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Why exactly is Hellgate:London so bad?

Michael Zenke

Earlier today we brought you word that there has been some unrest in the ranks at Flagship Studios, makers of Hellgate:London. Though Kotaku's discussion with studio representatives makes it sound like much ado about nothing, it's worth wondering where from Mr. Somberg's angst originated. In this the games blogger Shamus, of the site Twenty Sided, may be able to assist. Though Shamus is a dyed-in-the-wool tabletop player, he also regularly plays PC titles. Intrigued by Hellgate's terrible reputation, he dove in expecting to find that the negative hype about the game was likely just as insubstantial about the pre-launch positive. Instead, he found himself sinking into a quicksand of strange design choices and poorly documented subsystems.

In what he's calling an autopsy of the game, Shamus lays out what makes Hellgate:London the yawning disappointment it is. His first analysis post centers around the fact that there's almost no reason to care about the world or its inhabitants. An unnecessary amount of snark and in-joking sucks all the veracity out of the setting. His second post is all about the game's unapproachable crafting system. Think "undocumented black box" and you'll have some approximation of what's involved here. From there you can look to his site for future discussions of the game, or head back into his archive for previous discussions on the genre.

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