Hellgate: London - updated impressions

With deep role-playing elements and fast-paced first-person shooter goodness, Hellgate: London keeps looking better and bloodier. Today we got our first look at the Guardians and Blademasters, two never-before-seen classes from the Templar faction.

Although both classes excel at up-close combat with melee weapons, they play quite differently. The tough-as-nails Guardians are the most defense oriented class in the game. They excel at soaking up damage and drawing the attention of surrounding monsters- allowing your less heavily armored teammates to dish out some demon-slaying damage from a safe distance.

Above: Expect access to the heaviest armor items in the game when playing as a Guardian

Any doubts about whether or not Hellgate can pull off its attempt to marry RPG and FPS elements were put to rest when we saw the Guardian's skills in action. We were most impressed with the way various skills could be strung together for powerful combinations without ever looking like the "click and wait" combat we're used to in MMOs and dungeon crawlers.

We watched as developer, Flagship Studio's Tyler Thompson demonstrated how the Guardian's auras and melee attacks could becombined to turn him into a massive damage-soaking meat shield. He began by using his Challenge skill to draw the attention of a pack of wild demons. Once they began closing in on him, he followed up by casting Aura of Defense- a skill which increases your armor based on how many enemies are surrounding you. With his armor boosted to the point of nigh invulnerability, Thompson was free to use Dig In- a skill that increases your melee damage when standing still- to take out the now harmless horde of demons at his leisure.