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E3 2011 Preview – Metro: Last Light

FIRST LOOK

Moscow is in ruins.

What was once an impressive city with recognizable landmarks is now an empty and shattered shell of its former self as the almost skeletal remains of vehicles are left in the middle of a street as if stuck in eternal traffic and buildings look like they’re about to crumble with the slightest touch. Some things have changed in the Soviet Union since the events seen in the brilliant first game, Metro 2033 but that doesn’t mean that things are better in Metro: Last Light.

As we saw from THQ’s demonstration of Last Light’s in-game action, we are back in the shoes of the first game’s hero, Artyom, and while things on the surface have improved (there are now some blue patches in the sky and much of the ice has finally melted) but the post-apocalyptic Russia has a new set of problems that come in the form of a civil war that involves a dangerous faction with very familiar values. It’s clear that Artyom has his work cut out for him as the savior of his people.

The game has certainly been rebuilt from the ground up and that just doesn’t include the visuals (that are actually quite impressive, by the way) but the gameplay mechanics as well. What we got to see was Artyom entering the sewers to infiltrate the enemy’s underground stronghold that is – naturally – dank, grimy and filled with cobwebs. Artyom even uses his lighter to burn away said cobwebs to scare off the spiders dangling from them.

Stealth is once again an option if you don’t want to alert every enemy in the area to come running and gunning for you and Artyom can quietly dispose of anyone in his way by quickly slitting their throat. Using your silenced pistol, you can take out a pesky light source or, say, shoot a kettle to call the attention of a nearby guard just so you can sneak up behind him and dispose of him.

Of course, you can just go in with guns blazing and the firefight that erupts is exhilarating as enemies go for cover and try to outflank you. The game makes it clear that everything that can be destroyed does as the bullets fly and tear away at cover, various objects in the nearby vicinity. When Artyom picked up a chain gun, the heat from it barrels caused some nearby cardboard boxes to light up on fire.

The demo shifted to a key moment when Artyom and a comrade attempt to assassinate the enemy leader in a room filled with enemies listening to a speech. Moving their way towards the speaker, the brilliant plan goes to hell when those on the platform point them out. Suddenly, an assassination mission turns into a mad dash for survival and Artyom and his companion fight their way to a subway cart with our hero taking gunning duties against pursuing enemy soldiers on the opposite tracks.

Finally, we are revealed a new kind of Dark One that is massive and fast that will surely be a challenge to bring down. From what we seen so far, Metro: Last Light is already looking to be a first-person shooter you do not want to miss.

Metro: Last Light has a release date of 2012 and will be available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii U.

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Categories: E3 First Look

E3 2011 Preview – The Darkness II

FIRST LOOK

It’s been a little over four years since 2K Games released The Darkness, a game based on the hit Top Cow Productions comic book series about a mafia hitman named Jackie Estacado who finds out, during his twenty-first birthday, that he has within him a powerful demon that is now awake. Needless to say, it is this demon that made the first-person shooter a most interesting action game so it’s definitely good news that 2K Games reveals what we can come to expect from The Darkness II.

The demo that was shown to us picks up two years after the events of the first game so now Jackie is now Don of the Estacado crime family after having eliminated his Uncle who took from him something far more precious than just Jackie’s life. Being the new head of la familia isn’t without its problems but what is weighing heavily on Jackie’s mind is a new kind of enemy calling itself the Brotherhood – an organization that was started a long time ago by a saint.

The Brotherhood’s leader, a man who will be familiar to those who follow the comic book, wants the power of The Darkness for himself in order to save humanity. Of course, to take the demon’s powers he would have to kill Jackie Estacado and this is where the demo takes us to an assault on Jackie in an abandoned amusement park. You see, the Brotherhood has armed thugs who attack knowing full well what to expect from Jackie’s Darkness abilities.

As we can see, the enemy AI not only has your foes ducking for cover but also trying to use the light as a weapon seeing as the Darkness is only useful in the cover of darkness. That means the enemy will throw flash bang grenades, flares and even weapons capable of blinding Jackie with light. The Brotherhood soldiers even sport armor and a few of the tougher ones uses an electrical whip to snatch your weapons away from you.

