The racing genre has surely come a
long way in terms of graphics and realism. However, one area where it often falls short is innovation.
Fortunately, Anji Games have always tried to deliver something unique and that fact has been most apparent in their Hellrider franchise.
With two predecessors to Hellrider 3, this is the first time the series has gone full 3D in gameplay. The game offers the basic racing elements but combines it with fast-paced action that even includes boss fights - which is an interesting concept.
So, is the transition to 3D a good move for the series or a recipe for disaster? Let’s find out.
There are two control schemes, one is called
Realism and the other one is called Arcade - but there’s not much of a difference between the two aside
from the former being more slippery to control.
As soon as you start the game, it throws you straight into the action.
The game does not allow you to normally attack enemies whenever you want and instead has a unique approach to it. Every time you get close to an enemy, the game starts dropping bullets and bombs that you can pick up and use by driving over them.
There are also other items you can pick up along the way that affect the gameplay. Most of them are hazards such as boxes that make you slippery or directly take your health away. The non-hazard ones are simple things like an extra heart or temporary nitro boosts.
My favorite item is the poisonous mushroom, which is supposed to be bad but is actually a pretty cool thing that doesn’t take your health away but shows you trippy aesthetics for a while.
Lastly, there are some extra details in the game such as the ability to jump off of vehicles when on a single wheel, or the fact that after beating some bosses you can jump straight onto their bike and take over it. The game even changes the way bosses are fought at times by introducing new things, such as a giant monster chasing you from the back.
The main campaign has you go through a few short levels in each zone in which you ride through long roads and occasionally face enemies. Then in the last level of every zone, you fight a boss, and defeating them either unlocks extra events or just advances you onto the next zone.
Hellrider 3 is a consistently entertaining experience despite the fact that the game combines so many different gameplay elements in the same package. Whether it’s basic racing, fighting enemy vehicles, or avoiding hazards and destructive environments - everything is done at a beautiful pace that helps avoid repetition.
The game has different bikes, character models, guns, and perks that you can unlock - but it’s not necessary to spend real-world money and if you’re okay with adapting to the difficulty, you can beat it through effort and skill alone.
The game can certainly use a bit more variety as it can be a bit formulaic, but it’s still a very fresh take on the genre regardless.
The graphics of Hellrider 3 are very pleasant to look at.
The game has a distinctive art style that feels a bit low-poly at first glance, but it has a fair amount of detail once you pay attention. The character models, vehicles, and environments look great and have pretty colors that make the atmosphere feel light-hearted despite the fact that this is a game about fighting undead monsters.
It avoids aesthetic repetition by having a different type of atmosphere depending on what level you’re in. You will encounter rain, burning skies, roads that are being torn apart, and a few other things.
The only area the game can improve on in terms of variety is that it could add extra body types for the cosmetics, as the male and female skins share the same body type.
The UI is excellent, everything is easy to find and exactly where it should be. It feels premium and has no rough edges, including the stylish main menu screen where you can see your character in different parts of the city.
The polish is good as I did not run into any issues at all and the game runs very smoothly even on low-end devices. However, a lot of people seem to report crashes on certain phones.
For the sound design, there are a few different background tunes that play based on what’s going on in the game and satisfactory sound effects for almost everything that you see on the screen.
If you play the game for too long though, the background music begins to feel a bit repetitive since, despite its variety, it repeats the same tunes too many times - so that’s something that could be changed for the better.
Hellrider 3 is an excellent action game that prioritizes fun instead of providing a basic racing experience, and that’s exactly what makes it stand out from the crowd.
Whether you’re racing through roads that are being torn apart by earthquakes or fighting dangerous skeletons hell-bent on destroying your town - you will be thoroughly engaged and adjusting to the challenges that stand in your way.