If the whole world turned into a living hell right now, would you give in or would you fight for your own survival?
How far would you be willing to go if it guaranteed you'd remain alive?
When everyone and everything is out to kill you, the only option is SURVIVAL.
About the Game
Developed by Strelka Games and Yonder, and published by A List Games, Hell is Others (HiO) is the latest hit from the 3 companies, and it's one sure to cause some noise in the gaming community. The game is technically a survival horror PvPvE, top-down shooter that's been compared to other games such as Escape from Tarkov and Darkwood. From personal experience, I can say it's more comparable to 7 Days to Die but the mechanisms inside this game are something that sets it completely apart from other possibly similar games.
To better understand what I'm talking about, let's start with a bit of the background story we will encounter in HiO. Soon after we begin, we discover that we are playing a character named Adam Smithson. Adam lives in an apartment complex in Century City, a city with no comparison. In fact, Century City is no regular place. Here it appears to always be nighttime and there seems to be some sort of monsters, almost ghoulish type of entities roaming all around the map, which won't hesitate for a mere second to kill you off and wipe you clean. Your mission is to gather items, and survive the hell outside both physically and mentally.
One day, while resting in his apartment, someone knocks at his door, he then opens it to discover a bonsai tree with a note on it asking him to care for it over the next 10 days and this is how our story begins. After the bizarre gift, Adam learns that this is no ordinary bonsai since to water it, you need to acquire blood. If that wasn't psychodelic enough, bullets, or wild bullets are grown on plants. Yes, plants are your source for bullets. Sooner after, we get tasked with our first mission down in the city were we must gather health items, bullets, weapons and other loot before running for survival.
Once in the city, a countdown begins and you only have a specific amount of time to get as many items as you can possibly carry and make it back to the apartment alive. After you complete the first mission, you'll be able to earn some money by selling goods. Pay close attention as the items you can sell change depending on the day of the week. One trick I learned and established early on, when your inventory is still very limited was to search around a specified area of the map and see the highest tradable items in that area and only get the ones with the best payout.
Remember, you need to be very careful as you are not only going to face game enemies but also other players. At the beginning, this can make the matches seem difficult and if you die, you lose everything you were carrying during that round. One awesome yet disturbing mechanic is sight. In HiO, you can only see what is literally in your range of vision, meaning that if there are enemies lurking around the map but not directly in front of you, you won't see them. As a way to deal with this, Adam has some sort of sensor, which I believe relates to hearing that lets you know when an enemy is closing in and from which side it's coming.
Before you head into Century City
Here are some of the more important things to remember when playing HiO:
- As you begin learning the map, plan accordingly. It's always important to get tradable goods but surviving is more important. If you feel like you must choose, pick health and weapons.
- Use the first stages to get used to how shooting works. If you encounter other players, run as your current gun isn't strong enough to deal a good amount of damage to them.
- After level 3 approximately, you'll begin unlocking shops around the map. Prioritize these missions as they will help you acquire better weapons, storage, bullet combinations and healing items.
- You can and will need to customize bullets. Usually this means you'd need to pick up certain items that the enemies drop after you kill them. Remember where the bullets usually come from, right? Well then, time to grow some bad-ass bullets!
- Your apartment isn't only the place you sleep in, it's also your storage and "safe haven". As soon as you are able to unlock furniture, increase your storage space and make your room bigger.
- Around the map, you'll find pills. Use them wisely as they raise some attributes but lower others.
Pros & Cons
- The first levels help you get accustomed to the map, shooting mechanisms and the means to survive. Take it as an extended tutorial phase, which is something I considered very good given the nature of the game.
- While it may not seem that way, sounds and visuals are perfectly synced and create an atmosphere of tension all around our character.
- Some may not like it but the fact that matches are timed is one of the best things about this game. You need to plan accordingly because the time flies by once you're in the city.
- Upgrades and customization in HiO rock. Not only are you able to buy weapons, or get them from the others you've killed but as I already mentioned, you can make custom bullets that help you be almost untouchable... almost.
- Multiplayer matches can take a while to connect and there are no solo campaigns which could discourage some players from trying the game.
- Basically, when you die you're screwed because you lose everything you had with you. Until you get sufficient storage, this will be a real pain, especially if you already had a good weapon and died. I wish there was some sort of insurance, like in Tarkov or in Lost Light.
- While some things around the map change periodically, the map is essentially the same, which could result in some players getting bored.
(On a scale of 1-5, being 5 the absolute best)
HiO is a magnificent game with a combination in art styles that's both sublime and out-of-this-world. In general context, it reminds me of a Lovecraftian apocalypse with a heavy dose of lore. The characters are great, the story is spectacular and the sounds are simply heavenly, or should I say infernal. Definitely has some subtle horror elements, especially those random surprise attacks from the wall demons that made me jump quite a bit. The game plays surprisingly well and at least I didn't suffer any lags or connection problems.
My main problems with the game were: the lack of any type of insurance since storage feels like it becomes upgradable way too late, and looking for players which took a while. Loved the game, I truly did but it's a bummer that all real action begins a bit later on as you progress and level up. This doesn't mean that the first levels are easy peasy or boring. I died a good couple of times before setting a smart survival plan, so keep your eyes open.
One final recommendation, if I may... at first it may seem like you're not progressing much or that you're dying way too much, don't despair, give it time and save those roaches (trust me on this one). In HiO, survival is key. The game (and players) will test your reaction times, your aim and your stamina. Trust nobody, and learn to pick your battles, before they pick you.
If you dare, don't miss my awful (and shameful) run through the first day by clicking here!
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For more info, visit Hell is Others