Another game is closing in on From Software’s dark throne, already close to becoming a genre unto itself, will it triumph?
The one who writes these lines does not like karaoke. Especially when the typical pretentious man takes the stage ready to “nail” the song, imitating every last detail of the original, including even the gestures and nuances of the voice of its interpreter. No matter how hard that fan tries, as a musical show, it always leaves much to be desired. Quality is lacking, soul is lacking, originality is lacking and, to be honest, when it comes to a song that you love, rather than enjoying its performance, you only look at the shortcomings that keep it from it.
It is a sensation that is repeated in the plethora of “Soulslike” that today fill the shelves. Titles inspired by the Dark Souls franchise, from From Software, with results ranging from acceptable to shameful. The case that concerns us today, Hellpoint, is one more in that series that “pays homage” to the classic. Let’s see how well they interpret it.
The shortest description would be that of a “space Dark Souls”. Only with this premise we can already dominate the game from the first second, since we know the mechanics of attack, dodge and blocking, the importance of collecting souls (axions), the security provided by bonfires (gaps), the essential balance between health, strength and energy, the danger posed by even the smallest enemy, or the relief of recovering lost souls when we die, as long as we manage to immediately reach the point on the map where we have fallen.
The Canadians of Cradle Games, an indie studio of which this Hellpoint is their cover letter after launching it as a “kickstarter” three years ago, do not try to hide the references to the Souls saga, trying to keep the best of it while trying to add some your personal style. In that respect, the futuristic spatial setting is the greatest differentiation. This location, however, becomes anecdotal when we verify that the story, full of cryptic messages and much metaphysics, could well take place in a castle and its catacombs, rather than in a special season. The enemies, armor, attacks … are based on swords, axes, maces … replacing the classic bows and arrows with laser weapons, yes.
The stage, with its spatial setting, only gets an excuse to introduce an elevator, artificial lighting or windows that show a nearby black hole, a vertex around which the whole story revolves. The choice of a space station, of course, greatly facilitates the work of drawing and texturing scenarios, in addition to allowing a verticality in the routes that we do not observe in the honored saga. Against this map it must be said that it does not have any coherence; It does not show rooms that tell us that we are indeed going through a spaceship, but generic spaces abound that completely ignore the story to focus on being a good combat environment.