Published on November 9th, 2023 | by Chris O'Connor
Hellboy Web of Wyrd PC Review
Summary: A great opportunity fumbles in the dark.
I love Hellboy, the character and the universe he inhabits, so the chance to play a Hellboy game was obviously too good an opportunity to pass up.
Visually the game hits the right notes, that unmistakable Mignola style is on full display and the cell shading works quite well at keeping things feeling like they are a moving comic. The locations do start to feel a bit repetitive after a while however and that drags things down a little… but that’s the least of the issues here.
I really wanted to love this game, the concept seemed great and obviously on first impression it seems like it’s got the right idea. But the biggest issue is in the execution.
The camera control is pretty horrible… not the worst… but certainly not what you want when you want to feel immersed in a game. Despite there being a target lock option… I often found the camera swinging around during battles and generally getting in the way rather than bringing me into the world. Speaking of those battles… they tend to feel very cut and paste after a while. Typically you will enter an area and be faced with a few small enemies and one to a few larger enemies. You can more or less ignore the smaller ones as once you defeat the larger ones, the smaller ones disappear anyway (plus they don’t do that much damage). I played with both mouse and keyboard and controller and both were similar… just not exactly what I’d call fun.
The voice acting is however quite good, though for me personally I don’t think the late Lance Reddick’s voice suits Hellboy… but that is a personal taste thing. There are plenty of conversations to have with B.P.R.D. personnel in the butterfly house/hub that provide a nice bit of story and may be worth the play time for those who enjoy the story telling enough to get past the gameplay.
But let’s talk about perhaps the most frustrating element of the game. The default keys! When using keyboard, the majority of your keys are focused around AWSD as you would expect… but for some reason backspace is chosen for acknowledging messages etc. Originally to exit the game you had to press p (for pause) to bring up the exit menu… but it looks like that may have been fixed in a patch. But that camera… it seems to have an auto snap set so when you are trying to get a look at your surroundings it will quickly snap you back to looking straight ahead… very frustrating. The lock on target should probably mention “press and hold” or perhaps I wasn’t doing it right but pressing once did not keep a lock on my target whilst holding it did (perhaps I’m being pedantic… but if you are giving instructions it helps to be as accurate as possible).
There are upgrades and items you can use but ultimately it still ends up coming down to punching enemies as hard as you can as often as you have to. Hugely disappointing game. I can kind of see what they were trying to do and as a small developer still finding their feet I guess it’s a decent effort… but why you’d default to keys that are not the standard is beyond me.
Unless you are the hardest of hardcore Hellboy fan and just have to soak up any source of story from anywhere you can… I’d give this a big miss. I’m still hoping for the day that Hellboy is picked up as an episodic show (like The Witcher), I think that would be a fantastic format to see our favourite big red hero!