Techland’s upcoming first-person hack and slash title, Hellraid, is a video game worth getting excited about. During a presentation at E3 yesterday, I was fortunate enough to spend time with the game and understand what exactly makes the undead tick in Hellraid.
The first thing that stands out in Hellraid is the game’s tremendous visuals. The dark, gloomy environments that players trod through feature gorgeous graphics and top-notch textures. Outside of simply looking great, Techland has brought an architect onboard their team in order to perfectly nail down the gothic look and feel of the game’s location, adding miles of credibility to the environment.
Exploring the dangerous locations of Hellraid is no small task. Designed to be experienced both solo or cooperatively, Hellraid’s campaign places the player in the role of a member of a cursed team, fated to slay legions of undead creatures.
Fighting – and surviving – is the core of Hellraid’s gameplay. An emphasis has been placed on having the right equipment for the task at hand. Equipment is scattered throughout the randomly generated environments that players traverse, ensuring that each and every journey into the wicked world of Hellraid feel new and presents a fresh challenge.
Uncovering equipment and mastering combat is paramount in Hellraid, requiring players to master different types of weaponry to slaughter their varied enemies. Each weapon has two different attack types – fast light attacks and crushing heavy strikes – that can be used. In Hellraid, different weapons impact how damage is dealt on a given attack, encouraging players to mix and match until their find their preferred weaponry.
Attacking isn’t all that there is to surviving and overcoming your foes, however. The dodge mechanic is an integral part of gameplay in Hellraid, and one that will save your life more often than not. Learning to properly attack and dodge when necessary allows for players to better find their opening when fighting enemies, all of whom require different tactics to defeat.
These enemies – fearsome undead beings – are a hodgepodge of unholy creations. Each different type of foe you encounter in Hellraid has different strengths and weaknesses, pushing players to keep a robust arsenal with them at all times. Combining powerful weapon attacks with the game’s impressive magical system creates for a consistently enjoyable experience and combat that never feels stale.
Many of the enemies that you encounter in Hellraid are more than just shambling corpses. Techland has put a great deal of effort in creating enemies that borrow from various folklore and myths, such as the Hircus enemy that was on display during the presentation. Hircus is based off of Eastern European folklore, a creature rooted in evilness and a fearsome foe. This attention to detail makes Hellraid stand out.
In order to overcome and defeat many of the game’s tougher enemies, players will have to think quickly on their feet. Environments in Hellraid offer numerous options for killing foes without ever lifting your sword. Chandeliers can be dropped and traps can be activated, rewarding those who think outside of the box.
Furthering Techland’s efforts to make Hellraid a diverse and replayable title are the game’s skill trees. Players can choose to invest points to unlock various abilities as they earn experience. The Warrior and Mage trees offer numerous abilities and skills, and players are free to pick and choose from either as they see fit, meaning that no to characters ever have to play similar to one another.
When it comes to killing the undead, Hellraid wants to make sure it is a personal experience.
Hellraid is slated to release in 2015 for the PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox One, with an Early Access available this Fall through Steam.
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