Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chapter 14: And so it ends

Yes, I return from my one-month hiatus. Actually, I haven't "played the game" (which is to say I haven't continued on with the main quest) since late March, so it's actually been about two months. And you know what would've happened if I continued on for another two hours back in late March? I would've beaten the game, that's what, because in the two hours I recorded here, I beat the game. So let's start where I started then, shall we?

So, patch 1.3. I had been told by many that patch 1.3 actually broke more things then it fixed. This includes graphical errors, glitches, exploits, the mail magically disappearing, and the infinite loading screen of death. It was also the patch in which some of even the most die-hard supporters of Flagship and Hellgate actually decided to have second thoughts (RIP Shagsbeard; we knew him so). So, after having been asked by a few people of when I was going to update my blog, I decided last night that I should continue my endeavor. I guess I just didn't expect for it to come to an end last night as well.

So, anyways, I'll start off with what I noticed first, which happened to be that the useless and redundant station medics had turned into beggars--I mean, "donation receivers." Yes, apparently if you donate a certain amount of palladium, the entire server gives everyone's character a "buff." I'm also told the buff is quite useless and the feature itself is useless as well, but I can't actually comment on it myself, except see it as more of a pointless addition then anything else.

Money sink. Because, you know, the Augumentrix doesn't do a bang up job as it is.

Seriously, why was this added? Did anyone ask for this? Or were they just trying to bring in some more Diablo II charm into the mix ("SoJ has been sold! A new terror arises!")? I mean, seriously. Why add something like this in when you can be working on things that need to be fixed? Or things that are still missing from the game? Oh, but bless me! They did add things missing from the game. Like, for instance, this:

Well this is new. An advertisement advertising the game itself?

Yes, you know things must be going well if all the adverts for the Greatest Catch have been replaced by adverts for subscriber content. Just before I could make heads of tails or more of this issue, a little message flashed in chat:

Thanks for telling me. Let me just donate the 1.8 million left so we can all get a server-wide buff.

I was then informed by a guild mate that the appropriate message flashes every time someone donates 100,000 palladium. Sure enough, as soon as this message had flashed, someone else donated 100,000 to bring the message to flash 1,700,000 more palladium needed. Oh well. It's not like I have the chat bar showing anyways. That God-awful red font on such a dark background takes my focus off of playing, so I suppose it will stay closed until we can change font color and font size.

Moving right along to new things I was rather peculiar about a new character tab on the options panel labeled "expertise." Thinking I had extensively read the 1.3 changes, I clicked this tab, only to groan to realize what "expertise" really was. It was just ranks. You know, ranks? It's the current fix for LV50s waiting for higher level content or the raising of the level cap. It's also a weak fix to the feed system as well. You see, what the rank system does is it allows you to place points into it after achieving a certain amount of rank to earn permanent buffs, such as +2 to will power or to strength. The ranks can increase just about anything, from shields to defense to damage over time. The catch? You have to be LV50 to first access the features. So basically if you were screwed over by the feed system before then then tough shit. So I closed that tab to probably never open it again and checked out some other things.

Next up were the emotes. Yes, these lovely little things are the very reason why I looked forward to 1.3. I mean, these little guys pushed back other content such as splitting stacks or achievement points or reputation meaning something. Yep, emotes and hiding your helmet were much more needed features that needed to be put in the game. Anyways, I took a snapshot of all 13 new emotes for our viewing pleasure. Here they are:

I like the /wave animation the best.

Well, that was pretty much it for 1.3. Now to press onward to finishing this game! After all, I'm only half way through Act 4. I wonder what the other half had in store for me? If it was anything like taking down the beast of Abaddon minus the cheap mini game behind it, then I'd be definitely looking forward to it. Either way, I got a little confused on the way when I decided to take a left turn too quick to run into a wall. Well, except, I didn't actually run into it.

Please mind the sloppy work.

Yes yes, this is very "minor." Just a little clipping issue with a wall that really isn't all the way there. I suppose if this wasn't the prevalent issue with the other 99% of the game then it really wouldn't matter. However, it just amazes me that, by chance, I decided to run into a wall and, lo and behold, something happened to be wrong with it. Either way I took the time to take advantage of my skill respec token. I didn't change much around except get rid of precision stance and focused more on my drone, but that was it. I mean, I've gotten by more than fine just using four skills. 98% of the kills are attributed either to me or to my rocket bot. The other 2% are from my drone--when it decides to hit enemies, after all, and not hit the wall instead. As a matter of fact, the drone has the same AI as the romping Templars. Or is that the other way around? But I digress!

