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Hellgate: London Promises Cutting-Edge Action/RPG Fun
Posted BY: Flargh, Thursday, May 11, 2006, 11:17PM EST
London, in the mid-21st century. The city lies beneath smoking ruins and rubble. The cause isn't an attack from a foreign power, or terrorist -- a gash in the fabric of reality has been torn asunder, and demonic horrors beyond our imagination have poured through and taken over. Mankind has been driven underground, and you are one of their sole defenders.
This is the setting for Hellgate: London -- the freshman effort of Flagship Studios, the game developer created by former members of Blizzard who created the eminently popular Diablo franchise. And the DNA was clear as Turbine exec Bill Roper demonstrated the game to members of the press in Namco Bandai's booth.
At heart, Hellgate: London is an action role playing game in which you assume the role of a Templar -- a knight trained in the ways of holy magic, to fight against the forces of hell, or a Cabalist -- experts in arcane knowledge that dabble on the fringes of science. While both classes sound medieval in treatment, they're actually quite technologically advanced, depending on weapons and items that fuse magic and high technology together.
The game itself is rendered in third-person perspective, and you can switch to first person perspective if you wish -- giving Hellgate: London an almost first person shooter feel to it.
Hellgate: London is both a single-player game and a massively multiplayer online game, and it provides an incredible level of customization. Players can create integrated-looking suits of armor, for example, rather than collecting a hodgepodge of armor that, which powerful, might make them look like a clown.
What's more, Hellgate: London features real-life locales that people familiar with London might recognize -- though they're surrounded by areas that are randomized to provide you with different experiences every time you play.
Flagship hopes to attract experienced action RPG and MMO enthusiasts and novices alike and, more importantly, keep their attention. Not only are the routes to landmark areas randomized, but what happens within them -- the monsters you meet, the rewards you're likely to receive, and the areas themselves -- are totally randomized. So it's unlikely that you'll get the same experience each time you play, preventing you from feeling compelled to "grind" to higher levels before you face bosses or other nasties.
Flagship still isn't saying when Hellgate: London will ship, but Roper told me that they're planning on going into beta some time this year.
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