It’s no doubt that when you think of Hellboy, you think of the movies with Ron Perlman at the helm. I think he perfected the character like no one has ever done. Since being introduced nearly three decades ago, the movies have made fans of many who would have never met the character. I certainly am in that camp and am thankful to have been introduced, as it led me to expand my horizons within the universe built around Hellboy.
So when a game was revealed last year that Mike Mignola’s comic would be adapted into a video game, it was a mild shock that we didn’t have anything to compare it to (cameo in Injustice 2 aside). How does the series translate into a medium? Well, mostly well, but with some issues along the way. Thankfully, there’s a solid base to build a sequel, but that’s a discussion for another time. For now, Hellboy Web of Wyrd has landed, and it’s a great first introduction.
Get Weird With Hellboy
You’ll first notice how easily the comic’s animation translates into a video game, providing something genuine and entertaining. If you’ve ever read any of the Hellboy comics, you’ll see how it feels like a comic book brought to life and is gloomy, dire, and precisely what you’d want from the property. That’s about when and where things go off the rails, as the gameplay, which utilizes a roguelike style to tell its story, quickly becomes repetitive despite having moments of brilliance.
Hellboy Web of Wyrd is set in the titular universe filled with various dangers. Our protagonist (voiced by the late Lance Reddick) is tasked with investigating by the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. The Wyrd is somehow tied to The Butterfly House, a place built by an occultist years ago and is where the Wyrd is accessible. So, together with allies, they set up camp and begin learning the truth of this place that’s mysteriously appeared.
Most of your time is spent in the Wyrd, a place perfectly suitable for a roguelike game as it continually spawns challenges and rooms with requirements to move on. Each room you navigate includes a mix of puzzles, enemies, and more, and you’ll need to acquire skills to proceed. With help from the BRPD, Hellboy investigates the Wyrd, and together, they piece the dimension’s history. The location can be confusing at times, and each section is Mediterranean-themed, with several vital places tying into the narrative presented to the player. The gameplay loop is fun as you mostly enter a room and then deliver much punishment to those who cross your path. If you’ve ever played Hadesor something of its kind, you will be home in the Wyrd.
Rotten eggs and the safety of mankind
Combat can be satisfying while at the same time feeling clunky. It is inherently simple, given that Hellboy is not the most agile brawler and prefers to brute his way through encounters. I was pretty quick to figure out the system’s rhythm quickly, and delivering some punishment is satisfying to a fault, the fault being that it rapidly asks you to focus on heavy and light attacks against enemies. To wear enemies down, you need to pummel them with heavy and light attacks, and it looks and feels great to deal out damage. You can also time dodges and blocks to prevent incoming hazards, but these systems are so oddly placed that they barely think relevant, given you’re playing as Hellboy, a nigh unbreakable demon. Enemies are also relatively quick to tell you what to expect from them, so it’s easy to see that a swipe or punch is imminent, and you’ll have time to get out of harm’s way. Simply put, there isn’t much challenge available.
I noticed Hellboy Web of Wyrd is front-loaded with content because a lot of what you’re shown at the start is the most exciting element of the overall experience. Rooms eventually become more extensive; you’ll have to return to some sections, and later units provide more of the same but in more significant areas. It hurts the flow and quickly devolves into a chore that leaves you wishing to move on as soon as possible. Every fun run, you can upgrade to better abilities that tie into your offensive and defensive skills, and I appreciate those additions. Still, it’s hard not to feel powerful or capable when facing a character like Hellboy. Sure, the idea is that these inclusions make for great discussions, yet at the end of the day, you’re playing as a nearly impervious character.
Hellboy Web of Wyrd starts strong but quickly falters in delivering an experience worth remembering. While the distinct comic art style translates beautifully from page to screen, the roguelite elements fall flat. Combat features moments of brilliance and offers some punchy sections that hold the experience together as you move from room to room in Wyrd, trying to piece together a supernatural situation.
[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: PC
Review: Hellboy Web of Wyrd
Hellboy Web of Wyrd has the skeleton to improve in a sequel but it suffers at times despite having fun combat and sometimes fun roguelite elements.
Successfully delivers a true to the comics style to your screen