So having read on the forums that you can apparently identify quest rewards by first right-clicking on the item and then selecting the identify option from the wheel, I decided to give it a go. I mean, it's not like I would be losing anything from trying it. But, alas, it would seem either the 1.3 patch broke that feature or someone on the forums was lying. Either way, I couldn't identify the item--not when I was looking at it as a quest reward, or not even after receiving it after a quest reward.

So much for this working.

Just for the sake of curiosity, I decided to return to the station to identify the item anyways. Hey, at the least it could probably turn out a rare nanoshard so I could possibly upgrade my weapon. And, lo and behold the luck of the Irish, I did get a nice shiny nanoshard, which I happily skipped over to my stash to stack with my other lone nanoshard. Of course, I was a bit surprised to find something else in my stash.

We want subscribe.

Either someone has a sick sense of humor at the office and decided to torment my account alone of making it seem like I have subscriber benifits when I don't, or this is either now the norm for all accounts, regardless if you have a subscription or not. Of course, I can look at this both ways. For one, when you are a subscriber, you are able to utilize the extended and shared stash. However, when you unsubscribed, these things became unusable, and thus the slots then disappeared, which meant if you had any items there, they would appear invisible to you and out of reach. Now, either this cures this problem by allowing subs who stopped subbing to remove their items from those slots, or it works towards my second suspicion, which is that this is more of a marketing ploy and even if you unsubscribe you won't be able to move items out of your inventory. I know, sounds a bit ludicrous, but given Flagship's track record in the past, I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if that's how it actually worked. Either way, if someone could clarify that bit up for me, It'd be much appreciated.

Anyways, like I said, I decided to continue with the main quest. So I receive the quest and, just for kicks, because it has to deal with the Truths (a.k.a. a story plot that is a bigger mystery than Jimmy Hoffa), I decided to look up Murmur's help (because we all at least know he's a bad guy). Of course, I first had to do a double take when I read his quest text.

Steal the bacon? What is this, Field Day on a Sunday afternoon at the park?

I had to most certainly believe this was just Murmur joking. It had to be. I mean, seriously. Is some Truth about to put me to the "test" by making me play a recreational mini-game? No no, this most certainly had to be a joke. Of course, there's always that sinking gut feeling saying, "It wouldn't be all that surprising given Flagship's track record." Either way, on my way to go take on this "test," I happened to know that a feature that had been labeled as "fixed" was, indeed, not fixed at all.

I'm holding in my hands all the great things this game has to offer.

Damn, they fixed that bug real good. Apparently emotes and hide helmet, much more important features in the game, got added in and might've just borked the fix for the invisible rifle. Or maybe not. Maybe someone is just too damn lazy to fix it. I vote the latter. Either way, I finally made my way to this "test" to meet and speak with a Truth, and wouldn't you know it, the quest is actually a mini-game, and in this mini-game you play Steal the Bacon. Of course, it's fed sort of like this:

"There has always been Good and Evil. Don't ask why. Just has been. Up shut. Good. Okay. There is this book in the middle of the arena. Who ever gets the book and brings it back to their base wins. Oh, and if the Evil side does it, don't worry, you'll get to try until you bring it back. Yeah, because, you know, Evil can't win. Don't ask why. They just can't. Up shut. Now run along then."

And if you think I'm exaggerating I am unfortunately not. Yes, you are now locked in an eternal battle between good and evil, and the fate is decided on an old-fashioned round of Steal the Bacon. So I play along and the first thing I come across is a "knowledge tower" (see: replacement textures for a cop out to an actual skinning of something unique and a radar that tells you were the enemies are).

The knowledge tower. It lets us know how much effort went into Act 4.

After looking at it briefly and realizing it was a waste of time, I decided to dash to get this book. After all, I'd much rather complete this quest on the first try and get it done then be offered it a second time because the demons had won (do note here that the demons don't get a second chance if I complete the quest). I find a pop up message along the way, telling me that "Dark!" has the book. Of course, I stand in the way of the demon...

