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E3 – Hellraid Hands-Off Preview


E3 – Hellraid Hands-Off Preview

Techland’s first-person action slasher Hellraid is just what it sounds like. Fight some demons, shed some blood, and raid some hell. I watched some of the game’s developers play through a level of the game and got an in-depth explanation of the elements that came together to make the game and, yeah. It’s exactly what it sounds like.

It really isn’t fair to compare one game to another in this case, but the easiest way to imagine Hellraid right away is to say it’s Skyrim if you only played through the dungeon levels. I wasn’t able to get any hands-on time with the game so I can’t attest for the controls, but the initial character class system and the weapons beg that comparison. The level we were shown took the player through a monastery that had been raided by the forces of hell. A lot of gothic architecture is at work here; enough where the development team actually brought an architect with a passion for gothic buildings on board for the project.


The level progressed, facing the player against progressively more difficult enemies. Skeletons were the first mobs on the chopping block, followed by some hellspawn, and eventually a minotaur boss. Combat, though seemingly straightforward, focused often on well timed slashes and dodges. Certain enemies, such as skeletons bearing shields, had to be power attacked before they’d take damage. Learning the different weapons and tactics to take down your foes seems to be at the center of Hellraid.

Hellraid is heavily focused on combat. You won’t be worrying about classes or anything so complicated. No, instead you’re given the freedom to change your class on the fly with the switch of a weapon. One of the important features of the game is the procedurally generated loot which places crafting elements, potions, money, and new weapons all within your reach. Swords, shields, daggers, massive hammers, and magical staffs are all usable by any and every character. As you level up, you’re able to pump more skill points into specialities you find yourself favoring. In short, you’re essentially given a class system that gives you the freedom to be whatever you want to be.


Though our hands-off demo showed only a catacomb styled dungeon, the development team assured us that both interior and exterior levels will be featured. Fighting your way through a forest is just as likely as fighting your way through a castle. The developer joked that eventually, given the game is called Hellraid, he expects he’ll have to create a level in hell.  Wherever you end up battling the forces of hell, expect to be creative with your combat. Environmental kills, such as dropping a chandelier on an enemy or kicking them off a ledge, are just as effective to dispatch a foe as a hammer to the face.

So far, Hellraid seems like a straightforward dungeon hack n’slasher for the Xbox One and PS4 generation. It doesn’t stand out in any exceptional way, but it still looks like a solid addition to the current gen console game libraries.

Hellraid releases for Xbox One, PS4, and PC in 2015.

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