Hey gang, Valkor here. It’s been a while since I’ve dabbled with games on STEAM. And that’s mainly because my machines weren’t packing enough power. And you’d think in the Val-Cave I’d be up to date. Plus, I mostly stayed within the console region. But now that I’ve picked up a new gaming laptop in the form of an HP Omen 15, I’m no longer hindered with low specs as this new laptop packs the punch needed to take my PC gaming to the next level. And the first game out of the TOV GameView box that gets to test my PC’s mettle is Hellpoint, an action/RPG similar to Demon's Souls or Dark Souls, only frustrating it’s on a different level. Check it out.
Hellpoint takes place on a dilapidated space station where your character, a spawn, awakens and must find his way out off of this terror-ridden ship. But it won’t be easy, as some obstacles and enemies stand in your way. Yet, you’re not without means for defending yourself as you’re able to find weapons and armor from defeated enemies. These can be modded and improved, plus if you continue using the same weapon, you’ll increase its skill. For instance, a sword can lengthen, which will allow you to cause more damage. You can also increase your level further increasing your effectiveness by collecting axions from fallen enemies or cubes that also fall from bad guys. Or you might find them lying around. You can apply a set number of axions towards one of eight stats such as health, stamina, energy and strength. You can apply axions at breaches, which you can also use them to travel throughout the space station. But finding them is a chore.
And getting through this one won’t be a breeze as you’ll face death many times. Plus, when you die you’ll face a ghost spawn of yourself, in the area where your body dropped, which will sport the same equipment you had when you died. That adds a new level of difficulty to the game. Also, when you die, you lose axions that you’ve gained. However, I learned hours in that you get to keep the axion cubes you collect. So, I was sitting on a pile of these things, which then allowed me to level up nicely, making that first area easier to tackle.
Hellpoint was a rough ride, but the true difficulty you’ll experience won’t come from the monsters or obstacles, but the gameplay. However, I’ll also point out that my laptop needs more RAM, so my experience may differ from most whose machines have better specs. And I’ll make a note of that in this review. With that, let’s dive into the TOV Breakdown.
Putting aside the gameplay frustrations I have with Hellpoint, it’s still a beautiful and fun game to play. It’s not “toss your controller” upsetting, but there were areas where I had to put down the joypad and step away for a bit. The graphics are beautiful, especially when you can stare out of a large picture window and view what’s outside. The innards of the space station are well detailed and the monsters are horrific and imaginative. The animation on my system was framey, but I’ve seen video where the animation was mad smooth. So, I know I need more RAM to achieve that quality. Thankfully, with what I have, the game is still playable, though I have some issues I’ll tackle in the next section. Finally, the sounds and effects are disturbingly clear yet extra sharp; an example is when automatic doors open and close or when you strike an enemy or surface. You can’t have the volume up too high for this one or don’t wear headphones with the volume up. But at a medium level, things aren’t so bad. Overall, I have to say Hellpoint is a frustratingly sweet experience that even with its drawbacks, I’d still dive right back in again and again.
First up are the controls–they’re mad quirky! There seems to be a lag when it comes to my button pressing and what happens on screen. This hurts especially in the jumping department as there were too many times I’d die from a simple leap because my timing was off. Like, in any other platformer, I could easily leap over a small gap. But with the controls in this game, a leap over a small gap leads to instant death. If you work out the timing, then you can handle the controls. But that’s something one shouldn’t have to do. Next, the hit detection is off. I’d sneak up on an enemy, lock on to them, go in for an easy strike and miss them completely! And this isn’t one strike either as I’m talking several misses in succession. I believe it also has something to do with the quirky controls, or maybe it is the framey animation on my system. These problems may very well coincide with the lack of RAM on my laptop, but I don’t think so. Once I improve my specs, I’ll do another run and if things change, then I’ll update this review.
The zombie creatures – YIKES!
Hellpoint is available now on STEAM with a console release (PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch) later this year. So, if you’re a fan of the Soul experience and you’re looking for a new challenge, then this one is right up your alley. The controls may be quirky, but there’s still some fun to be had. I’d recommend giving this one a try. And out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Hellpoint a 3.5. However, I will revisit in the coming weeks to see if my overall experience has changed with better specs.