You die now.

Only to have him drop the "book"...

I might need a new pair of glasses, but this looks like a 6-foot obelisk, not a book.

I don't even need to say it. Really, I don't. Okay, maybe I do. Place-holder textures making it to the final version of the game. Yeah, what a big surprise, right? Only 95% of the entire game is a place-holder of real, finished content. So, hey, I just realized that I was still playing beta. You can imagine my surprise. Or you can imagine how not surprised I was. So when I completed this quest and found out that I had to do another "test," my stomach sank. I had the unnerving feeling that the rest of Act 4 was going to have each truth give me a field day activity to do in their "epic quests to battle evil." Or aliens. Or what ever the hell these things are (We're never actually told). Sure enough, when I got the next quest and checked Murmur's help, I realized that that is what I was going to do.

So moving on to Capture and Control. This was an interesting little mini game I had to play. Apparently there are four neutral control points that I first must control. Afterwards I must then kill the opponent's "bishops." Only then could I topple the "king." Of course, holding the control points proved to be a bit hard, given the distance you had to travel to get to them and hold them, and especially considering the AI on your side does nothing but sit there with stupid looks on their face and doesn't fire back at the enemy.

Thanks for standing still, wanker.

Of course, I eventually drive back the attackers and press forward and kill the demon lieutenants. After doing so I realized that I was receiving extra boosts. Boost in health after capturing all four points, a boost in shields after killing one lieutenant, and then a boost in damage dealt after killing the second lieutenant. Basically what ends up happening is that the Staples easy button was pressed a few too many times, so by the time I get to the end boss, I can literally stand still and shoot at him and survive.

Sorry, I don't believe I have enough buffs. Someone needs to donate 1,700,000 palladium to really make this feel like overkill.

Next up we have Tug O' War. Always a school yard favorite. I'm glad we can find it in an M-rated title. The mature content is just oozing out my left ear here. Anyways, I'd like to share an interesting experience, as you must actually go through a worthless instance before getting to the challenge. In this instance I was fighting the normal baddies of bad design when, suddenly, by the forces of Sauron's dark magic, the game started to stutter. Whereas I was running with over 100+ FPS, I was now rockin' the boat at 1 to 2 frames per second. My my, what a wonderful sight it was. Just to see that, after killing an enemy, my FPS dropped for no reason. Nearly on the brink of running the medley of ctrl + alt + delete, I decided to call in a recall portal. Just as magical as making one appear, it did indeed do the trick to curing this mysterious problem, and my FPS jumped back up to where it was before.

I can see why patch 1.3 even turned some people's fansanity into regretting what they were saying.

Anyways, on to Tug O' War! Yes, in this quest I have to do what I've done in every other quest. Run to the control points, control them, hold them, and push forward until I hold them all. The catch with this one is that the control points are in a straight line, and in order to control them you have to clear the area of boils (thus bringing in the whole test of "beauty" to make any sense, I suppose). The magic of this quest is that it's actually quite a challenge. You see, you're not given any boosts like you were in the last quest. No siree, you're all on your own here. After controlling a point all you need is a demon to step in the general vicinity to lose it, and then you'll have boils to start to spawn. The trick to this quest, however, is that, as you get closer to the end, the more you get bottlenecked with respawns coming in to fast, so by the time you turn around to clear the boils, another demon pops down to ruin your progress. What you have to end up doing is standing on the stairs while you clear out the room of boils, thus making the demons focus their fire on you and not dropping down to the last control point. Of course, how any other class that isn't ranged could do this...well, I'm not willing to, sorry, waste more time finding that one out. Either way, I end up being the victorious one.

Oh, I forgot to mention that when you complete the tests you are then taken to a place that was already used in the game that holds these "sigils." What the hell these sigils are and do no one bothers to explain. All you need to know is that you were told to do something and you need to be a good little boy and do it. Cuz, you know, it says so in the quest text. Either way, I just had to admire this one spot that they send you to:

No skybox, floating lights in the distance, invisible walls around a 2-foot fence...yep, it's official. I'm in beta.

