Hellbound - PC Review

Hellbound by developer Saibot Studios and publisher Nimble Giant EntertainmentPC (Steam) review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

“Warning! This game is being made like it was in the 90’s, some people may find it too difficult“ -- Saibot Studios

The year is 2020. We’ve gone past the days of 8-16-32 or 64-bit unless it's specifically being touted as retro. Everything today is all about the 4K resolutions and how pretty it all is. Well for some. For others, we’ve got a hell of a nostalgic heavy metal trip for you all the way back to the 90s. Sure, Doom Eternal just launched a few months back but if all you’ve really been wanting is that classic old school feeling of the original Doom, Quake or Hexen? Saibot Studios’ has got you covered.

Hellbound is literally an FPS from the 90s though one that you can play in ultrawide resolutions on your 4K monitors and have it look good. Fast paced, hard as hell, enemies moving in on you from wherever they appear and plenty of a heavy metal as a soundtrack to boot? It's actually hard to ask for much more.

So the premise? You're the last of your kind and you've been woken up to fight against the demons that the humans have lost against. Also? You're the last of your kind because the rest died fighting those same demons however there's one thing that you have that they don't. The protagonist title! So picking up your first gun and shooting anything in your way that moves, you'll also be slinging along one liners about how badass of a mofo you really are.

Hellbound has two modes. The first is a fast paced campaign that I'll never be able to meet those Par Course times for completion and the other is a set of survival stages that unlock as you make your way through the campaign. The campaign will have you racing through various stages in both a run and gun fashion while adding in some light puzzle elements such as needing keys for doors and throwing switches to open up pathways that you have to run through before they close. Seriously, if you're looking for a story you won't find it here, but, that's the point. This is an FPS designed for that sole point and on that point, it aces it.

The other mode is survival in which you'll have to survive ways of enemies until they are either all dead, or you are. It's a nice break from the campaign as all you truly need to do is shoot at anything that moves until there's nothing left. While technically granting the same gameplay experience, it was nice to not have to worry about doors, keys, and where my last checkpoint was.

Because it's old schooled designed and tells you up front that it's hard, finishing stages or survival waves must be earned. It's not given to you. Learning to aim properly (I'll get there some day with a keyboard and mouse), learning where enemies come from if you've died once or twice, learning which weapon does the best kinds of damage against which enemy. Everything has to be locked down in your brain or you'll die. Good keyboard and nice users can get away with some slack as they have skill but for those that don't? Better shape up fast or properly learn the lay of the land. I had to...

Otherwise the gameplay itself is pretty straight forward. You move around with WASD on your keyboard, you use shift to run, space to jump, shoot with the left mouse button and use the secondary features with the right mouse button. You can use the keyboard or the mousewheel to switch weapons but that’s it. There’s no fancy sliding around, there’s no fancy active reload bonuses, hell, you want to punch someone? Do it the good old fashioned way and select your fists to do. I would advise against that last one and instead use the club, at least it can block a bit. It’s simple in how it’s controlled which lets you concentrate more on not dying as you’ll have plenty that you need to think about while running and gunning.

Are there any issues? I could list some but those were more due to me learning what could or could not do. Jumping is all about timing and I fell into the lava more than once. There’s no real tutorial so when I found out that shift was to run, which while normal I didn’t think would be the case since you already move so damned fast, it helped me make those jumps that I had been previously failing at. So if there’s ONE issue, it would be that those damned four legged clawed beasts can literally take you out in two hits. That’s will full armor and health so watch yourself because you can go from hero to zero very fast.

Overall though? Hellbound is a nostalgia trip that's more than just nostalgia. It’s a hell of a lot of fun though I don’t know if that’s because I’m an 80s kid and I grew up gaming in the 90s. For people like me and the age groups before, this is basically our childhood but in massive screen resolutions that were unheard of at the time as games came on 3.5” or 5” floppy disks that held next to nothing information wise so we had to split things into multiple disks if we wanted to bring them anywhere.

Nostalgia aside though, Hellbound is a well refined first person shooter that has you diving through the forces of hell in a high octane killfest supported by heavy metal tracks to keep the pace up as your heart pumps blood to the beat of the music. It’s bloody hard but it’s fun in that classic sense where you have to be better than the game as the game won’t just hand victory over to you.

Score: 8 / 10



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