You don't move all that quickly, either. If anything, you tromp along, pausing every time you take a shot and taking forever to load a new clip or pump another round through the shotgun. At least each of the three main weapon types can be upgraded as you play. Max out the upgrade bar, and you get a weapon drop that turns your plain-Jane shotgun into a powerful sawed-off variant, your wimpy pistol into a Dirty Harry-style cannon, and so forth. Regardless of the boosted weapons, the overall feel is reminiscent of Resident Evil, which leads to some serious annoyance given the number of enemies. You're best off taking your time and using the right mouse button to line up headshots or target other vulnerable places on monsters (some come equipped with Gwar-style helmets and chain mail). Find a safe indoor spot to camp, which gets you away from most of the chronostone-initiated weather assaults, and then ignore both the chronostones and the healthstones unless they spawn in right on top of you, and sit back to take potshots until you get to the number of kills needed to survive the stage. This slows enemy assaults and gets dull, but running around crazily tends to lead to being overwhelmed and slaughtered.
Most of your enemies are zombie-like freaks who just charge you mindlessly.
As much as The Haunted: Hell's Reach looks like a run-and-gun shooter, it's more of a slower-paced hybrid that forces you to ditch the guns for brawling charges and roundhouse kicks. Oddly, melee doesn't get good until you drop to 10 health, when a rage mechanic fires up and you can turn enemies into a thick red goo with a single boot. This can be very satisfying, because you can feel the impact of your attacks, and the demon blood flies so thickly that it pretty much covers the entire screen. You also regain a little bit of health with each melee kill, making it possible to plunge into huge crowds of foes and emerge a tad healthier than when you waded in. Still, the way this works is counterintuitive. The combination of insta-kills and health regeneration makes the game considerably easier to play when you're near death than when you're rolling along with health maxed out, so at times it's not a bad idea to let yourself take damage so you can freak out and play Rambo.
Multiplayer is packed with other irritants. Although the game has clearly been designed to be played online, there are enough serious problems that it can be a lot more enjoyable to play solo. Enter a match midway through a round, and you have to sit and wait for it to end before getting involved as anything more than a spectator. Because there is no way to tell how long a game has been in progress from the server screen, you can easily enter one that has just started and have to wait around for several minutes before you can start playing. So players tend to pop in and out of games. Spawning is another issue. You don't revive automatically every time you get killed; instead, your soul gets sucked into a soulstone that randomly appears somewhere on the map. The only way you can get back into the match is if one of your allies redeems your soul by blasting the thing to bits. Of course, your pals tend to be too busy saving their own skins to pull off immediate rescue missions. And just like with the other two stones in the game, if you don't quickly gun down the soulstone, a minion grabs it and takes off. Get killed just once in a map, which is essentially unavoidable due to the difficulty, and you have to wait a few minutes or more before being allowed to get back into the action.
Looks like this guy just tried to beat the fourth wave.
What might be most frustrating about The Haunted: Hell's Reach is that it could clearly be a lot of fun if some of the game options were dialed back to make the difficulty more palatable. A lot of the appeal of the game's blending of ranged and melee combat is lost because of the steep learning curve and peculiar design choices. The game is so unforgiving and loaded with off-putting features, such as the multiplayer spawn issues, that it seems likely to scare off a lot of its potential fans, which seems to be happening already given the sparse number of players online during launch week. Hopefully the developers will listen to feedback and make changes, because the game does have potential if given a little more time on the drawing board.