So, onward to King of the Hill! Of course, first I'd like to share a few things I found along the way. For instance, I found out that the invisible rifle glitch actually WAS fixed. Yes, all you need to do is that, after the problem persists, you just need to switch to first person mode. Yep, that fixes it! Glad to know that all I need to do to fix the problem is go the extra mile. Because, you know, how awful it would be of me to expect this glitch to be fixed completely.

Second, I move quickly on to an item I haven't seen since LV7. Yes, what I'm talking about here are blueprints, folks! Yes, these things are a rare sight indeed. First brought in as an alternative to nanoforging your armor and weapons, these little crafting tidbits are so few and far between that when you actually find one you find out that it's for a completely worthless item. And here I was, finding my second set of blueprints. Ah. You'll have to forgive me if all I did was just take a snapshot and move on.

Fiery Ammo Blueprints. Translation: Something that is just going to take up a slot in your inventory.

So King of the Hill. Right then. Okay, what this really was was control points, except with the King of the Hill concept, i.e. when you control the point your score is counted towards your goal over a set amount of time. The catch, however, is that the more control points you control, the faster you earn points (100 is what you need to win). Sure enough all points start off neutral, but you, my friend, are started off in an equal distance between the first two you can get. Yes, of course, while the enemy spawns two demons and sends both in different directions to capture their control points, you my friend, must do it all on your own. While at first I was losing, these enemies, however, seemed to be complete push overs (believe me, it's a hit-and-miss when it comes to whether or not these enemies will be easy or hard to kill), so I eventually pushed into their territory and took over their control points and won the game.

You can't see it, but there used to be a stick where you would know where to click to first turn the control point neutral and then click again to turn it to your side. Of course, for it to be invisible is not surprising at all because...well, you know why by now.

Thankfully, that was the end of the 2nd grade field day quests. Oh sure, the "Final Test" doesn't really specify what you'll be doing, but I'm sure if it was a field day quest Murmur would tell us. Either way, to sum up the slew of these boring, unimaginative, and senseless quests for the end of Act 4 can be done so with this picture:

Act 4; it's a series of tubes.

So on to this "final test." Hmm, oh yes, how very interested I finishing this game and being done with it once and for all. But let's take a moment here to reflect on some interesting things I found on the way, yes? Like, for instance, the last quest Murmur offers us, which is to meet him along the way. I can't remember the quest text because I seriously didn't care, which is to say how I felt for about 99.8% of the other quest text presented in this game given the horrid delivery of it all. Either way, what I remember is that he had an "important message" to tell me, and this is what it was:

Such language for an M-rated game! At least they censored it.

I still like to call that quest, "Letter from Management," and pretend Techmsith 314 is Bill Roper talking to single players. Anyways, moving this show along, yes. So I finally get to the "Final Test." Waiting for me is the cryptic and nonsensical emo chick Emmera and my favorite evil sidekick Murmur. Hmm, right then. I shouldn't be concerned at all that Murmur, a completely unintegrated character for the entire game, is accompanying me on this quest. Nope, not one bit. I'll play along, cover my eyes, and pretend to have an IQ like that of Forrest Gump. I'll work with ya, Flagship! You fooled me good!

Here in this scene, we finally learn who Sydonai is, a half hour before the game is finished. Great delivery.

Anyways, I accept the quest from Emmora, and right after doing so I get a voice communicado with Murmur.

Sirens. If they aren't going off for you then you were dropped.

Yeah, apparently Murmur, Mr. Incofuckingspicuous, is quite evil after all, talking about Sydonai like as if he's a pal or a chum, saying he was "so close!" Ugh. If they would let me shoot Murmur in his stupid face I would gladly do so. Not because I know he's evil (and have known since the start of the game), but because of how horribly cliche it is. Who ever writes this crap has been playing too much Diablo Tw--oh, wait.

So, moving along. I run up the street hoping not to see a familiar face, because that also wouldn't be overtly cliche. You know, like find last-minute help from two characters that tried too hard to be memorable and yet just ended up being a complete nuisance and an add in to please the kiddies. Oh. Well, damn, spoke too soon. Yep, just a short ways up the street? Good ol' Techsmith 314 with the Oracle still attached to his face and Luscious are there to greet me, with a "giant robot." After some stupid dialogue about a sandwich, I am told that I am given the "Lightning" to help me in my endeavor. Of course, this "robot" seemed to have some very nice Hunter idle animations.

