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E3 07: Hellgate: London

Posted by: John at 7/14/2007 4:26 PM
All you really need to know is that Hellgate: London is by makers of Diablo 2 and it's going to rock. Really, the game's going to really kick some major ass. I got a demonstration of some of whats in there in the Games for Windows party. It was a nice setting where you could sit quietly in an area with one of the people responsible for the game and get a nice demonstration and have plenty of time to ask any questions.

Anyways, Hellgate: London features everything you love about Diablo 2 and more. The different classes play differently of course with some classes being big brutes and heading into battles head on while others are more apt to strike from far away. Now in Diablo 2, you know that whoever was near the enemies usually gets the share of the loot. No more in Hellgate: London as items dropped are specific to you and are weighted more for the class you are playing. Each person will see something different drop on their screen and only they can pick it up. This should eliminate hoarding and will allow for those that play long range classes to stay long range and not have to run up and be melee characters when they aren't suited for that.

The skill tree we all know and are used to was show as well and there's a good amount of branching available. You can really go and customize your character well with plenty of skills to choose from. The good ole whirlwind was on display but it looked a little differently than in Diablo 2. Instead of a quick spin around, the character danced in a circle with a ballet like grace while swinging her sword against enemies.

For melee weapons you'll play in a third person view making it easier to attack enemies. When you do have a range weapon equipped, the game shifts to first person view.

Speaking of weapons, the developer told me there are over one hundred unique weapons in the game and we're not talking about variations on the same type of gun counting as one of the many. This variety should really satisfy a lot of the role players out there who want the variety of equipment. As with Diablo 2, you can modify each weapon by attaching extra modifications to them. The modifications will not only change the damage done but also the physical look of the weapon. I really like this feature as you can see visually what has changed and know what the weapon can do based on the physical model of the gun.

Armor is also highly customizable with various parts being interchangeable. The mixing and matching of these parts can really create a unique looking character. With all the combinations available and more to be released in expansions you can bet that you'll run into a few characters online that you haven't seen before for a long time.

Once the game is released, the team will be split up to work on various expansions for the game. The subscription folks will help pay for these teams in order to continue expanding the Hellgate: London universe. They have a ton of ideas they want to implement and really they said they haven't held anything back for this release and the developer said people will be surprised at how much they are getting with the game. He said that if they only had the resources like what they are aiming for in Diablo 2, they wanted to add more to that game but couldn't. With the subscription model, they hope that alleviates the issue and that they can keep improving the game for everyone's enjoyment.

This was one game I really wanted an up close look at when I came to E3 and I didn't come away disappointed. You take a team that has a proven track record along with an intellectual property that's pretty stylish and you get a game that many many people are anxiously awaiting.