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Hellbound Review – A 90’s FPS In 2020

If you grew up as a fan of games such as Doom, Quake & Unreal Tournament back in the 90’s, then Hellbound is a game that will be right up your street. Hellbound’s tag line is “A 90’s FPS 30 Years Later” and it is exactly that. Players run around the depths of Hell, something all too familiar in the genre, with one purpose: to kick some ass and take no names. Hellbound doesn’t try to be anything more than that, and it doesn’t need to do anything more. The gameplay is fast, over the top, gory and has a great metal soundtrack that gets you in the mood for slaying demons.

Graphics

Graphically the game is…OK. It feels like somewhere in-between playing an actual classic 90’s FPS game and a modern game such as DOOM Eternal, probably somewhere around 2008-2010 Xbox 360 graphics. It is also worth taking into consideration that the game is made by a small team at Saibot Studios and not a big AAA developer, so with that in mind, the graphics are perfectly fine. But the focus of the game isn’t on the graphics, it is about causing carnage with every step, so for that purpose, the graphics are more than acceptable.

Gameplay

The gameplay is where Hellbound shines; it is fast paced and non-stop action which is exactly what I expected from the game. Your main goal in the game is to basically go from level to level destroying everything in sight. The inspiration from Doom is very evident, there are various colored key cards like Doom, and even the level screen is a clone of Doom’s. The game thrusts you right into high action as you’re immediately set upon by some demons, and the action rarely stops for more than a couple of minutes. Although it is a super fun experience, it does get a bit same old after a while. The levels basically consist of getting from A to B by slaying demons and collecting keys to get to the end. It’s basically like a 3D version of the original Doom games.

There is a good variety of weapons and enemies in the game, and it even has ADS (aim down sights), something commonly missed from these types of games. One main criticism I have about the gameplay is that the enemy AI isn’t always the best. Once you start shooting at them, quite often they just stop fighting back and allow you to easily kill them, not always but quite often, and it is noticeable.

Overall, the gameplay is very good and exactly what I expected going into a modern 90’s FPS.

Audio

Hellbound is a fast and furious game, with non-stop gore and fighting, so a heavy metal soundtrack is a given. The soundtrack is heavy and as non-stop as the action, created by David Levill with invited artists Federico Ágreda “Zardonic” and Christian Fernando Perucchi. However, even as a huge metal fan, it gets a bit cumbersome after a lengthy session. The music is just balls to the wall almost all of the time with little variety, which is good, but a let up every now and then would be nice.

The in-game audio is fine, too; the gun shots are satisfying, the classic grunt when collecting items is also there, although it does sound like you’re taking damage when collecting health, which can get confusing.

Features

In terms of what Hellbound has to offer, it is pretty much what would be expected. It is missing multiplayer, but with a smaller game from a smaller team, it might be a wise choice as it would likely result in empty servers quite often. Hellbound has a campaign and survival mode which do exactly what they say on the tin. Survival is just a wave-based mode where players kill as many demons as possible before dying.

For the options, it has a great level of customization from graphics to keybinds and other in-game options such as auto equipping new weapons. It is nice to see a good array of options; quite often some smaller studios forget how important it can be to make the experience as accessible as possible to the player, so kudos for that.

Campaign

No one plays a game like Doom, Quake etc for the storytelling. They come for the gameplay, and that is the case with Hellbound, too. There isn’t really a great deal of storytelling in the game; you are in Hell, so are demons, kill the demons. That’s about the jist of it, and that is absolutely fine.

In Hellbound, once you complete a level, you see the end screen which gives you your time, kills and items found, much like Doom, and even has a level screen which looks ripped straight out of Doom. Saibot Studios really went for the classic 90’s feel with the game and succeeded at every step.

Final Thoughts

Hellbound does exactly what it says it is going to. It is a hardcore romp through the depths of hell with non-stop kicking ass and chewing bubblegum. If you grew up playing all of the old 90’s classics then there is no reason why you won’t have a fun time playing this. It isn’t a perfect game, but it is a satisfying experience when you want to mindlessly slay enemies without too much thought.

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