The Lightning, AKA a scaled Hunter with a few cosmetic changes.

So I got into this bad boy, expecting something like a Mech cockpit to follow. Of course, that would've been the logical thing to have happened, and, as we all know, there is no such thing as logic in this game. So what did I get instead? A reliving of a nightmare, that's what. It was The Wall all over again. Yep, the same UI used for that poor attempt to be an RTS sequence of a quest. Oh, and how about that. The same AI that does the same kind of damage too!

The Lightning, better known as Truman now, decided to engage the enemy on his own. The only problem? There were objects in his way, so all he did was just run around shooting at containers.

Of course, after some guidance, he did at least aim at the enemy 1/4 of the time. The other 3/4? Truman seemed intent on shooting the wall. Either way, when ever he did hit the enemy I think he was doing about 0 DPS a second, while I, on the other hand, was only taking damage.

So what did I do? I did what any sane person would do. I bailed. Yep, got out of that worthless addition to a quest that did worthless damage, has the AI of a Goldfish, and just killed the rare enemies in the way. Of course, thinking that maybe I had to continue with this stupid thing, I tried to get back in, but oh hohoho! To no avail, as no option to get back in was available. So I just continued on, hoping it was going to end soon enough. On my way I pass an inconspicuous portal that I couldn't open. Nope, just opened, not doing anything at all. Hmm. Right then. So, anyways, I eventually round to the end of a corner of a street where the last sigil is. Yes, why the last sigil is on Earth is unknown to me. Every other one seemed to be in its own dimensional pocket. But right! Remember the golden rule! Kick yourself in the face and pretend it makes sense! Anyways, before I can activate it, Murmur starts to whine again, saying Sydonai is coming and to hurry up to activate the Sigil. So after ending that conversation with Murmur, because I was tired of his crap, this wannabe Cthulhu rounds the corner. At first I thought this might've been the boss fight--that Act 5 was subscriber material. Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if it was, but then I realized he was just there to kill Murmur. Or, at least, he tried to. Yeah, he slapped Murmur once, but Murmur was still standing. So wannabe Cthulhu just stood there for a few seconds, confused, and Murmur stood there just as confused as well, all the while I was firing away not making a dent. Then wannabe Cthulhu stuck Murmur again and he finally went down, after which wannabe Cthulhu then ran away.

Well someone's gotta take out the garbage.

So Murmur's dead. Why is Sydonai bad again? He just did me a favor. Anyways, I turn around and activate the sigil. Hooray. Portal opens up and I speak to the last Truth. Oh, and how un-cliche, it's a child.

Yes, children are the future hope of mankind. Like everyone and their mother doesn't know this.

So after finishing talking to the Child (I didn't even bother with the quest text; I'm sure it would've been some O'ma-fied crap of, "I am hope, don't give up hope, you took this journey to learn the importance of life, now you can win, blah blah blah" ) I was treated to another cut scene of a floating book, thus telling me I had finally finished Act 4 and had moved on to Act 5. Wee. The voice actor started to go on a worthless rant. I just pressed space bar. Seriously. Let me know when the story gets interesting or half-way decent, because here, right now? It was just getting less and less interesting.

"Hope is peace. Hope is man. Hope is blargh. Blargh blargh blarghhhh."

Of course, the shocker came after canceling the low-resolution cinema classic of the floating book the following message:

End of Act 5? No no, I think you meant, "End of Act 4." Then again, maybe the game DID mean the end of Act 5.

Anyways, afterwards I get a message from Emmora. She starts to go on about how is the time to strike and all that crap. She then broadcasts a message telling everyone to get to the Hellgate. And then? Then my quest log updates with this:

Gogogo! We gotta move!

Now I was about to log out, but this piqued my curiosity. I mean, let alone that I'm just finding out now that there is a main Hellgate in London I was unaware of, but now everyone is to rush to it. Does this mean that the end of the game is very near? Of course, knowing that more than half the time I have unanswered questions, I just decided to make my way to the last station. Of course, along the way I bumped into Lyra, and, would you believe it, she explained to me that the demon that she "survived" 20 years ago, the one that died from tripping over a boil, was, in fact, not dead at all, and rather have herself deal the judgment, she wanted me to go on a wild goose chase, track him down, and kill him. So I thoroughly told where Lyra could stick her quest and proceeded to the last station.

