Available On: PC
Developer: Zero Gravity
Publisher: Zero Gravity
Genre: First-Person Online Survival
Official Site: www.playhellion.com
Release Date: Feb 24, 2017
Where To Buy: Steam
After the….experience that was No Man’s Sky, the concept of space-based games with no clear end or objective has left a fairly bad taste in my mouth. While the overall idea is interesting, the practicality of a game like this seems out of reach or uncompelling. Combine that with my struggle with survival games and their inability to keep me interested, and it doesn’t exactly bode well for a game that describes itself as an online survival game set in space. And while it has some great things working for it, Hellion‘s early access still has some overarching issues to amend before a final game release.
Hellion is a first-person survival game created by Zero Gravity studios set in a galaxy light years away from ours. Centuries ahead of our current year, a mission was set to find a new place for life to strive, and a large ship with cryostasis pods full of potential explorers made its way to a new star called Hellion. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown at the start, this mission became a catastrophic failure, leaving all of those stuck in stasis to fend for themselves in this rough and empty terrain. You play one of these people, starting your journey by stepping out of your cryo chamber and into an escape shuttle. From there, it’s up to you to determine your next step, discover the story, and stay alive in this unknown galaxy.
This game has one major thing going for it above all else- realism. The painstaking detail put into every aspect of the scientific aspect of this space circumstance is actually sort of a marvel. Gravity feels uncontrolled and difficult to navigate, even with the jetpack. The jetpack itself requires you to use momentum and careful focus to get to where you want to go. The replacement of parts on your station and ship requires you to constantly make sure you don’t burn their usage and send your ship into a stasis. In order for you to dock your ship to a station or enter it yourself from space requires you to depressurize the chamber or lose all of that oxygen. Each aspect of this makes this game feel like an actual space simulation, with all of the details that require attention that you’d expect.
At its core, this game is still a survival game, meaning you have to pay attention to your resources of power and oxygen. Fortunately, Hellion makes this process feel both important to your survival while also not seeming too terribly imposing. As you’ll probably die a few times when you first start, you quickly realize the different resources that need to be monitored and how quickly they can go away before you get some better equipment. It’s also an online game, so you can bring in some friends to help your chances, but at the cost of having to focus even more on your resources to make sure you both don’t run out of oxygen and die.
Unfortunately, at this point, that is all the good things I can say about the game because it still has some major problems. The first of these is that the difficulty barrier for newcomers, which is relatively everyone at this point, it massive. As you show up on a shuttle at the beginning, you’ll quickly find a lot of things you can grab with absolutely no idea how to use them. There’s no tutorial or walkthrough of fixing your shuttle up, and one wrong move can jettison yourself into space and force a restart. It took me three deaths before I had to go look up a video to see what I was doing wrong, only to find that there was no real explanation other than guessing to fix my issues.
On top of this, the menus are incredibly irritating to navigate, forcing you to drag and drop each of your things into your hands to use them rather than being able to toggle them. Also, when you actually get access to guns and ammo, keeping them in your hands is a problem since every door you have to open puts your weapon away, making PvP battles to already have a massive disadvantage. Above this, the game still feels very early access. You’ll notice this most when you play with a friend, as watching their character walk around is glitched and broken beyond the norm, as they’ll bounce off walls and phase through the floor.
While I appreciate the realism of the experience, the game still has a long, long way to go before it should hit your hands. Without a patch for the glitched aspects and an actual tutorial to guide you at first, this game just feels way too far out of reach for anyone to pick up and feel comfortable in. If you’re interested in a realistic space game, keep an eye on it and wait for patch notes. Otherwise, I’m sure No Man’s Sky is just about as good of a purchase.
- "Play Your Way" to the fullest experience
- Interesting and compelling story
- A large amount of customization
- Clunky combat
- Constantly respawning enemies deters exploration
- Occasional glitches