Review: Hellpoint

Published: 2021/09/08

Last updated: 2022/08/27

For much of this summer, my major gaming timesink has been a relatively little-known and scarcely-documented sci-fi Souls-like game known as Hellpoint. It certainly helped that there’s a GNU/Linux build, though I spent over half that time in Windows anyway because the GNU/Linux build doesn’t have networking support for reasons that have never been, to my knowledge, publicly revealed. I understand that Unity 3D was used, which I thought would take care of that automatically.

At any rate, I’ve played this thing a ton, using three characters, two of which were multi-player, and thus have had plenty of time to form various Opinions, so let’s get into that. I’ll start out being mostly spoiler-free, but be warned that later on spoilers are necessary in order to discuss the points I’m wanting to make, especially in the section talking about the plot.

Game Synopsis

Hellpoint is, as I stated before, a sci-fi Souls-like game; for those somehow unfamiliar, this implies a number of points:



The Player:


Mind that these are genre characteristics as a whole; each game always has its own unique take on it, and Hellpoint is no exception.

One thing that immediately differentiates it is the unusual setting: instead of the typical fantasy-styled environments, Hellpoint uses an unsettling sci-fi scenario, being set on Irid Novo, a twisted space station drifting endlessly around a mysterious black hole surrounded by strange energy. Your PC is known simply as “the Spawn”, an artificial life-form organically printed at the start of the game at the behest of a voice calling itself “the Author”; he tasks you with gathering information about whatever strange tragedy befell the station, wiping it of (most) sentient life.

Game progression is tied heavily into exploration and investigation, with “data” being awarded on hitting various milestones, such as uncovering a new piece of evidence, finding a new Breach (used to heal, respawn on death, level up, imbue oneself with stable Axion packets, teleport, or adjust the difficulty of an area), or defeating bosses. The end-game scenario is available after reaching at least 100% data, and culminates with 0-3 boss fights depending on what choices are made. Upon completion of any ending, the game loops into a “New Game+” mode, which allows one to keep all non-plot items, levels, and Axions while increasing the difficulty of each area by 1 point (which is more significant than it sounds).

At this point, let’s go over each of the genre bullet points and see where Hellpoint fits in.

Exploration and the World

This is an area where Hellpoint really shines. You’re presented with a total of 10 distinct zones (as defined by their unique loading screens), which are all interconnected in various ways. The initial flow requires you go from the initial area, the Embassy, to the Observatory, which serves as the neutral grounds/major crafting station of the game, but from this point it’s possible to branch out in several ways. Skilled players may find a way to jump immediately from the Observatory to Port Issoudun by utilising a secret passkey. Otherwise, you’re able to go to Arcology, a small zone that serves as a launching pad to two other major zones, the Ikari Walkways and the Sohn District. Only one is accessible initially; to visit the other requires a keycard found later on. Once either area is selected, your travel options start to open up dramatically.

As can already be seen, there are a lot of rewards for thorough exploration, including not only alternative game paths but also lots of items and unique equipment. Various secret doors exist, which, similar to Dark Souls 3, can be interacted with to open; there’s also at least two walls that can be smashed through, several that can be opened by visible yet out-of-the-way switches, and even a few hidden elevators that make a noise when you step on them.

Additionally, unique to Hellpoint is the existence of an in-game clock, visible at all times in the upper-left corner of the screen. This clock serves three unique purposes: announcing Red Hours and Eclipses, which are gameplay-altering events, and governing the offerings of a reclusive NPC who barters various rare crafting items for the rations scattered about the station. Interestingly, used strategically, this NPC can allow one to skip significant segments of the game when going for one of the more complex endings, if the player has sufficient foreknowledge.

As for the “Red Hours”, these are signalled by the clock turning red at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. During this time, various zone-specific things will happen, such as defeated enemies suddenly re-spawning, out-of-depth enemies appearing, or in at least one case, a unique enemy appearing (though this case may in fact be a glitch, as normally the enemy in question is found elsewhere and is inactive). Many zones also features a unique combat scenario once per game iteration, signalled by a “fire wall” like the one usually reserved for boss arenas. Completing this scenario grants a reward, sometimes in the form of gifts that show up in your inventory directly and sometimes in the sudden spawning of said gifts on the ground.

