Friday, January 4, 2008

Hellgate London

I acquired a new PC (yes PC not console) video game over the holidays, Hellgate London. It is by some of the same team that created Diablo II. I was and am a big fan of Diablo II and continue to play it online. I got a copy of Titan Quest on the advice of a friend that is was what Diablo III would have been if it had been released. I liked it OK but just OK. It did not catch me like Diablo did. Having spend a week or so with Hellgate London I have to say that this IS what Diablo III might have been. I have enjoyed it a lot. I am not thrilled with their online model where you can play for free for basic content and can upgrade via a subscription to enhanced content, but nothing is perfect. The online game still has a few minor bugs in it but so far I have not run into any show-stoppers. The bugs I have found have mostly been graphics clipping issues and one time a bit of network comms problems but for the most part it plays smooth and well. If you play both, you can get some of the "inside" jokes whereas the Hellgate London world references the Diablo world. Cute. I like what they have done with the weapons mod feature which is their variation of the socketted items. You can (for a price) undo your mods and reuse them in another item. I have not progress far enough to know if they have a version of the Diablo Horadric Cube recipes in this game but it would be nice as I liked that part of Diablo quite a bit. Overall good story and good play, nice selection of character types and the skills look interesting as well.

I did like the ability in Titan Quest of reallocating skill points and would like to see that added to this game. I would also like to see them add the ability for a player to trade items with other characters that belong to the same account as in if I have two characters and one finds something that would be real useful to my other character, let me trade it to that other character. That is not currently possible as you have to be online to trade. You could get around that in Diablo II by creating a private game under the first character, dropping your trade item, log out, log in under the second character and pick up the dropped item. If after creating the private game you waited at least 2 minutes, the game would persist long enough for you to exit out your first character and re-enter with your second. A lot of players have mule characters for just such a purpose as well as to store excess items that you wanted to save but did not have room in your active characters to store. A larger "locker" in Hellgate London would help with that as well.

Again, overall a good game that I would recommend to any current Diablo II players out there looking for something related but new.

Update: 2/6/09

Apparently there were financial issues with the U.S. distributor of this game and the online servers have been taken down. It does not seem possible for U.S. game owners to connect to any of the games servers hosted in other countries. The single player version still functions but I liked the online play. Hope it gets resurrected. We shall see.

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