Quarterlies 2007
TomChick - Features - Comments - 12/20/07

Most Disappointing Game of 2007
Hellgate: London


You would have to try extra hard to mess up a sure thing like Hellgate. I mean, just look at the bullet points: post-apocalyptic; sci-fi meets magic; demons and zombies; action RPG; fancy 3D engine; loot; skills; London and her landmarks; play as a shooter or as third person action; multiplayer; and the best bullet point of all: made by the guys who did Diablo.

But then came the confused announcements about a subscription plan. The NDA'ed beta dragged on under NDA right up until the a few day's before the shelf date. Then came the fumbled release and all the sour reactions. Now it's a big messy half-game, a pile of bullet points waiting to be assembled into the good game they should have been. I suspect the blame for the state of Hellgate lies partly with the holidays – those damn holidays! –for not coming five or six months later than they did. Hellgate shows every sign of being released unfinished.

From my review in Games for Windows: But you and I both know that you weren't ready. You feel like a beta. In fact, I've played the beta and I didn't see a heck of a lot of difference. You promised you'd change and you didn't. So now I'm sitting here with a legal pad full of notes about everything wrong. Many of my notes are a patch or three away from being irrelevant. But the larger problem is that you just don't get it. Yeah, sure, your classes are distinct, each its own little game (and an even better game when played in a group, something you do your best to make difficult). But you don't go far enough with the skills, which are glib, unremarkable, and a one-way trip down a tree of potentially bad choices.

I haven't seen the game for a month or so, but there's been a "big" patch on the way for some time now. The patches have been named 0.x, and they're up to 0.7. The idea seems to be that 1.0 will be along in a few weeks. For this, at least, Hellgate deserves major props: I can't imagine a more fitting numbering system for the patches.

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