Eclipses, on the other hand, occur at a distinct time that is relatively unique to each zone. During this time, defeating certain area bosses results in additional or altered loot, in addition to more Axions, and it’s possible to visit certain areas that are otherwise inaccessible, normally covered by a sandy-coloured “fire wall”. Some of these zones will open of their own accord, but many require experimenting with various configuration codes found as orange circles throughout the game world; examining them will yield a configuration name and a number associated with a given device. It is left up to players directly to record these by hand and figure out what combinations do what. The codes can be inputted in an area at the top of Arcology, but it isn’t accessible until you’ve accessed an offline elevator. Further complicating matters is the fact that one of the needed machines is disabled, and must be manually activated in a distant location.

It should be noted that this hassle is entirely optional, and poorly clued in the game; without spoilers, you’ll have to spend a lot of time experimenting. Going through with it does net a few unique items, though as always their worthiness is dependent on a number of factors.

Overall, exploration is a constant joy, and each zone is so riddled in secrets that I was constantly finding new things in areas I thought I knew well. This is easily the shining point of the game. The only major thing I would like to see changed here is the lack of clues regarding Eclipse doors – this seems like a massive oversight given how tedious an operation it is.

Combat, Bosses, and Death

If exploration is the meat, combat is the potatoes. You really can’t have one without the other.

Combat in this style of game is handled in real-time, focusing on fast reflexes, observation, and managing your three combat resources: health, stamina, and energy.

Health is pretty much self-explanatory – you have it or you’re dead, which then invokes mechanics I’ll discuss momentarily. As in most games, your performance is entirely unaffected by health, so even if you have a single sliver you’re able to continue fighting unabated. Healing is done almost exclusively via specific items. Each one you find starts with 2 charges, and the maximum can be increased per-item by expending very rare “Healing Proficiencies” at a Utility Station (which can also heal a player for a nominal fee, which includes filling all empty and available health charges). The default healing item heals all health instantly, but a major alternative can be found in Ikari Walkways, the nanobots, which heal over time instead, and the effect persists for several seconds. There’s also medicine to heal radiation build-up (but not damage, which blocks off your max HP, similar to Hollowing in Dark Souls 2), as well as two “rituals”, one of which is supposed to cure “insanity” (a rare ailment that makes the camera zoom way out) and can also heal a co-op partner, and one that heals both players; however, the insanity-curing effect of the former seems to be broken. In order to actually refill charges outside of the very rare Utility Machines, one has to attack enemies in melee. This will slowly power up a charge depending on the “Leech” attribute of a given weapon.

Now, as for the death mechanics, when a player dies, the results depend on whether they’re player 1 or a guest player. Player 1 will drop all loose Axions on their person at the spot of death (or nearest valid location, in the case of infinite pits), which can be recovered post-death unless the player is killed again. It will also cause the area to reload and all non-boss monsters to respawn. Most interestingly, and lastly, it will cause a green phantom of the player to wander the zone, which will attack the player on sight using the readied equipment the player had on death. This can be extremely terrifying depending on what the player was using, especially given that the ghost has unlimited Energy. As for player 2, it’s a bit simpler: they leave a “soul” in a summoning circle and can be revived by Player 1 at the cost of a ritual blood-letting, which appears to cost about half of his maximum HP – Player 1 can easily die from this. Player 2 otherwise never suffers any ill effects.

Continuing on, stamina is the most important element otherwise, as it dictates everything you are able to do except, unless guard-broken, basic movement and holding up a shield. It is used up in varying amounts when running, jumping, attacking, dodging, and blocking blows, and recovers on its own when not doing any of those things. Using up too much stamina, which mainly occurs when attacking or blocking heavy blows, signalled by the meter flashing on the left side, will invoke a “stamina debt” that must be repaid by a waiting period before stamina actually begins refilling again. This stat should be bumped as often as possible, as running out of stamina is the most dangerous thing that can happen in combat.

Lastly, energy. Energy is a generic substance used for weapon arts, guns, and magical relics. Just like healing charges, it’s recharged via melee combat, following the same mechanics. As such, it’s not possible to have an entirely “pure” ranged character, and it also means that even melee-focused tanks will want to ensure a reasonable supply, as many of the weapon arts are quite powerful and useful.

Now, having said all that, what about the actual enemies?

