E3: More Day Two Goodness

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After my adventure in the morning, I headed off to the floor to check out a few more games and demos, hitting up Capcom and Activision to get a taste of what was going on there.

I headed out to the GoW3 closed doors demo with Stig Asmussen and Sony and what I saw only fuels my need to have this game. Now.

The demo was similar to the same one shown to the press in February and a few questions were fielded by Asmussem in regards to what would set it apart from the previous two godslayers. None of the gore was tempered. Kratos pulled absolutely no punches when it came to taking a hands-on approach to completely erasing his enemies while at the same time, turning them into warnings to everything else as to what fate might befall them. After you see a centaur disemboweled Tauntaun-style and a god’s head torn from his shoulders, the team has clearly raised the bar not only with the intensity of the action but what is delivered as a reward for punishing the enemies in his way.

No word yet on the Collector’s Edition…that’s being fleshed out, although Asmussen did relate that he was in favor of seeing both GoW 1 and 2 on the same blu-ray disk. Whether or not that dream compilation happens is all up to overcoming a few technical hurdles as well as whether Sony wants it as much as the fans. If GoW 2 is any indication of what Sony wants to deliver to fans, and with GoW 3 finishing up the arc started in the first game, there will likely be something good for fans to look forward to with the regular edition as well as the CE. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Activision’s booth was also filled with a lot to look at. I took some time out to check and see what was going on with Wolfenstein and watched the Tirpitz trailer of the opening game cinematic which had been seen before on the web. What followed after that was some actual gameplay including a preview of three new “Veil” powers that Blaskowicz had at his disposal.

Taking us through what appeared to be a hospital built over a hidden research facility of the Third Reich, the first weapon used was some kind of shotgun which demonstrated the dismemberment model of the title’s gore bringing warm fuzzy feelings of Activision’s Soldier of Fortune series back. The demonstrator evaporated heads, knocked legs off at the knee, and generally made a mess of the Reich’s best as he moved through the glistening halls of the facility. Several other weapons were also shown off, including the Tesla Cannon, but more on that later.

Using the powers of the occult, BJ can now see hidden passages marked by the sigil of the “Black Sun”. Some are extras, but it was made clear that using this power would also allow the player to proceed further into the game. An MG42 covered a corridor with a line of deadly lead but using the Veil, BJ was able to slow his foes and get the drop on the entrenched soldier.

At one point, the screen’s colors shifted to black and white, indicating that a dampening field for BJ’s powers was set up nearby and smashing it became a priority in order to keep moving through the level. Once that was done, BJ discovered a secret facility behind a wall and picked up the Tesla Cannon. But to get away, he had to fight his way past the “assassin”, a soldier who was also capable of using the Veil to flit in and out of reality to get the drop on his prey. After a small fight, the assassin was dead after flitting into BJ’s face…and a wall of hot lead…and the Allied operative was heading back up.

Using the Tesla Cannon was like using a proton pack, only against fleshy foes. The greenish bolt of lightning that it spat out dissolved whoever was in his way and the demo ended at a climactic scene were a titanic beast had emerged from a portal that the Nazis had managed to get working. I can’t wait to play this.

I also caught a little of what Kaos, the developers of Frontline, were up to and wasn’t disappointed. It looks like they’re continuing on the theme of global economic and ecological collapse, but in a world distinctly different from Frontline. It is not related to that game at all, instead taking players into an alternate America under occupation by North Korea. Twenty years from now, North Korea has apparently become a nuclear superpower and has forcibly united the Korean Peninsula under its military. At one point,united Korea launched an attack against the United States and had apparently won. Or at least occupied a large chunk of the West as a result. That’s part of the mystery behind the story which promises to tell as strong a story as the action.

In it, the player is cast as one of the rebels hiding out in the wilderness and attempting some semblance of life during the occupation. Kaos is spending a lot of effort in telling a story by adding little touches such as a woman with her baby walking the streets of a makeshift neighborhood before running frantically up the stairs to avoid the North Korean military which makes a house call on everyone with heavy firepower. It’s a first person shooter that reminds me a lot of Modern Warfare in terms of its intense action, but with a distinctly different take on the future. John Milius is working with Kaos in creating the storyline of the game and you can tell that there are shades of Red Dawn peppered throughout the narrative shown off in only the few minutes that we had with it.

One thing that the designers had shown off was that the player would also have access to advanced equipment. After a running gunfight to get inside a house where a woman with her child had run up the stairs in order to avoid the field of death outside, the player was asked to call in Goliath, a six wheeled, armored, anti-personnel remote that was as large as a Hummer as it came barreling through the rear wall.

There were also a few scripted events that also made it clear that the game would be a balance between those and many others that would simply play out during the course of the game that were more dependent on the player doing something…such as calling in the Goliath and then using it to mark and execute targets…alongside the regular FPS action.

It looks like it could be exciting stuff and I’m looking forward to seeing just how it all comes together. If anything, I’m a sucker for this kind of alternate history.

I had also spent a little time with Lost Planet 2 at the Capcom booth and it’s just like the first game, only now that all of the snow has melted. The multiplayer co-op demo was being shown off pitting four players against a colossal, six legged, monster the size of the Empire State Building, only horizontal. And walking. And with a huge mouth with multiple tentacles inside of it.

We had to shoot the legs and weaken it enough for it to expose its weak point, and that’s where we were having a lot of trouble since it regenerates its legs after so long, leaving only a narrow window of opportunity to damage it. Everything was point based but instead of harnessing heat, we had to activate data posts which added to the points that we had to work with. As those points counted down, they represented our ability to stay in the fight and once all of them were exhausted, the mission was failed. The action was most definitely intense, but the difficulty may have been intentionally insane in order to rotate people in and out of the demo. Still, it follows the Lost Planet formula almost to a tee so no worries there.

I also spent a little time with Dark Void, from Airtight and shown off at Capcom, which reminded me a lot of the Rocketeer…only now, fighting aliens and meeting people like Nicola Tesla in the mysterious space behind the Bermuda Triangle. Controlling the jet pack’ed protagonist took some getting used to, but the controls are split between ground and air based combat, allowing the player to choose inverted for both or just one or the other…which is what I did after shooting at the floor all the time.

The animation work for the main character was remarkably fluid, reacting to the pitch and yaw, turns and rolls, and inevitable crashes that the jet pack put him through with arms and legs dangling and moving on their own in relation to what was going on. It was great to see and added to the whole feel of the character and jumping up, hovering, and then blasting off into the air. It was as seamlessly fluid as the game world which sported no loads whatsoever after getting through the main menu. There’s also a sequence where the mysterious aliens that act as the antagonists here, the Watchers, send flying machines after the hero. But the trick is that the hero can hijack these after a small sequence fought on the surface of the small fighter and bring in the pain with their own weapons. Very cool.

There’s definitely something of a learning curve here, but as with anything, practice made perfect. Or close to it.

Now to decide where to go…Scribblenauts to summon Cthulhu or Prototype? I think Prototype. Or whatever else I run into on the third, and last day, in gaming paradise.