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Harryhausen's Hexen: Hellraid

If your skeletons remind me of Harryhausen, we’re halfway to a happy place. Hellraid has seen some ch-ch-ch-changes over the last few months, as detailed in our interview with producer Marcin Kruczkiewicz. Whatever else might have been rejigged, I’m convinced that the handsomeness of the skellingtons has increased tenfold. The whole world looks attractive in fact, despite being full of claw-like trees, creaking windmills and ruined hovels. To be fair, windmills are usually attractive, although perhaps moreso when they’re on the cover of Ico than when they’re harassing Don Quixote or providing renewable energy from a location just outside your front door. The twenty minute video below shows combat, levelling and wandering, with developer commentary.

First-person melee is a tricky thing. Often, the weight and momentum of attacks isn’t communicated effectively. There’s a reason that Dark Messiah is often cited at times like these – it’s one of the few games to sell fist-person fisticuffs (and swordicuffs etc.) convincingly. Trying to think of a more recent example, I figured Shadow Warrior’s rapid fire katana action qualified. The first-person slashing and slicing is certainly entertaining and efficient, but it’s about a sense of destructive surgical precision rather than lumbering great hacks and smashes.

Hellraid is due to enter Early Access before the end of the year. If it manages to live up to my fond memories of Hexen and Heretic, I’ll happily slay all of its skeletons.

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Adam Smith

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