Your average enemies are quite numerous and take a variety of forms, ranging from zombie-like Victims to flying fish (oh no) to grotesque Shakespeare performers and even fiery demons. There are even robots and living statues, both of which wield gigantic weapons, one of which can be looted. The enemy variety never fails to impress and gives each Zone a very distinct feel.

Bosses, on the other hand, are a bit of a mixed bag. Many of them are gigantic versions of normal enemies (or the other way around, one could argue), and the main challenge is just dealing with their exaggerated HP pools relative to their diminutive counterparts, who tend to attack in the same fashion.

The exception to this is the battles against the mysterious god-like entities that govern specific segments of the space station. There is nothing in the game like any of them, and they tend to be a good deal more interesting – especially Ozyormy Goija, the Master of Puppets, who is fought in both the freeware demo/pseudo-sequel, Hellpoint: The Thespian Feast, and the main game. This is easily the best (and most frustrating, depending on your levelling at the time) fight in the game, as he’s the most dynamic and tricky boss. He also holds the distinction of being the only one in the game with proper minions (barring an almost coincidental alignment of Preterhumans (techno-soldiers) with the Consumer in Alma Mater Atrium).

Also of note are the optional final bosses, for similar reasons – the uniqueness of the fights, and, in the case of the “best” ending, having to juggle two fairly powerful entities at once, a mechanic used otherwise only for the Arisen Congregators at the end of Sohn District. The primary of the two bosses is also notable for having multiple parts that can be systematically disabled in order to reduce its attack options.

It should also be mentioned that there are four “Archon Knights”, one of which you’ll find playing normally and the other three hidden away; these fights are exceptional not because of anything unique about the arena or strategy, but because of how unbelievably weak they are by the time you get to them, clearly being intended as early-game bosses in terms of scaling. You do, however, get some nice rewards from two of the hidden ones in particular, making it worth the effort of seeking them out.

Overall, the bosses aren’t going to really satisfy anyone looking for a true Souls-like experience on the whole, but treated as road-blocks in an action game, they do their job acceptably.

Equipment, Stats, and Levelling

Equipment in this game is reasonably diverse, and some pieces even feature direct upgrades. What makes it interesting is that not all of those upgrades are unambiguously good. For example, your bread-and-butter Officer’s Glaive is a direct and blatant upgrade to the Antiquated Officer’s Glaive, but its final form, Officer Tule’s Glaive, isn’t so black-and-white – it swaps out some of its outright damage potential (directly and via passive weapon arts) in order to bring in a small amount of light/energy damage. This can be an effective combination against some enemies, but less useful against others.

Armour tends to be a bit less ambiguous, playing the game of trading out various ratios of weight, physical defence, and special defence. Armour is often given in sets, though there’s no mechanical bonuses for wearing one, with one partial exception: the two sets of space suit armour. This functions a bit uniquely, with both helms providing infinite oxygen while in space. However, lack of oxygen is only one problem – the space surrounding the station is also highly irradiated, and you need a full set of any combination of suit parts in order to nullify that.

Both armour and weapons tie into the stats system as well; most pieces have requirements in varying amounts for the combat stats, which encourages a diversified build to some extent; for instance, you must have at least 3 Cognition in order to use the space suits correctly, and my favourite beatin’ stick, the Ferula, is an interesting case study in that it initially has just a simple requirement of 8 Dexterity, but its upgraded occult form, the Ferula of the Prodigal Spawn, requires a whopping 8 Strength, 16 Dexterity, and 12 Foresight, along with notably more stamina per swing, but rewards you with the best Leeching attack the game has to offer. Failing to meet the requirements of a given piece of equipment won’t prevent you from equipping it, but will lower the damage/protection to the point of being essentially worthless.

Overall, the variety and stylistic choices for both weapons and armour are interesting and often quite unique, ranging the gamut from medievalish, like the lizard-like knight armour and the accompanying sword and shield, which feels like a quiet reference to The Elder Scrolls V, to cultish, like the various robe-like sets or the Sacrificial Dagger, to bizarre futurism, like the outfits that resemble Pepsi Man or the mechanical-looking Heater Spear. Absolutely something for everyone, especially if you’re not too concerned with min-maxing.

