Welcome to another edition of “Horror Hoedown Showdown.” Today we’ll be reviewing The Haunted: Hell’s Reach. I’ve been meaning to give this game a go for a while, but there’s been a lot on my plate. I finally decided to play it last night with my brother. Let’s get started.
The premise of The Haunted is simple: zombie/demon survival game. Multiplayer is stressed in this game; up to 4 players can team up and fight off the demon horde. There’s “Survival” mode, which is your standard survive as long as you can until everyone dies. There’s also “Inferno” mode, which is survival mode with the ability to respawn. There are 4 “waves” you must survive. Upon doing so, you are sent to Hell where you must face off against a giant ass demon. So far, I haven’t been able to beat the fucker. There are also competitive modes as well. “Battle” mode pits two teams of 4 against one another; it’s the humans vs. the demons. In “Demonizer” mode, 4 players start off as humans, but when they die, they turn into a demon. However, if you kill a human player, you can return to being a human while that player becomes a demon. You can play any of these modes on 1 of 8 maps, which each have secret weapons and items. Each map also has special events unique to that map.
Moar on the gameplay. The Haunted runs on Unreal Engine 3 so you know what kind of mechanics to expect. You play in the 3rd person perspective and can both shoot guns and perform melee attacks. There are three classes of guns: pistol, shotgun, and machine gun. There’s also a melee weapon. You start off with a basic weapon of each class. Each weapon can be upgraded when you accumulate enough experience points, which are obviously earned by killing demons. There are numerous multipliers that can up the amount of experience points you get, such as killstreaks and not taking any damage. Once you get enough experience points, the next enemy you kill will drop a box that you can use to upgrade one of your weapons. My brother and I thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with all the weapons. He preferred to upgrade his melee weapon while I went with shotguns and pistols. I should note that armored enemies required a melee attack first to strip them of said armor before blasting them to kingdom come. I relied on my brother a lot for this XD. The last melee weapon upgrade was an awesome blender looking thing, which spun zombies around before ripping them to shreds. Needless to say, this was pretty hilarious to see in action.
However, weapons weren’t the only ways to fight; you also had your good ole fists. Although less effective then weapons, the ability to punch and kick was a nice change of pace then the standard “aim or shoot” (or in my brother’s case, aim and blend). The animations for the hand-to-hand combat were very nice; it was pretty awesome watching my character run and perform a jump kick, then proceed into a ground pound followed by a kicking frenzy. Once you beat up a demon a fair amount, you must finish them off with a crushing blow, which are also very cool. If you continue to melee an enemy whose ready to be finished off, it’ll enter “rage” mode, which basically amplifies that particular enemy’s power (fire breathing ones become twice as dangerous, just ask my brother). Of course enemies can enter “rage” mode on their own, and it’s best to focus those down first.
Player movement is also top notch and fun to watch. Thank goodness, because you’ll be doing a lot of moving around. This isn’t just a game where you can camp a corner and blast away. You’ll be constantly running, jumping, rolling, and sliding your way across the large maps once the enemies become diverse and many. It’s very parkour like.
There are also special stones that spawn on the map at times, which require players to go and fetch them as the enemies can pick them up. These include “Health” stones, “Chrono” stones, and “Redemption” stones. “Chrono” stones, if captured by the enemy, cause adverse environment events (mentioned earlier). Examples include a heavy fog, which obscures vision, or collapsing rocks in the mine level. When a player dies, you must go to their “Redemption” stone to free them. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to have an enemy capture my brother’s “Redemption” stone; I would have to chase this one particular fucker around to free my brother, and at later waves when there were a shitload of dangerous enemies around, it wasn’t very fun.
Graphically speaking, the game isn’t the prettiest, but when I’m playing I’m moar concerned about living then what the environment look like. The 4 human characters are plain; they look like typical rugged cowboys. They all have entertaining dialogue though; I enjoyed the black dude’s dialogue the most. He sounded a lot like Chef from South Park. Just imagine Chef saying, “The Lord send you on your way!” or something like that (can’t remember exactly what the character said). Meanwhile, all the demons are pretty well designed; each one was unique and could be easily spotted in a crowd.
Overall, The Haunted is an extremely enjoyable multiplayer survival experience. I had a blast playing with just one other person, and I hope I can get a full group of 4 in the future to take down that damn Boss demon. There’s plenty to kill and plenty of ways to kill, so you’ll be coming back for moar. And with promised free future updates and DLC, the fun isn’t going to end anytime soon.
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