Hellgate Demo Materialises

The demo of Flagship Studios’ demonic Big Smoke-based guns ‘n’ magic RPG has arrived. Oh yes. You can summon the 1.5gb beast from here, here, or here. This demonstration version of the game features two classes and a bunch of missions from the Holborn and Covent Garden sections of the game.

The full game, which features all kinds of multiplayer group-hugging and zombie mashing functions, is available in Europe in the 2nd of November, and in North America a little earlier, on the 31st of October. Needless to say, we’ll be lighting black candles and drawing threatening (perhaps informative) sigils on the walls of the internet a little closer to its release.


  1. Roman says:

    And how many Peggles are 1,5 GB ?!? ;-)

  2. tacticus says:

    About 107 peggles iirc

  3. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    yeah too much for me to download tonight.. and I cant sleep with my pc on in the same room, it has bright blue lights and shit. Therefore I will download this tomorrow while at college. If I come back and the internet has cut off cancelling the entire download seconds before finishing I will be very, very angry and probably sit there looking pissed off for a few minutes

  4. roBurky says:

    I thought most of the grumblings from the beta players were quite negative. Is the RPS collective still excited about this?

  5. Schadenfreude says:

    I’m really not feeling this. It looks like the type of game I’d happily buy during a summer drought but with the mass of titles coming out over the next month it’s not even gonna get a look in. The Witcher will be my RPG of choice for the month of November (Well, for a week or two; then Mass Effect hits the XBox).

  6. drunkymonkey says:

    I’ve gotten into the Beta Test for this, so I’m gonna see about downloading it over the weekend. It looks quite cool, and while not likely to set the world on fire, if I’m getting the beta for free I might as well test it.

  7. Monkfish says:

    One thing I’ve just read about this demo is that it contains in-game advertising tech courtesy of Massive Inc. (owned by that nice Mr. Gates).

    I’m still giving this a try, though, and now I’m keen to see how the advertising manifests itself, just out of curiosity more than anything else.

    Interesting to see in-game advertising in a game that’s (optionally) subscription based, though.

  8. CrashT says:

    There are adverts on the walls of the Underground Stations, so far I’ve only really noticed some for Dark Horse comics.

    It plays quite like Diablo, which was their intent afterall, but it still feels like it’s not quite finished. Missing sound effects, clipping problems, and disappearing quests are the most obvious issues, and on top of that it feels kinda flat.

    I can imagine if I played it for a little longer I’d get hooked, but first impressions… a little above average.

  9. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    im in two minds over the subscription thing. Most of the game doesnt require one, so in a way it shouldn’t bother me. But I still don’t understand the justification for it. Most games charge a subscription for server maintenance, right? Guild Wars is an example of a game where the majority of the area is instanced, so they don’t need as much stuff running (i’m so tech speak) and so don’t need to charge a sub. Right?

    Why do Hellgate need to charge to maintain tiny hubs when the rest of the place is instanced? Basically they are just charging for extra content, and charging PER MONTH for it. Maybe i’m missing something.

    Won’t stop me from buying it for the basic content if it turns out to be any good!

  10. Mo says:

    I’m downloading this now … not a big fan of RPGs, but I can’t stop my quest to find an RPG that I enjoy.

    Hope it works okay on my craptacular laptop …

  11. Thelps says:

    All I can say is, I have high hopes for this game. I know it probably won’t live up to them, due to all the quiet grumblings here and there coming from testers and hands-on press previews, but I just really badly want something to recreate that manic, addictive-as-crack frenzy that Diablo did so well. Depth is so irrelevant in these games. It’s all about grinding the monsters, getting new gear, and just glorying in your ability to sow greater and greater swathes of destruction. If the itemisation, class balances and bugs are all handled well then I can’t really see how it can go wrong… but then, I do wear glasses.

  12. Mo says:

    And that’s exactly why people like me wont like it. Don’t get me wrong, I totally enjoyed Diablo … for a whole day or two. The repetition completely turned me off the game.

    In fact, that tends to be my issue with RPGs in general. Nobody seems to want to “fix” the genre … the longer this goes on, the more of a “niche” genre the RPG will become.

    In other news, Firefox crashed, so there goes 39% of the Hellgate demo!! :(

  13. Nick says:

    Does this demo have an ending? It seems like after you get the “portal” opened up out of the station the NPCs just stop talking to you and you’re left on your own to run through two areas of a corridor (one looks like a city) looking for something to do, until you finally come to a dead-end at the bottom of the “maintenance area” dungeon.

    Oh, and it seems like a very 2D game. Sure you need to look up and down to shoot at the frog-things (as a ranged weapon character), but everything else seems like a 2.5D game. I tried standing on a bus to shoot at a zombie at one point, but apparently it doesn’t care about differences in height, since the zombie down on the ground had no problem hurting me.

  14. malkav11 says:

    I certainly couldn’t find any way to go further. Playing a Marksman, it was atmospheric but really really easy. The only fights that were remotely memorable were the two bosses the demo presents. Everything else just died under a hail of rocket pistol fire. Usually before it got anywhere near me.

  15. Thelps says:

    Mo, I completely see where you’re coming from and I sympathise, but for me there’s a major distinction in the genre between what I consider “Grind-fest RPGs” and proper “Role-Playing Games”. The former is purely a matter of refining a very repetitive game mechanic down into a beautifully streamlined dynamic that, for the so inclined, provides hours of monster killing, item grabbing, level dinging joy. The latter is a much deeper, character and NPC-driven experience with a strong plot and frequently world-changing events, with a very finite beginning middle and end.

