Summary: Today we cover Tony Hawk's Project 8, Too Human, CDV's display and ... Enemy Territory: Quake Wars!
Neversoft built their own motion capture facility to capture the smaller stunts and tricks, relying on a large studio only for the pipes. A variety of performers contributed to this, including Tony Hawk himself. The end result is that the animations are more fluid and informative, the player relies less on the GUI to balance a grind than he does on the animations themselves, for example. Naturally, the game looks a whole heck of a lot better, finally giving off that next-generation feel after the somewhat disappointing American Wasteland.
The core gameplay remains basically the same – hit tricks, score points. The tricks and their combinations are still as easy to hit as in previous Hawk games – don’t expect the end results to be more realistic, just more pretty. However, there have been tweaks, especially with the difficulty levels. Rather than choosing a difficulty at the start and trying to finish the game like that, each trick has its own levels – so if you’re really good, you can always try for a Sick finish, but you’re not obligated to in every stage. This is rather like the Gran Turismo licensing system.
There will be 12-player Xbox Live, including a “snake” game, where you try to cut across the path of other players using your snake. Tron, anyone?
Too Human, from Silicon Knights and exclusive for the Xbox 360, is a very stylized action combat game not dissimilar to Diablo or God of War. While lacking – at least during this demo – the latter’s impressive gore, the style of combat is somewhat similar.
War Front occurs in a world where the Germans successfully invaded Britain, but were later repulsed by the Allies. Later, Hitler was assassinated and the German state co-operated with the Allies to fight the Soviet menace. The war continues past 1945, and we see the fruits of various secret weapon projects in the later parts of the tech tree. Some of these, like the Maus tank, are based on real equipment, while others like powered armor are merely hypothetical.
The game follows the Command & Conquer style of play quite closely, focusing on action, big explosions and a fairly simple economic system. Similarities to Codename: Panzers are also abundant, especially with the art direction.
The low height camera keeps the player focused on the action and, in a nice touch, you are even able to man defensive turrets in your base from a first-person perspective. This has several advantages: increased accuracy, increased range (since you don’t have to rely on the AI) and a 50% damage bonus coded in by the game. Of course, while manning a turret, you’re not able to give production or unit commands. There’s also a 3rd-person view for various units, meaning you can see the action from just above and behind a tank as it assaults an enemy base.
Heroes of Annihilated Empires
Heroes of Annihilated Empires is the first part of a trilogy of games being developed together. Heroes is set in a fantasy realm, with four races – ice ceatures, elves, undead and “mechs” – an enemy presumably in the steampunk style. Its key feature is that it is not an RTS or even an RPG RTS, but rather RPG vs RTS.
RPG vs RTS is an interesting concept, where in a multiplayer or skirmish scenario the player chooses whether to go the RPG route or RTS route. If you choose RTS, you get to build your base, collect resources, and fight your normal RTS games. In RPG mode, things go a little differently. You can no longer build units, and control your hero character almost exclusively. He has a considerable spell repertoire and is highly adept at combat. Like WarCraft III heroes, he goes around killing everything in sight to gain XP, items, and levels. The goal is to have the game balanced so that a hero character is capable of fighting an entire army by himself and standing a fair chance of winning. Meanwhile, the RTS player can rely on numbers and his tech tree for advantages.
Leveling for the hero is quick and almost limitless, but each level offers only a relatively modest boost to his powers.
There are six resources and they are all infinite in quantity, though not all races use or rely on the same resources. Battles can end up being as much about denying the enemy his key resources, as about trying to control your own.
With the bridge constructed, the MCC could cross and it was up to the Strogg to delay it as much as possible through a tunnel it had to penetrate, before it came out and faced the Strogg forward base, which was its objective. From there, the MCC faced a heavy assault from Strogg vehicles and infantry, not to mention frequent artillery strikes. Plodding forward under constant repair from its engineers, it sets up in the base and the spawn point is stolen.
From there, the Marines have to assault and destroy a shield tower. The first task is to get across an open killing field better known as a bridge, and the next is to get to the shield generator, often protected by mines and turrets in close quarters. Should the generator go down, the last task is to rush inside and destroy the final Strogg facility.
The action is very fast, a tempo comparable to the original Enemy Territory, but with a vehicle and air component to boot. The Strogg hover packs permit some incredibly agile movements sure to annoy the enemy, especially since the hover pack has the ability to drop bombs on targets below. For the Marines, their vehicles – especially the tank – provide vital cover for the MCC.
It’s a real relief to see that the vehicles mesh well with the gameplay, and we remain hopeful that the ultimate product will be balanced.
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