Hellpoint – Blue Sun

This is about as classic a dlc as you’ll ever get these days, Blue Sun is effectively just an expansion of the game world; whether that is a good or bad thing is hard to say.

Blue Sun adds three large new zones to the world, there’s no hint to where to start these areas and I don’t think anyone’s going to naturally find them and look back and say ‘oh, I get the hints now’. There’s nothing, just explore or look it up online after this guy vaguely tempts you with a promise of power being your own introduction.

This means, right out the gate, you’re met with a frustration that is not necessary, doesn’t add anything doesn’t create some mystery or puzzle. It’s just annoying, and that doesn’t stop there.

Playing coop, we first went to a semi vertical prison zone of pitch black cargo crates full of enemies and corridors that all look the same. Lacking memorable landmarks, the area became mostly a forgettable blur of dark and red. While navigation is quite unpleasant, it’s far from the worst part of the first area.

Unfortunately, most of the major issues I found with the game years ago are still there, and if you haven’t played the game already check that review out as it goes into more extensive detail, but I will go over some of those flaws again that were particularly bothersome here.

Namely,  jumping. Souls games have often had questionable platforming at best, and with that knowledge have decided to keep any such things minimal to reach rare rewards. This game lacks that awareness, I’d even say you spend as much time platforming as fighting things, and it’s absolutely far more deadly. We did not die once in combat this dlc, but falling to our deaths was absolutely common. Hellpoint has a massive issue with momentum. If you’re moving a bit too fast when you go to drop down to a ledge below you go hurtling into a pit, if you hit a stair or the edge of a wall while jumping it’ll stop just enough of your momentum to make a jump impossible, while keeping enough to ensure you fall off the edge. You constantly have to make running jumps off thin walkways to the side, forcing you to run then make a ninety degree turn and jump. There’s a little bit of extra slide after moving, like you’re in socks on a kitchen floor coated in butter.

Yet, the horrid jumping which is far too prevalent is as a breeze to a monsoon compared to this game’s true killer. Give me a room packed with ranged casters and tankish brutes, give me a boss which summons endless adds, but never again subject me to the gut wrenching terror of coming across the cosmic horror of Hellpoint known as the ladder.

It’s very hard to explain just how hard to use these things are, but I can safely say they’re my number one cause of death and the closest I got to giving up on the game entirely.

Beyond control issues, many previous bugs also remain; in coop enemies killed by your partner sometimes don’t die, we actually ended up with one enemy just endlessly respawning, we had about one game crash or disconnect per hour we played, there’s still inconsistent rules about falling damage and where your souls drop, and we ended up with a pink snow visual glitch for a while at one point.

And bosses STILL only aggro on the host during coop, YEARS after I reviewed the initial release, which is unbelievable as this game is otherwise at its best with coop, but makes bosses trivial in coop.

I will admit, the DLC gave me an initial negative view with the first area, but on further exploration every other zone was considerably better, such as a gruesome and gory mansion filled with some of the coolest foes in the game. I would say overall, the DLC averages to what the rest of the game does, with an unfortunately bad first impression. There are some nice new visuals in terms of gear, locales and foes, but to be honest if this had been in the game since launch these areas could easily be considered just more zones in the game.

This makes this a very simple recommendation. To put it simply, if you are playing through the game or have finished it and are looking for more, this is an extremely easy buy. At about a dollar per hour of playtime, and with reliably similar content, you know exactly what you are getting and I think this is a decent enough game to play with a friend. Of course, if you feel sated by the first playthrough, or simply didn’t enjoy it, the DLC isn’t going to make you want to play more, and the repeat of the most glaring issues of the main release only feels worse here, to the point where I view this a bit less favourably despite still seeming like a game that has a lot of potential. This is a game I wanted to enjoy more than I did.

~~Alex Cumming~~

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