I keep referring to the melee weapons, but there’s also ranged weapons that are either mechanical in nature (rifles and cannons), which rely on the Cognition stat, magical (Prophet Hands, Hedrons, and Channelers), which rely on the Foresight stat, and even a couple of hybrids that utilise both. In addition, there are also shields, which block varying amounts of the different damage types in the game and can also be used to break an enemy’s guard.

It’s also very important to point out that what keeps each type of weapon, melee or ranged, viable and interesting is not only that each weapon has (relatively) unique movesets, but also that each weapon has either 2 or 7 “weapon arts”, skills that are learned by using the weapon over time. Some are passive buffs, and some are unique attacks that use Energy as fuel and can be bound to the technique button. All melee weapons start with the ability to utilise a generic weapon art based on the Upgrade Chip equipped, and all weapons with 7 arts end up having a total of 3 unique attacks, counting the Upgrade Chip art in the case of melee weapons. Interestingly, if one forgoes using a shield, the block button executes a unique technique instead.

Upgrade Chips are the primary method of upgrading weapons; each one individually can be levelled up by expending Axions at special crafting stations, and they keep these levels even when removed from the item they’re associated with, encouraging experimentation. Each melee variant adds damage based on a relevant statistic, allowing for things like a strength-based dagger or a quality-based greatsword, alongside a special technique; for instance, Dexterity chips allow you to swing a weapon faster, while elemental chips imbue your weapon with the given element. Elemental chips are unique in that they split off damage, similar to elemental imbuing in Dark Souls; this makes some of the odd weapons with minor split damage already (e.g. Officer Tule’s Glaive) a bit more interesting. Upgrade chips also exist for ranged weapons of all varieties, though they don’t provide any techniques and are simply straight damage boosters. There are also chips for shields, though they’re slightly bugged in that the upgrade display doesn’t properly show the effect; in addition to boosting your shield’s resistance to a given element, they also boost the stability, which plays a role in determining how much stamina you lose when blocking.

Other equipment exists as well, in the form of body modules, mind modules, and Omnicube programs. Body and Mind modules are simply equippable items that provide some benefit, sometimes at a cost, and are pretty straightforward, being like rings or other such trinkets in other games. The Omnicube is a little different, being a kind of multi-tool that runs on (generally) minute amounts of energy. Its most common use is providing light or otherwise aiding in secret-finding, though some of the more obscure programs can have minor combat or entertainment value.

Now, as for the stats themselves, I’ve already outlined what they do above. What I’d like to make explicit is the viability of different build types. While it’s possible to go in many directions, players seem to be quietly pushed to diversify, as alluded to before. Moreover, it is my observation that the magical weapons are a good deal superior to the guns in the end, though Hands and Hedrons take a good bit of levelling before that’s obvious, while Channelers start out awesome and only get better. Fully-upgraded hands in particular are exceptionally useful as sniping tools and can steamroll the endgame bosses. On the other hand, the rifles start out immediately useful and quickly gain a handy grenade, but their damage potential doesn’t seem to be as good overall. There are heavy guns in the form of cannons, but while on paper they should be totally awesome, they’re nearly impossible to aim and don’t have the level of splash damage the animation suggests; it’s honestly quite a disappointment.

Stats, naturally enough, are gained by levelling; in this case, that means hoarding enough Axions to purchase a level and a corresponding stat point, and then doing so at any convenient Breach. One thing I would note is that unlike what I’ve seen in e.g. Dark Souls, HP does not seem to get increased whatsoever unless you explicitly bump the corresponding stat. The same is true of stamina and load, as well – essentially, none of the stats influence or interact with each other. It makes good enough sense, though it is a little disappointing compared to the slight yet helpful bleed-over in other games.

I am not presently aware of a level cap, though levels do require dramatically more Axions as one climbs the ranks. Thankfully, this can continue even through the New Game+ cycles, where Axion drops are adjusted upwards to facilitate this.

In terms of game balance, it starts off very tense, making you feel very weak and vulnerable, but by mid-to-late game you’re feeling more like a warrior of destiny, and depending on when you happen to encounter certain bosses, you may end up entirely steamrolling them, notably the Archon Knights I mentioned before, and, given how tricky it is to figure out how to get there, the boss of Arcology Underside’s space segment. That one in particular is a bit of a shame, as he is clearly meant to be terrifying, but the levelling and the cramped interior work against him a lot.