So here I was, at the last station. It was dismal and not another soul was in sight. there was, however, a rather inquisitive NPC by the name of Sammy, with the subtitles "SUBSCRIBER ONLY" under his name. Right, like I didn't feel alienated. Anyways, I go on to rush my way to "the Hellgate!" certainly not expecting the game to end. I mean, come on. Act 5 just started. Are you really telling me that it's going to end in 15 minutes? Well, as a matter of fact, it was 20 minutes. Anyways, once you arrive you are finally introduced to an actual cinema. I mean, it wasn't a floating book, it was finally something new. Oh, sure, it was low resolution as well, but I think I'll just let the shots do the talking for now.

"Yes, I've heard. Kills men by the hundreds. And if HE were here, he'd consume the English with fireballs from his eyes and bolts of lightning from his arse. I AM a Shock Trooper!"

"No, not the Hunters. My scouts tell me their Imp Snipers are miles away and are no threat to us. Bullets cost money. Use up the Templar. Their dead cost nothing."

"For Frodo!"

"On a highhhhwayyyy to helllll!"


So it was the end. Freaking. Finally. I mean, let's just forget the fact that Act 5 is just one quest. Yeah, I'm willing to forget that. Believe me, I don't think I could've stomached going through more useless and worthless quests. The end of Act 4 proved well enough just how much they were running out of ideas. But hey, here I was, at St. Paul's Hellgate, apparently the super giant mega Hellgate that has been opened and no one has bothered to mention. Of course the only problem is that from afar it doesn't look like a Hellgate at all (not even scaled); it looks more like a giant ring of fire.

"One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the Darkness bind them!"

So I'm expecting an epic battle. You know, Templar romping around and all. Instead what I find are a few sparring parties here and now outside of the Cathedral dancing around or standing around doing nothing. I mean, I tried to look down into the crater that was behind the place, but nothing was down there. It was like as if everyone disappeared or something. I mean, sure, most of the fighting was taking inside of the Cathedral, but nothing on epic proportions.

This place is PACKED.

Eventually I make my way to the cathedral, where Emmora then tells me that I must enter the Hellgate and do all that heroic junk and kill everything in sight. You know, just like you would do in any other generic game.

Oh, so this is why we have to kill Sydonai. He's the root of all evil. So glad I'm learning this 15 minutes before the game ends.

So I rush past the floating emo chick, kill some demons, and step through the fiery circle that is the Hellgate, expecting something of epic proportions on the other side. Of course, I first had to kindly wait for a loading screen.

We're not in Kansas any more, Toto.

So the area loads up and before I can do anything Emmora follows me in and starts to talk to me, and as much as I'd like to actually listen to her explain to me the end of the game, I can't do much when her voice communication is blocking me from trying to shoot at an incoming Shulgo--oops, I mean, Discord.

You can cry to me later. First, we have recycled mini-bosses to kill.

So much to my surprise it would seem as if the game finally decided to get hard. What, I mean with Shulgoth coming at me hard like a raged pitbull and that one teleporting demon that uses guerrilla tactics to port in and port out are doing their best to gang bang me from just stepping inside the portal. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that the change of pace doesn't really make sense. Sure, I survived--by running around and spamming health potions and running back out of the Hellgate--but why put two demons together from the start of things? It wasn't challenging, it was just plain frustrating.

Anyways, after killing both said demons, I decide to take in my surroundings. Hmm, yes, and the surroundings I took in very well indeed. Fog distance of 25 feet and nearly swearing that I was still on planet Earth and just merely had stepped through a hole to find myself at the crater where the cathedral used to be. I mean, if this is Hell, then I must say this has to be one of the weakest interpretations of it. Might as well just dumb it down to Heck, or even H-E-double hockey sticks. Either way, it just boggles my mind why this game even earned an M rating. What further vexes me is how the creators from FREAKING DIABLO were unable to create an immensely impressive environment to represent Hell. This literally just felt like something that was just shat out at the last minute.

