Hellboy: Web Of Wyrd Review - A Way With Wyrds
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Hellboy: Web Of Wyrd Review - A Way With Wyrds

With his giant red fist, oversized pistol, iconic character design, and a menagerie of mythical foes, it's surprising there haven't been more Hellboy games. The two that exist aren't remembered fondly (and that's putting it lightly,) but it's still somewhat shocking that it's taken 15 years for a new game starring Big Red to show up. Enter Hellboy: Web of Wyrd, a game that's surprising even beyond its mere existence. Rather than taking what might be considered the "safe" route and developing a simple action-adventure game, British studio Upstream Arcade has instead created a roguelite built on a foundation of weighty, methodical combat. The risk doesn't entirely pay off, resulting in a slightly uneven experience. Yet for anyone clamoring for a decent Hellboy at the very least, Web of Wyrd ticks most of the right boxes.

This all begins with the game's visuals, which successfully emulate Mike Mignola's art style in stunning cel-shaded 3D. It's so faithful to the original comics, in fact, that each frame could be a panel in itself. Striking colors contrast against deep black shadows, where characters and environments appear as though they've been boldly sculpted by thickly painted outlines, achieving the comic book's signature look. When squaring up against a salivating werewolf, it's as if Hellboy's battle with William Grenier in The Wolves of Saint August has leapt off the page. Every moment of Web of Wyrd is a Mignola art piece brought to life, and it's evident Upstream Arcade has a lot of reverence for the source material--a feeling that also extends to the rest of the game.

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Take Web of Wyrd's roguelite structure as an example--a decision informed by Hellboy's near-invulnerability. It takes an awful lot to kill Hellboy, so when your health reaches zero, rather than dying and resetting at the start of the game for some contrived reason, this snaps the tether connecting you to the Wyrd, sending Hellboy hurtling back into the real world. The Wyrd is a nightmarish dimension that can only be accessed via the mysterious Butterfly House. When this titular dimension starts impacting our reality in locations across the globe, Hellboy and the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence utilize the Butterfly House as a staging ground before embarking on missions within the procedurally generated realms of the Wyrd. From this outpost, you're able to talk to other B.P.R.D. agents, gear up for your next descent, and spend resources on various upgrades to either improve your equipment or Hellboy's physical attributes.

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