E3 2014 – To Hellraid and back

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On the surface, Hellraid has everything. A dark fantasy atmosphere. Plenty of varied monsters. A solid combat structure. Environments which have an authentic feel of dank death around the corner. And yet for some reason, the game is just lacking…something.

At another hands-off presentation last week, Techland showed off their medieval game Hellraid, a first-person swords and sorcery epic that could tickle your Hexen bones. It’s the first new-gen game for Techland, and it’ll be a self-published title that takes players into the depths of hell, or at least some very authentic cathedrals.

In the hands-off demo, I got to see all of that in action, as the Techland developer bashed and cleaved his way through the level. From the looks of things, the combat has a satisfyingly meaty steel on steel approach, with enemy AI being intelligent enough to attempt to parry your attacks and follow through with a quick counter.

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You can charge up some magic attacks, carry a shield and inflict plenty of gory retribution in a title that looks decent at least. One other feature that was touted to the audience, was that enemies would be randomly generated each time you started playing. Mini-bosses, hordes of skeletons and various other demons would have no set spawn point at all, in order to crank up that tension of not knowing what waits around that corner.

It’s very much Skyrim meets Hexen meets Diablo then, with loot everywhere and bosses ready to cause some havoc. But as I said, the game is just missing that crucial spark to make it more interesting. Maybe the co-op action and environmental attacks will propel it forward. Maybe it’s still too early for me to be judging what I’m hoping will be a better game than what I saw.

If Hellraid is going to succeed however, it’s going to need to leverage that aforementioned co-op angle, which pretty much every game at E3 did this year. If it can combine random enemy generation times four with some solid loot and a decent raid-boss level challenge, then it might have something going for it.

Last Updated: June 18, 2014

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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