A year ago, in March 2017, Hollowpoint was in trouble. The co-op focused 2.5D shooter was being developed by Ruffian Games, the creators of Crackdown 2, and was to be published by Paradox Interactive. Due to “creative differences” the partnership broke down, and while we expected to see Hollowpoint again we were shocked to discover in December that the game was now being made by an entirely different studio - Red Kite Games, who have worked on the Call of Duty, DIRT and God of War franchises, but this will be their first full game.
We got a hands-on with the new version of Hollowpoint at EGX Rezzed, with a couple of other players at our side to test the co-op. And it could be a lot of fun.
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Hollowpoint are named for the mercenaries you play in the game, emotionless (and expendable) killers for the Mega Corporations in this dystopian post-World War Three Earth. The original story trailer for the game held these mercenaries as little more than living ammunition, cheap and deadly (sounds like my last date). Supposedly the game will have a dynamic and procedurally generated world, with players having the ability to take jobs from any of the MegaCorps, Bolstering the power of one will get you better jobs from that Corps but less opportunities elsewhere, or alternatively one mission might see you putting a CEO in power and the next mission taking that same CEO out.
Hollowpoint, as mentioned, is a 2.5D shooter that’s playable in co-op. In practice, what this means is that player characters can only move on a 2D plane, left to right, but the world around them is still 3D and (for the most part) everything that needs to be shot at will be in the background. And that is the neat twist of Hollowpoint - it’s essentially a combination of a 2D run-and-gun like Contra and the old-style side-scrolling Arcade Shooters of yore, like Terminator 2: The Arcade Game.
Unlike every 2D shooter ever, enemies in Hollowpoint generally will not appear along your path. Instead, enemies will pop up in the background and you have to make your characters take cover and shoot the threats approaching your position. There may be barrels to explode, which can sometimes take you and your team out too, and things escalate fast. A few simple soldiers give way to snipers, flying drones, and finally giant mechs. Things get exciting fast, and with only shoot, grenades and cover to worry about the action was the main thing to focus on.
Graphically the game is utterly gorgeous, even at this early stage. We’re not sure what engine Red Kite are using (Unreal?) but it looks pretty sharp. Seeing a giant shadow head towards you and watch it coalesce in the light into a huge robot is quite impressive, and undoubtedly things aren’t even finalized yet. Explosions are nice too, and it sometimes gets ridiculous how many enemies appear on-screen at the same time - in a good way. Hollowpoint is using the PC well, and at the moment we don’t believe it’s even been confirmed for consoles yet.
In other areas though the pre-alpha nature of the build we played clearly showed its head. There was no voice acting for starters, with both player characters and enemies unusually silent, and the sounds of gunfire and explosions the only thing to keep us company. There were also problems with aiming that we presume and hope will be sorted out, where some enemies just couldn’t be hit from certain angles even though the line of sight seemed to be clear. Also, grenades are really weird and sometimes they just didn’t work at all - like they’d fly off into the air or explode after a split-second. All fixable problems, so we’re sure Red Kite will do so.
While the demo was definitely fun, it was very much a shooting gallery - in fact that’s exactly what it was, except one where you can move your character a bit. There was the odd objective, which meant going to a computer or something, pressing ‘Use’ and then mowing down the swarms of enemies that attacked. At the moment though, Hollowpoint is lacking depth. Even the co-op was very straightforward, with everyone just shooting at everything and not working together more than reviving teammates whenever they’re downed. There’s obviously a lot more to the game that we’re yet to see, since this was a demo to show off the shooting and the general gameplay mechanics. We’ll see when the final version comes out if Hollowpoint will live up to the drama behind its development.
Hollowpoint currently has not got a release date, so just consider it "done when it's done".
Most Anticipated Feature
Being able to play Mega Corps off of each other and even undermine your own accomplishments sounds like a lot of fun.