Storytelling and Lore (Major Spoilers)

As with most Souls-like games (with a notable exception for Darksiders 3), storytelling is pretty minimal, and almost all of the information you glean from the world is done through item descriptions, journals, and vague mentions from NPCs.

As stated previously, the initial infodump when starting a new game essentially informs you that you are some sort of android seeking to investigate a mysterious tragedy and report your findings to the being known as “the Author”. Beyond that, you’re left to your own devices to figure out what is what.

By endgame, you’ll have found enough documentation and books to have figured out that the Author knows a lot more than he’s letting on, and that the information itself isn’t important to him, but merely the existence of the information in the first place. Knowledge is power, and the Author seeks all of it in order to become an artificial god of humanity, no matter the horrific scale of the cost.

In this case, “all” means “all”, including information from other dimensions, which makes it plain the gameplay mechanic of death, which you can manipulate at two specific points in the game to alter history, is actually canon, making you one of only a few beings capable of not only traversing multiple realities without going insane, but also able to retain all of your memories and thoughts. This also, regardless of ending, ties into the New Game+ mechanic, as well, which paints a very dreary picture after you, as the player, finally understand the truth of everything and get the truest ending.

In all, it’s truly quite haunting, knowing that you may have to fight this battle for all time, or at least until you’ve traversed enough realities to drive you beyond the brink of insanity – a fate that may have befallen the so-called Prodigal Spawn, who has turned to dark magics and rogue tactics to try and change things, though towards an unknown end.

While the above summary covers the major points related to the Author and his purpose in creating the player character, there’s a lot of other lore out there too, and several NPCs, one of which you need to help in order to even get a crack at accessing the final encounters. Overall, there’s a lot more questions then answers about pretty much everything. It honestly begs for a more meaningful sequel than that presented in the demo scenario, and manages to be fascinating to think about, especially with the developers being so silent about so much.


I’ve alluded to this several times already, but multiplayer is possible, and can take one of three forms: Cooperative Internet play, cooperative local splitscreen, and competitive arena fighting. I have spent all of my time doing the former, and have never touched the arena fighting, so I unfortunately cannot comment too much on that. There do seem to be some rewards for it, implied by a unique blueprint printer being present, but I am uncertain of the full extent; it does seem that there are at least some recoloured armours.

Bugs and Oversights (Also Some Spoilers)

While most of the game is very intricately planned out, there are some notable bugs and oversights that cannot be ignored in any honest review. The multiplayer mode in particular has several unique flaws regarding the second/guest player:

Other notable mentions that affect both single and two-player games:

The game is otherwise very workable, and it’s possible to play from start to finish with two players without too much hassle, and of course with only one as well.

As far as oversights go, there are a couple:

Concluding Thoughts (Base Game)

Overall, despite its bugs and flaws, this is a game I spent over a hundred hours in this summer, replaying twice and even going partway into New Game+ just to be able to craft the new toys. I found a lot to like in it, despite being an “off-brand” title by a publisher with no experience in this genre. I’m blown away with what they managed to accomplish with such a small team and budget, and very much look forward to any potential continuations.

In the meantime, however, I really do hope that they are able to revisit it long enough to correct some of the flaws, especially the inexplicable lack of multiplayer support in the GNU/Linux builds.

If I were to assign it a letter grade in the traditional A-F system, I’d give it a solid B+, with points taken out for the bugs, lack of networking support, and lack of follow-through in some of the plot elements, especially the bit with the Council.

Blue Sun DLC (Update)

Over a year after I wrote the above review, we were unexpectedly hit with the (first? only?) DLC, entitled “Blue Sun”. This DLC and related patches fixed some bugs, introduced new ones, and most importantly, added three new zones, one new black hole “door”, five new NPCs, four bosses (one hidden), at least seventeen new enemies, tons of gear, and, of course, new obscure bits of lore.


As far as the areas themselves go, they’re actually a bit of work to find. The DLC starts once you have at least 50% data and find and speak to a specific NPC, then use a specific tear in order to “synchronise with the higher reality”. The immediate effect of doing so is to turn the sun blue, along with the compass in the appropriate places. The less immediate effect is that now, 7 doors throughout the game world are surrounded with blue energy and serve as gateways to the DLC areas. Two doors are accessible immediately and lead to separate zones, the Baths and the Prison, while the final five require a key discovered later and lead to various entry points in the final zone, the Core.

