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Hellboy: Web of Wyrd Review: A Flawed If Satisfactory Brawler

Hellboy is a hugely popular comic, but how does it translate to a video game?
Hellboy: Web of Wyrd Review: A Flawed If Satisfactory Brawler

Hellboy is an interesting character. Despite not being published by either of the Big Two (Marvel & DC), he's massively successful in comics to the extent that three separate movies have been made surrounding him, with a fourth currently being produced. He's guest-starred in several video games and had his own games, and his popularity has seemingly never wavered since he was first introduced. 

Taking Inspiration From The Best

Laying Into An Enemy

Hellboy: Web of Wyrd is an original story set in the same continuity as the comic books that inspired it. It's an adventure that takes place between the pages, between arcs, and it does an incredible job of just slotting in. It helps that the voice for Hellboy, the late Lance Reddick, is incredible in the role, surrendering a certain amount of vulnerability that lesser actors would have missed. After all, Hellboy is ostracised by the world he constantly saves for his appearance and his nature, despite being a good-at-heart individual, and that changes a person.

Hellboy: Web of Wyrd takes a great deal of inspiration from Roguelites that came before it. You can see the DNA on the display of games such as Hades, Cult of the Lamb, and Binding of Isaac (you literally pick up blessings on each floor to power you up), but the way Web of Wyrd tries to differ itself from those is through a central gameplay mechanic. This isn't just a normal roguelike where you buy new weaponry and hope you pick up items that'll make your run a breeze, it's also a Brawler. 


And it's a pretty good feeling Brawler, too. It's not as good as the best in the genre, you'll never feel the same you felt playing a game like Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game here, but it's really solid, and your punches have an impact on them. Your moveset is basic, but fulfilling. When punches connect, they have a certain amount of weight to them.

The game has you moving from room to room, with you having to clear each room before you actually can go onto the next room. In several rooms, you'll find blessings (which are upgrades for your items or for Hellboy himself) and in others, you'll find a shop where you can buy items to help you in your battle across the floor. It's a tried and tested formula and one that does work, though it's extremely annoying that there's no map to help guide you along the way.

The game also has a tinge of sadness to it. This is one of the final performances of the late Lance Reddick as the titular character, and he's pretty amazing in the role as previously mentioned. It's a shame, then, that the rest of the cast doesn't match up to him. Reddick was a towering talent, and one that it would be hard for even the best of the best to compare to, but something about the rest of the voice cast pales in comparison to him here, which makes it an extremely good thing that the main voice you hear IS Reddick.

A Flawed Experience

For When Fists Just Aren't Enough

Sadly, it's not all sunshine and devils with Hellboy: Web of Wyrd. The game can feel slow at points, not because of a decrease in performance, but just due to how long it takes to do anything. Certain fights can feel like a slog, and with a fairly slim pool of enemy variety, you'll quickly start to notice that you're fighting the same basic archetypes of enemies over and over again. The bosses too don't feel like end-of-stage bosses in any noticeable way. If anything, they're actually easier than standard encounters which can definitely take some of the enjoyability out of them.

The art style can also lead to some issues at times. It's quite cool and pretty to look at through the majority of the game, but every now and again it does feel like you're playing a game that chose that art style without considering that maybe it just wouldn't work too well in a video game. It's an extremely tough style to get right, and it was obviously chosen as a way to emulate the art that Mike Mignola is so famous for, but it's not the best pick for a video game that is all about dodging strikes and retorting in kind.

Hellboy: Web of Wyrd - The Verdict:
Hellboy: Web of Wyrd probably isn't going to make a dent in your game of the year list, but it doesn't need to. In a year filled with absolutely incredible games that are reshaping the very nature of games as we know it, Hellboy: Web of Wyrd is just a really fun brawler that you can beat in a few days and is pretty enjoyable overall. Pick this up when you've hit the end of your backlog (probably sometime in 2035) and you'll have a grand old time.
Review code was provided by the publisher.
Reviewed on PS5