HeXen II (PC) Review

By Ofisil 31.08.2017

Review for HeXen II on PC

The Serpent Riders "series" hasn't been the luckiest one. It started with the fantastic Heretic, which, despite its extreme similarity (or, maybe, because of it) with Doom, managed to stick in the minds of FPS fans as a fantastic addition to the genre - but then came HeXen, which, although surely made some pretty bold moves to differentiate itself from most shooters, the end result was subpar. What about its relatively forgotten sequel, though? Was it a fantastic title that just got lost under Quake's shadow, or are there deeper reasons behind its disappearance? Cubed3 decides to take a look back at the now 20 years old HeXen II.

While not as old as the FPS games of the Doom era, HeXen II treats its plot in pretty much the same way. In other words, the plot is nothing more than a few paragraphs, which act as the curtain one must move aside in order to carry on to the next chapter. Yes, like Heretic, this is all about the action. Unfortunately, this is basically HeXen with the Quake engine painting its dark, medieval fantasy world… and it has lost its charm throughout the years.

Screenshot for HeXen II on PC

Simply put, the transition to full 3D might have looked great back then, but, just like many of those old "pioneers," it just couldn't compare with the far more detailed 2D visuals, which basically means that HeXen actually looks better than its sequel. That isn't to say that this is ugly or anything, as its dark fantasy medieval world, and especially its very first chapter, can look quite cool at times - it's just that it cannot compare with its predecessor or the far more polished Quake.

Furthermore, and besides the fact that running this on modern systems is an annoying chore (to say the least), the lack of finesse continues in the gameplay portion of Hexen II - again, especially when compared to the much smoother Quake. To put it simply, while not broken, the controls will make you feel like a hovercraft instead of a human being, and like a rock when jumping.

Screenshot for HeXen II on PC

Finding something to kill becomes almost of a rarity this time around, although the game makes up for the enemies' small numbers with them being a bit harder. Once again, however, the fighting is not the main dish here, as each area requires about 5-10 minutes to slay anything that moves, and then 30-60 minutes to find where the heck to go! This means that, although there are four unique heroes to choose from, ranging from warriors and paladins, to wizards and stealthy assassins, it all boils down to searching for keys.

Screenshot for HeXen II on PC

Run around in order to find X, then go back to use it in Y, and then find a key inside that will help you get to Z. Repeat this a hundred times, and this is basically what HeXen II is all about. Now, in its defence, it's actually a lot less cryptic than its predecessor, where the player would press a random lever, only to open up a random door a few stages away - but that isn't enough to save this mess of an adventure.

HeXen II is polite enough to offer a couple of hints for what has to be gathered. Upon reaching a place where a key item can be crafted, for instance, a message pops up that says "Gather bones, water, and mud," or something along this lines. Unfortunately, you are still required to go around and search the place, being sure to mess around with every pixel that looks remotely strange. Long story short? This "epic" mission sucks!

Screenshot for HeXen II on PC

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Key item search-a-thon HeXen II is the perfect example of a game that might had been a tad… good when it came out, but didn't manage to last more than a couple of years. It's one of the pioneers of the RPG-ish fantasy first-person shooters, but better (far better, in fact) titles have appeared since then.

Developer

Raven Software

Publisher

id Software

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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