If you want to avoid defeating the gods (keeping them active increases the challenge of the final boss and gives an achievement on GOG/Steam), this in practice means you’re going to have to read every scrap of data and do everything up to nearly the point of hitting the endgame scenario. This is probably a good thing, as this is clearly meant to be a high-level DLC. This is made very obvious when entering the Prison zone in particular.

All three zones have a very unique feel and consist of several parts. The Prisons and the Baths actually have multiple distinct areas with drastic theme changes, which was very surprising, and at times feels almost unreal relative to the rest of the game. For instance, while the Baths start out normal enough, they eventually lead into a large, oddly organic underground area unlike anything seen in the base game, even the park in Alma Mater Atrium. The Prison also starts out looking normal, but then turns into what could very easily pass for a depiction of Hell (a furtherance of the Port Issoudun theme), a junkyard, and then a Space Victorian mansion. The mansion in particular further distinguishes itself by having enemies that consistently resurrect after a short period of time. The finale of the bunch, the Core, is actually the most conventional, being a long trip down and around to the centre of Irid Novo using the normal high tech aesthetic.

Disappointingly, none of the areas appear to have any real reaction to the horde hours at 3 and 9. I have thus far found precisely one area, in the baths, that reacts to the black hole hour, but there’s no markings or warnings; your only hint is that in the same general area you can see an inaccessible item taunting you, much like the fenced-in “garbage pit” in Sohn District. Curiously, instead of a firewall, this black hole causes a certain wall to change texture and type, becoming breakable in the process. I swear I’ve seen something like this before, but I can’t quite place where.

On the flip side, however, the mansion in the Prison zone actually has a puzzle unlike anything else in the game, accessible after defeating the boss. It is remarkably subtle, but completion yields an obscenely strong weapon as a reward, which is a very fair trade-off.

NPCs and Enemies

The new areas bring with them a fairly diverse cast of new characters, all of them very thematically appropriate. The spec-op commandos found in the Baths and the upper breed of Thespians found in the Prison’s decadent mansion are clearly the stars of the show, but also included are nightmarish shadow people, rogue tears, Fallout-esque scorpions, and even a beholder-like enemy, among a few others.

While the hidden boss of the Bath area definitely follows the pattern of being just a bigger version of something else, the rest of the cast is a fair bit more interesting, and everyone is overflowing with hit points, ensuring fairly lengthy confrontations. The fight in the mansion appears to have a potential gimmick to it, but I defeated that boss before I noticed, so I cannot confirm one way or another at the moment.

NPCs in this DLC are almost exclusively quest-givers, with only one being around almost purely for lore; every single one though, without exception, gives away items. The NPC who starts the DLC, notably, has very poor, grammatically-incorrect writing. He gives some lore, at least, and will react to you defeating the three major bosses by rewarding you with unique weapons. The other major lore-giving NPC is very well-hidden by the aforementioned puzzle, and rewards you not only with the weapon, but also by ending the eternal resurrection of enemies in the mansion.

The actual quest-givers tie into a new “contract” system that alters the core gameplay. I didn’t play online, so I can’t comment on the mechanics or rewards of the one that enables PVP invasions, but there are two others I know much better — one which toggles a mode wherein each successive kill makes enemies stronger (and the Axion rewards outstanding), and one that causes one of four unique enemies to spawn pretty much anywhere in the game except the Observatory. The former mode can be toggled on and off at will, and while active causes each enemy to drop a certain item that can be traded for two accessories. The latter, however, cannot be disabled, and the giver requests a sample of a “soul” from each of the four enemies in exchange for their armour. Interestingly, one can get duplicates of any set except the fourth, whichever that one may be, as he vanishes after receiving the fourth unique sample, though the enemies do not.


One thing this DLC delivers heaps of is new toys. There is, at least, thirteen sets of armour (one with seven masks available as alternatives to its headpiece), five shields, eight melee weapons, three guns, eight body mods, seven mind mods, three omnicube programs, and even an Omnicube skin for good measure. I didn’t encounter any new magical equipment, and most of the new gear was clearly focused more on Strength and Cognition builds, easing the balance since the base game seemed to favour more Dexterity and Foresight.

