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Hellbreach: Vegas – Putting everything on red

Waking up after a night out in Vegas can make you feel like a zombie

It’s in a very early state, but Hellbreach: Vegas is a fun little horde shooter.

Before Warzone was the hotness, Call of Duty Zombies was all the rage. Horde survival with unlockable parts of the map, weapons available for purchase, and even secret ways to complete the stages meant players had plenty to enjoy in their group. Hellbreach: Vegas seeks to bring some of that fun back and is in a good state considering the build I’ve played is pre-Early Access. It’s even more impressive considering it’s a one-man team making it. Whilst it’s a bit bare bones at the moment, there’s a lot of potential for a fun co-op shooter.

If there’s a story to HellBreach: Vegas, I haven’t found it. Suffice to say, you’re in Las Vegas and there’s a demon apocalypse and all that’s left to kill is kill as many of the monsters as possible before you inevitable demise. Perhaps there will be some story-telling in the Early Access or full release, but as it stands this is simply framing.

From a mechanical standpoint, this is very similar to Call of Duty Zombies. You start in a small environment with a basic weapon as monsters spawn in. Killing them completes the round and earns you money you can use to buy weapons and perks lying around. Rounds keep increasing in difficulty, with more enemies as well as more powerful variants until you are eventually overrun. Some monsters will drop poker chips that can be used to unlock more areas of the map, giving you more room to manoeuvre as well as access to more weapons, but also more methods of ingress for the enemy. That’s about it, as unless you set a round limit, the game keeps going until you’re all dead.

Hellbreach: Vegas
Things can get pretty tough late on, but getting a powerful weapon in early rounds is a big help.

The shooting itself is actually quite solid. Weapons feel impactful, at least at first, and headshots are suitably satisfying to pull off, with demonic heads exploding and you getting a cash bonus. Weapon variety is good enough, including your usual array of pistols, shotguns, and automatic weapons, but after around ten rounds these feel less and less effective. Perks can help give you increased damage and resilience, but you’re often better off putting your money into the random weapon machine to get one of the power weapons. Tools like the minigun and the laser blaster – called the Hellrayzer – make short work of most targets and are really quite necessary in later rounds. There are melee weapons too, but letting too many monsters get close is a bit risky to make them all that viable, as your health can be shredded away quickly on higher rounds and difficulty levels.

Once you’re at this point though, the game kind of feels over as you keep going until death. By the tenth round you’ll likely have the weapons you’re happy with and will have unlocked most, if not all, the doors using the poker chips meaning there isn’t much left to do. The money you earn for kills just goes into ammo and grenade refills, and extra poker chips are used to buy cosmetics once your game is done. There are a lot of cosmetics to spend those on at least, with plenty of weapon skins and a few hats for characters. Hopefully, the maps will be a bit more expansive or have more content in them once the final release hits.

Enemies could do with a bit more visual differences too. Pretty much every monster is a humanoid with red glowing bits on them. Some are bigger and act like a Tank, to use the Left 4 Dead archetype, so they stand out a little, whilst Bloater-style ones appear bit and green. Other special types kind of blend in. Explosive ones are a bit more red than the normal types, and deadly Hunters look exactly the same aside from bladed limbs. This can make picking out priority targets a bit of an issue when things get messy. At least the bird enemies look somewhat unique.

Hellbreach: Vegas
The environments are nice and colourful, but somewhat dark, which is quite fitting for Vegas.

Beyond that, the visuals are quite good. Lots of exploding heads and explosions going off, although those explosions feel somewhat anaemic in the damage department. Guns are big and chunky and the casinos you run around in look great with all the neon lights glowing throughout them. Don’t look too closely at buildings and so forth in the distance though, as they’re much lower quality and seem to move in odd ways as you do. It’s harsh to criticise at this stage though, as I imagine these are very much placeholders. The sounds are good as well, especially with the weapons having good, meaty effects to them as you pull the trigger. I could do without the odd taunting comments at the start of each round though.

As it stands, Hellbreach: Vegas is in a good place to get somewhere once it enters Early Access and beyond. Obviously, this will be more fun in a squad of four players — I was playing solo during one of the play tests with one or two others who had codes, but I imagine with a group of friends this will be pretty fun. Going solo is an option, and the game scales to the player count, but it’s certainly better with a team. It will be interesting to see how this develops over time, and will likely be worth a look given that the Early Access price will be under £10.

Hellbreach: Vegas is due to enter Early Access on PC in March.

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