stressful until you find a new area.
Two types play this type of game, from my experience. The speedrunners/evasive experts that are masters at the game and invest their stats in one particular build and travel light, or there are the grinders who repeat areas, get a little OP so they can embrace the moniker ‘tank’.
That would be me.
I love a good old grind; obtaining enough souls to invest in a strength or dexterity build. Hellpoint is the same as DS in that the currency is axioms instead of souls, but it’s the same format; bonfire, level up, the next level will cost you more, etc…
Bloodborne In Space
As a console gamer, I thought the visuals were crisp, and the game ran relatively smooth. The combat was the highlight as you can lock on enemies sweep in and out or take a step back and used ranged attacks. In that sense, the game is very versatile.
The same applies to movement. Manoeuvring around platforms felt smooth unlike the awkward rolling off of edges in DS, Spawn can jump and almost glide to other locations.
As can be expected, the minion-like enemies are mostly the same in appearance, but their attack patterns differ significantly, are much more organic and dare I say, quick.
The larger enemies are even better – looking like a fusion of Silent Hill and Hexen type characters whose invite you’d deny if they said come over for some lamb.
I can’t say the same about the bosses, a.k.a. guardians. In my previous experiences with this sort of game, I’d always enlist online help with the more difficult bosses or if I was under levelled (that’s why I couldn’t get on with Sekiro).
However, the bosses are easy in Hellpoint. Not exactly a breeze, but in comparison to some of the epic battles in Bloodborne, Sekiro or perhaps a Final Fantasy VII Remake tussle, the combat, while different for each boss, was predictable and formulaic.
I found the characters in corridors more challenging.
Speaking Of Corridors…
I’m not the biggest sci-fi fan. Space never really interested me, especially in games. The terrors in Dead Space was mostly trolling through dark lifeless corridors.
With Hellpoint, developed by Cradle Games, a lot of the areas feel quite open – not in the freedom sense but perhaps sparse. This was quite the issue as it highlighted the lack of ambience – specifically with the sound design.
The music was inconsistent; fading in and out on its own and not in unison with the action and the sound effects were a bit flat. Combat and groans from the cultish hordes were excellent, but there’s a lot of running about, and the footsteps sound like the Foley artist was on a break.
That’s only my real beef with the game though – the emptiness and sound were a bit of a letdown. It certainly makes up for it with the combat and various items to collect that give it an edge.
One of the aspects I enjoyed was never committing to one playstyle or weapon. I’ve always preferred big heavy weapons like the zweihander and equipped in Havel’s armour. While you can get an aesthetically pleasing armour set or two (and that offers protection), there aren’t two-handed weapons.
That’s Not A Knife
On that basis, I experimented with larger than life weapons, ranged options and short blades. The latter was my preferred play through the bulk of the game; while it lacks in damage, it makes up for it in speed.
There’s no mistaking that Hellpoint is a clone of DS and Bloodborne, but it has a few aces up its sleeve such as weapons that improve, i.e. earn additional abilities, through usage.
In the early part of the game, I found a ceremonial dagger that granted me new skills like a backstab that would insta-kill enemies not aware of my presence. Weapons can also be fused with various modules, allowing you to customise everything at your disposal.
While I was looking forward to playing Hellpoint, this was the first time I experienced it – other than trailers; I hadn’t seen any gameplay.
For the first hour, I was disappointed, but before I knew it, 3 hours had passed then another, and so on. The story isn’t going to win any accolades, but the enjoyment from the game that I had was immense, and warrants repeat plays to try different builds.
With these sort of games I always miss items or find a trick that a friend shows me or perhaps see something in a YouTube video, so I expect I’ll be playing this for more time to come. I may even play on the PC properly, but I’m so ingrained in console gaming with the DS series and Bloodborne that unless I’m using a controller, I’d be stuffed.