Hellboy Web of Wyrd Review: A Dark Dance with Potential and Pitfalls
It’s not uncommon to see beloved franchises fall prey to mediocre interpretations. Enter “Hellboy: Web of Wyrd,” a game that attempts to weave the rich tapestry of Mike Mignola’s iconic creation into an interactive experience. Much like the titular character himself, this game is a study in contrasts – an embodiment of striking visuals and narrative depth, shadowed by gameplay limitations that somewhat dim its infernal luster.
From the outset, “Web of Wyrd” captures the eye with its art style, emulating the unique aesthetic of Hellboy’s universe. The bold lines, flat shades, and iconic low-detail faces, a hallmark of Mignola’s art, transition seamlessly into the three-dimensional world of the game, offering a feast for the eyes reminiscent of the source material. It’s a visual tour-de-force, encapsulating the dark, whimsical atmosphere of the comics.
The story, intricately woven and paying homage to Mignola’s creation, features the late Lance Reddick in a fitting swan song. His portrayal of Hellboy captures the essence of the sardonic hero, adding gravitas to the experience. This narrative strength, coupled with warm voice performances, imbues the game with a sense of authenticity.
However, as with many adaptations, the transition from page to pixel has its pitfalls. “Web of Wyrd” stumbles in its gameplay, notably in its roguelike structure. The game’s levels, inspired by Hades, feature arenas connected by doors, yet they quickly grow familiar and monotonous. The lack of variety in environments, enemy types, and run-centric upgrades makes the gameplay feel repetitive and uninspired. The upgrade system, particularly, has a lack of diversity with perplexing choice mechanics, which fail to add meaningful depth or excitement to the experience.
Combat, a core element of any action game, is another area where “Web of Wyrd” falls short. While it presents a vision of simple, combo-based brawling, the execution is less polished. The combat mechanics are basic and lack depth, with a stiff dodge mechanism and limited attack variations. Yet, there are moments of fun, like the critical hits that wash the screen in bright red, showcasing pro-wrestler finishing moves – a touch of silliness in an otherwise serious setting.
Despite these missteps, the efforts of the talented team behind “Web of Wyrd” are evident. The game’s art direction and voice performances hint at a potential that could have been fully realized under different circumstances. It’s a case where the sum of its parts doesn’t quite coalesce into the masterpiece it could have been.
“Hellboy: Web of Wyrd” is a game of contrasts and potential. Its visual and narrative strengths are undeniable, yet they are overshadowed by gameplay mechanics that fail to captivate. It stands as a visually stunning tribute to the Hellboy universe but struggles to deliver a gameplay experience to match.
RATING: 2.5 out of 5.
Hellboy: Web of Wyrd is now available for PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X.