Review – HellSign
HellSign is billed as an investigative action-RPG that has you scouting, hunting, and killing the otherworldly – think more Supernatural and less Ghostbusters and you’re in the neighbourhood.
It throws players into the thick of things at blazing speed. Thrown into the role of a Hunter immediately, gamers will learn how to gather intel on whatever is inhabiting the area using a variety of starter tools like a flashlight, blacklight, and an EMF detector, then head back to put the gathered clues into the Cryptonomicon and piece together what’s causing the issues.
Figuring out what the creature is might help, but as GI Joe always says ‘knowing is half the battle’ and there’s more work to do. Once a target is identified, gamers will have to use that knowledge to arm up for the fight ahead, buying a variety of weapons and traps to prep for the encounter. Get it right and you should have an easy enough fight ahead of you. Get it wrong and you’ll be lucky to get out alive.
There are multiple classes to choose from, with options like Archeologist and Drifter, each with their own set of unique and useful skills…at least mostly useful – the Drifter’s specialty is listed simply as ‘can play the guitar’ which seems less useful than ‘use of heavy armor’ for the Breacher class, for example.
The movement system is worth a mention, as it allows you to clear corners when entering rooms in a very SWAT-like fashion, something actual shooters tend to do poorly these days. There’s a very tactical ‘take it slow, take it safe’ feel to the way you move through darkened rooms lit only by your flashlight, which really ramps up the tension. It can feel a little cumbersome and work against the player a bit when things really hit the fan, especially on those occasions when you’ve misidentified the target, but overall it works well.
On the plus side I encountered very few bugs while playing HellSign, but – according to the developers in their Steam community forum – there’s a lot of content that’s planned but not implemented yet.
Early Access titles are a tough product to review, given that they’re often very early and prone to change drastically prior to the release of the final product – if it releases at all, so I don’t score them, but I’ll recommend either buy or avoid and right now HellSign is a definite buy.
If you’re at all a fan of Supernatural, HellSign is a must-buy at the current sub-$20 price tag. There’s really nothing else out there like it.