Hellboy: The Science of Evil Xbox 360
Published by: Konami
Developed by: Krome Studios
Release Date: Out Now
You could say it's the ideal time to release a game that offers something a little different; a chance for a game to really shine and not get lost in the horde of quality titles that usually arrive from September through November. Hellboy: The Science of Evil is a game that in theory should have been a game worthy of most gamers' attentions but the end result is more than a little disappointing. The game has too many areas that just aren't up to scratch and even the most ardent fans of the "World's Greatest Paranormal Investigator" can't be happy with how the game has turned out.
Hellboy: The Science of Evil is essentially a mass combat action game which seems to require endless amounts of button bashing in order to defeat a variety of ungodly enemies. The first problem you'll notice is the storyline, or rather the lack of it. The game plays out over six chapters and prior to each one you'll receive a minimal amount of dialogue that is so brief it barely serves any purpose at all. According to the game's official website, the game is about defeating the 'crazed Hermann Von Klempt before he can exert his evil will upon earth.' Once you jump into the game it becomes obvious that no real storyline has been applied and it's simply a case of going through each of the six chapters and defeating all of the enemies that stand between you and the end of the chapter. The environments change and so do the enemies but little else does and it's highly repetitive and often tedious.
We certainly aren't adverse to mass combat action games provided the combat system is of a reasonable quality but that isn't the case here. You'll find yourself hammering the X button a lot for the simple reason that's it is far more effective than it should be. There is a basic combo system here but it's of little consequence when simple button bashing usually gets the job done. Slam attacks help you to regain health, so you'll want to make use of these on occasion (if only to fill your health meter), and there are other moves at your disposal but you'll rarely need to use them. The AI enemies aren't particularly challenging however and it's of no surprise that there are no real defensive moves on offer although there are a few evasive manoeuvres at your disposal. The only real difficulty comes from the amount of enemies you have to deal with at times and not from the enemies' battle proficiency. Even the boss fights are much easier than they should be. The game allows another player to join in (either in a local or Xbox Live multiplayer game) but whilst this should be a welcome feature, it makes the game even less of a challenge. Hellboy has access to a gun and during the course of the game you will find a variety of different ammo types. He can use a variety of objects as weapons and there's even a Hell mode that's activated by pressing down on the two analogue sticks (which serves to make your attacks temporarily stronger) but it's not enough to prevent the combat from being dull.
Visually, Hellboy certainly isn't anything to write home about. The character model for Hellboy looks quite good but most of the enemy character models actually look quite basic. Most of the environments you'll find yourself in are certainly nothing special and certainly don't push the capabilities of the Xbox 360 hardware. Of course looks aren't everything and had the game been up to scratch then there would be few complaints. However, what will really irk most gamers are the camera angles which are just plain infuriating. All too often the camera seems to go astray and you're left with an unsatisfactory view of the action. Normally, in a game of this nature, this would represent a major problem but thanks to the rather easy nature of the game it's not a serious issue.
Hellboy is subtitled but the subtitles aren't enabled by default. For some reason even if you enable the subtitles before starting a game they still won't be enabled. We found that you have to begin a new game, press the start button as soon as you are able to and then enable the subtitles from the menu. This seems a silly way of going about things but thankfully you'll only miss a few, non-important, words of speech before you are able to enable the subtitles. The game's subtitles are displayed on a dark overlay making them easy to see at all times. The subtitles don't have any character names or portraits placed next to them however. Tutorial messages are given in text. A memory card icon appears to show you when the game has auto-saved your progress. Your goals are shown in text and you can recall them at any time by pressing the start button and selecting Mission Status from the menu. There is no mini-map to show you that enemies, which are audible, are still present which is annoying as you frequently have to clear all of the enemies in an area before you can move on. There are also no directional arcs to show you from which direction projectiles are coming from and this only serves to add to the frustration.
Given the popularity of the Hellboy comic book it's rather a shame that Hellboy: The Science of Evil is so disappointing. Even the online and offline support for two-player co-op play does nothing to help improve the game's appeal. The game doesn't hit the mark on any level and it's tough to recommend, even to the most enthusiastic Hellboy fans. A mediocre storyline, a simplistic combat system, unchallenging enemies, poor camera angles and disappointing visuals are just some of the reasons why Hellboy: The Science of Evil is a game that is destined to be soon forgotten.