The only nightmares this picture will cause are for players who were expecting something good out of this game.

I think the worst part of it is how I felt the impact of the entire game summed up in this sequence. I mean, for one, the only Engineer skills I EVER used in the entire game were rocket bot, haste bot, and my drone. Oh, and I tossed a shock grenade every now and then. But you know what? The drone is only there as an off-hand tank, because he can't actually do any damage. The only people doing any damage are me and the rocket bot. In the end of it all it's just a point-and-click game. You point the reticle at the enemy and you click. Boom, you win. Rinse, lather, repeat. That's exactly how it worked for these boss fights, except the only problem is that they took forever. I mean, after the first two, I spent about three or four minutes with each boss just aiming, shooting, and dodging, and the worst part is that half the time I wasn't even being hit. No, this was not challenging, it was not hard, it was not a change of pace--it was time consuming, tedious, boring, and had me falling asleep.

Just die already.

Eventually the damn demons died, at which point in time I was welcomed to another cinematic--and this time it wasn't a floating book again! So let's do the pictures do the talking once more, shall we?

Here comes the Cthulhu wannabe.

Rawr. ^_^

Time to go Super Saiyan!


His power level! It's over NINE-THOUSANDDDDD!

Yeah, so apparently Emmora dies. Well, I say apparently. I mean, all she does is fall to the side and then throws a little spell at you, sort of like translating, "Okay, now you can kill him." So, after the cut scene is over, I finally get to dance with Cthulhu in one final showdown to finally beat the game. The sad part, however, is how Sydonai was easily killed or how the majority of his attacks involved running away.

One of the end-game boss's prominent skills is to run away.

Hooray, Sydonai's dead. End of the game. Or, at least, so I thought (hey, Stonehenge has got to at least drag it on afterwards, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised). More cinema time! But this time the floating book makes an appearance.

C'mon. Be honest. You didn't really think I was really dead, did you?

Don't drink and drive, Syd. You only have one point left on your license, bud.

Don't worry, I'll take care of everything while you're away.

Well, I can say I was surprised to see Murmur still alive. Though was I happy they pulled a Halo 2? Well, either way, I can't say I give that much of a damn at all. You see, when you do a cliff hanger, you usually lead up the story where the character knows everything there is already to the story. Here in Hellgate, however, the mystery of the story is just a fabled myth where you are fed bits and pieces five or ten minutes before the game ends. I'm not interested in how Murmur lives or what/who he really is, or why he now controls all the demon armies, especially after being told Sydonai was the key that would seal the world from Hellgates. Instead, he just goes on about some useless things and tosses you into a portal (which I am assuming leads to nowhere, considering you're already in Hell). After the cinema is done, however, you're returned to what you were doing before hand, which was watching Sydonai die and then looting the worthless drops. But, ah, how do you exit out of Hell then? Well, by stepping through the portal named, "Exit Game," silly!

Some things never change.

So I exit the game, watch the credits for a whole five seconds after laughing at the Game Design credits (Flagship Studios), and then clicked on the 'X' to stop viewing them. I was then taken back to the main menu of the game. Just to satisfy my curiosity of what happens to your character after beating the game, I log into my account once more. There I find that there is a "Nightmare Mode" to be toggled, which, of course, I then immediately decided to face palm. Please tell me it ain't so, please tell me it ain't so.

It is so.

Now I can see why they have a rule on their forums that forbids us from making comparisons to other games. For those of you who are raising your eyebrows, allow me to fill in the gaps. Nightmare Mode is really just a translation for, "Run through the game at a greater difficulty." It's what drove their original game Diablo 2 after you beat the game. What you would do then is...beat it again. And then after beating that mode you would then...beat it on Hell Mode. Keep in mind the only thing that changes is difficulty. So, basically, once you've beaten the game, you are given the chance to beat it again. Why? Oh, I don't know. Some people are closet masochists, I suppose. I, however, am not going to invest my time doing the same thing all over AGAIN. Fool me once.

So what now? Well, seeing as I have divulged enough information to make a detailed review, that's all I see left to do. I can say, however, that the experience I had with Hellgate is one I will never forget. Oh yes, I learned an important lesson here, and the lesson is this: caveat emptor.

I'm never going to get back those 36 hours of my life.