Notably, the shields tend to have much higher deflection ratings than anything in the base game, though you often pay for it in terms of stamina regeneration, lower stability, or the balance of damage it absorbs.

It is also very important to mention that most of the new melee weapons feature a two-handed wielding mode in a manner very similar to Dark Souls 2, including a new moveset, allowing for a higher risk/reward playstyle. Every weapon also introduces some new special moves, too; a favourite of mine was an ultra-greatsword move that summons a turret.


There is of course new lore here, for those who enjoy that sort of thing. I think one of the most fascinating parts is how it plainly describes the events of Irid Novo as being the results not merely of science, but some kind of spirituality as well. This is particularly interesting in light of what the Thespians seem to be — corrupted elites who partake in the worst that the flesh has to offer, and yet often paired with demonic-looking entities. Their equipment almost always has a Cognition requirement, the robes of the Guests of the Feast and the High Thespians especially. The alternative masks for the Feast robes also clearly depict the “Seven Deadly Sins”. The Thespians are clearly intelligent, yet not enough so to avoid the trap of being so far into their own minds that they lost sight of what is actually important in life. It’s dead sobering, really.

It’s also quite interesting how one of the four legendary heroes you’re tasked with fighting by a certain NPC, the Son, appears in the same outfit and using one of the default weapons as the unnamed protagonist of the “sequel”/demo, Thespian Feast, teasing even more connections between the two.

While those are some highlights, there’s a fair amount of other things to find and consider too, much like the base game. I know I’ve certainly spent a fair chunk of time trying to put everything together.

Bugs and Flaws

Thus far, I’ve encountered four new bugs, one that was actually somewhat beneficial, two that are seemingly unique to the Linux build, and one that is in practicality unique to the Windows build, as the Linux one seems to be still incapable of online play.

The first bug caused one of the resurrecting enemies in the Prison’s mansion segment to spawn inside of a wall (I slew him too close to a corner, apparently, pushing him in) and then immediately die, repeating indefinitely; this resulted in a staggering amount of Axions. I suppose I can’t complain too much, honestly, but it was a bit annoying given that I was attempting to farm a rare drop at the time.

On the topic of drops, it must be noted that the rate thereof is very frustratingly low, especially when it comes to the plastic cards dropped by the elite units. It takes a lot of them to forge a full set of variant armour and a weapon, but they seem to be among the rarest drops in the game for some reason.

The second and third bugs, which didn’t occur when I played on Windows, were bugs of instability. Going from a DLC area to a non-DLC area, or vice-versa, resulted in a crash about 50% of the time; this never happened going between sections in the same zone, and never happened in non-DLC zones. I have heard some complaints that suggest this happens on Windows, too, but I never experienced it.

The other bug of instability occurred when fighting the final boss of the DLC; the game invariably crashed partway through the fight with no obvious trigger. I had to switch to Windows specifically to complete this part. If I were to hazard a guess, it may have been related to either particles from the two magic staves I was using in conjunction with each other (to try to determine if there were any obvious elemental weaknesses), but this caused no problems in the Windows build.

Given how easy it should have been to catch, the fourth bug is far more jaw-dropping than even those, however — I found that, upon investigating any yellow hint hand while playing online (in Windows, not via any emulation layer), that the control scheme would be permanently stuck in “reading” mode, even after dismissing the message. This made it impossible to do anything, even access a menu, unless I first killed the character via fall damage or terminated the program. I don’t know if I’m the only one who has encountered the hand issue, but I do hope it gets patched. I noticed one additional patch was issued after I started playing, and it was that patch where I saw the hand issue.

Despite these issues, the game remained otherwise playable on both platforms, though at present I must conclude it’s unbeatable on Linux.

Concluding Thoughts (DLC)

My impression of this DLC is an overall positive one, and that it was more or less worth the wait. The aforementioned stability bugs, and the continued neglect of the Linux experience, both locally and over the Internet, are very big downers, however, and badly in need of correcting, along with the bizarre and wholly unprofessional grammatical errors in the opening NPC speech.

Despite these issues, I think it adds a welcome bit of equipment variety, interesting locales, and the closest thing to a post-game that we’re likely to get.

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