    I’d go so far as to say the two types are largely incompatible (although I have the utmost respect for developers who try to marry them in the hopes of deepening each experience). This is because the grind-fest is predicated on a near infinite progression of your character through levels that hardly need a cap (each level is just an iterative cumulation of numbers) and the proper role-playing game is so story/character driven that the satisfaction the plot gives would be negated without some kind of resolution or conclusion.

  16. Thelps says:

    Worth adding that I see your point in respect to plot-driven RPGs, in that their combat often sucks, and is a desperate Diablo-alike without any of the aspects that make that good (endless choice of character development, gear, etc.) but there are a large number of modern, plot-based RPGs that seek to change that somewhat. Unfortunately many of them stray, as a result of their combat overhaul, into what I call Action-RPG territory, which is really just a 1st/3rd person action game with a better plot and an inferior, tacked on, leveling system (Fable, Bioshock, etc.). I guess it’s a real challenge for the industry to find a happy space between these three interpretations of the genre.

  17. finished_okami_a_while_ago says:

    Just saw one of my coworkers playing the demo (I’ve allready installed it on my pc too, but I have the decency to wait until lunchbreak to play games :P ) and wasn’t too thrilled by what i saw. It all just felt much to clean and tidy for post apocalyptic london (it’s been ten years since I’ve last been to london but if my memory serves me right real world london is a lot dirtier than this post apocalyptic version of it).

    Well, I only saw a few minutes of it and I’ll keep my final verdict until I’ve put one or two hours into it. What will sell me to the game won’t be the mechanics, the skill system or the online part but whether they got the atmosphere right.

  18. Alec Meer says:

    I find that when a plot-driven RPGs has, as so many recent ones do, a sucky narrative and/or dialogue, the experience is far more miserable than even the most soulless grindathon, as it goes beyond boredom and into mental torture.

  19. Thelps says:

    I still defend the grindathon as a legitimate game genre though. Its mindlessness is part of its appeal for me. Maybe that’s more a comment on me than the genre, though.

  20. Jeremy says:

    The demo ending was rather disappointing. Usually after you finish they tell you it’s finished and then have the decency to offer to take you to the website to purchase the game. Here, nothing, nada, zippo. Everyone just stops talking. That sucks.

    Not to mention the environment. I was expecting a lot more of it to be interactive and that there would be more than 3 kinds of boxes to break and one you can open. Guess having just finished Orange Box ruined me on the environment thing, but I can’t justify plonking down the cash for this unless there’s something seriously kickass in it.

    The story idea’s awesome, though. I love post-apocalyptic stuff.

  21. Janek says:

    Thelps, of course it’s a legitimate genre, and a hugely successful one at that. You just need to look at the success of, say, WoW to see that people are still interested in the grind. You’re certainly not alone.

    What’s odd is that I tend to enjoy Roguelikes, but not Diablo-style loot’em’ups. I think that’s to do with the brutality and challenge of most Roguelikes, as opposed to Diablo et al where it’s always seemed to be just you cutting a swathe through countless monsters, and the inevitable increase in arbitary numbers.

    So yeah, not terribly impressed, though I wasn’t expecting to be.

  22. Matt Dovey says:

    I wanted to like this so much. I’ve wasted more hours of my life on Diablo 2 than anything else, ever – including eating, sleeping and so on – so a 3D Diablo 2 set in London with zombies, well, it was like the rabid dream of a drugged up monkey prophet.

    Unfortunately, it looks bland and overwhelmingly dark, it has too many unimaginative quests (even with the Romero references), the interface is slow and shows little in the way of improvement over the 6-year-old D2, the levels fast become repetitive (there only seems to be one type of house you can enter) and just, god, I don’t know. Uninspiring.

    If I seem bitter it’s because the lack of ending made it feel like a complete waste of time.

  23. Heartless_ says:

    Can’t say I have a lot of interest in this game, but I will try the demo this afternoon. I will probably not play because of the subscription fee required to access new content. It truly sounds like the “good” content will require a subscription and that is a surefire way to alienate a lot of early adopters.

  24. Nick says:

    It’s a shame no one seems able to make a decent plot driven RPG anymore and when the do it gets destroyed by the publisher or released unfinished (Vampire.. KOTOR 2.. that sort of thing).

    *fond memories of The Bearded Kobolds*

    Anyway, Hellgate interested me less and less the more info I read on it, not sure I’ll even bother with the demo at this rate =(

  25. Kast says:

    *Holds a solitary candle for Vampire: Bloodlines*

    I’d give the demo a shot if I could find a torrent anywhere (the download manager is giving me trouble) but like Nick above I’ve got little or no interesting in Hellgate anymore.

  26. Chis says:

    You’re not the only one holding a candle for VTMB, Kast. What a game! Excellent writing and characters, even though the gameplay had some issues.

  27. Nick says:

    I played it (Bloodlines) again a month or so ago, it really is brilliant, I just wish all the areas had as much detail and activity as Santa Monica and Downtown.

  28. Aimless says:

    I have to say I’m impressed: I was playing offline, and the enemies still had a tendency to lag all about the place. Now that’s dedication to the genre.

    On the plus side shooting the flying rats in mid air was quite fun, and the spoken dialogue was so bad that whatever I play next is going to seem better by comparison.