Thankfully, Jackie has new tricks up his sleeves because now Jackie can dual-wield weapons as well as the snake-like tendrils that can both be used as well. One tendril can wrap itself around an enemy while the other can tear the bad guy’s heart right out of his chest. You’ll gain points for collecting hearts like in the first game but also by skillful kills as well. These points are good for upgrading Jackie’s firepower as well as Darkness powers in any Talent Shrines you might find.

This brings us to the new Darkness powers such as Gun Channeling that can be used to give your firepower more of a kick and ammo relief. You can keep upgrading your powers to give you an even better edge in battle such as the ability to see your enemy through objects. This is but one of the many Darkness powers we can expect in the game.

Visually, the game takes on a different look than the first game to fit the comic book’s artwork, although I’m happy to report that it’s really not a bad look for the game and not a very drastic step away from the graphics of the original either. The Darklings still look downright creepy and comical.

We can come to expect the game sometime in 2011 for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 so we will keep you posted with more news about this fantastic-looking sequel.

Categories: E3 First Look

E3 2011 Preview – Saints Row: The Third

 

FIRST LOOK

To us, the Saints Row games have always been considered Grand Theft Auto’s crazy younger brother. It’s Charlie Sheen to Rockstar’s Emilio Estevez. It’s the straight-up out-of-control guilty pleasure of free-roaming games that let’s you be as crazy and destructive as you want to be and it has a great sense of humor to boot.

So you can bet we are certainly excited about Saints Row: The Third, which takes all the things we love about first and superior sequel and pushes the envelope in new ways that go well beyond newly updated graphics that make everything look detailed and just plain awesome. We got to see the preview for the Xbox 360 and I have to say that it already looks amazing and outrageously insane.

The Saints Row gang is back and this time even more powerful and even popular as the Row finds themselves taking over the city of Steel Port. Of course, that won’t be easy with rival gangs in the area such as the Luchadores, a gang obviously influenced by Mexican pro wrestlers. Still, with the city wide open for the taking, you find yourself in the prime position to do a little street cleaning Saints Row-style. With various weapons at your disposal, as well as the ability to call in an air strike, causing mayhem in the streets is still a blast.

From what we seen from the in-game demonstration, The Third still relies heavily on its brilliant and twisted sense of humor. The character (the game allows you to create your character anyway you see fit) runs amok in Steel Port and from what we saw you can practically unleash a number of moves on pedestrians such as head slams, kicks to the groin and you can even slap people around with a big purple dildo! Oh yeah, we did say that the game’s sense of humor is brilliant and twisted.

We are told you can design your character to suit your tastes so whether you like to play as a hulking fat man or a sexy femme fatale. You can also dress your character up by entering a shop or you can even run in the buff (a slider will allow how much nudity you’ll get to see).

The character also has a most unusual way of stealing cars and that’s by jumping into it Dukes of Hazzard-style as you peel out and take the insanity to the streets on a completely new level. Since the Saints are popular, people will even cheer you on as you perform tricks such as doing a donut or just peeling out. There are a number of vehicles, one of which is a van that sports the face of a familiar Saints Row lieutenant from past Saints Row games. Then there’s a harrier jet complete with hover mode and heat-seeking missiles.

In fact, you’ll find many returning characters from Saints Row 2 including Shandi and Johnny as we witness in the demonstration of a mission from the game. The mission has these two characters, along with your character and a new member as the Saints rob a bank owned by a rival gang since all the bank tellers seem to be strapping heat … including the old lady behind the counter. Suddenly, the bank turns into a bloodbath as the Saints try to make off with the bank vault itself.

This is just a small taste of what we can expect from The Third and, from the looks of it already, this is looking to be one of THQ’s biggest and best Saints Row game yet.

We can expect the game to be release on November 15, 2011.

Categories: E3 First Look

E3 2011 Preview – Aliens: Colonial Maries

June 8, 2011 2 comments

FIRST LOOK

You know things are off to a good start when Randy Pitchford, President of Gearbox Software, says that Aliens: Colonial Maries will be a true sequel to James Cameron’s “Aliens” film.

“We’ve been borrowing from ‘Aliens’ for a long time now,” Pitchford says as he mentions the Facehugger-like creatures from the Half Life games. “So we thought it would be about time to finally do an Aliens game that is true to the Cameron film as well as nod to the Ridley Scott film. We even have 20th Century Fox onboard.”

“IT’S GAME OVER, MAN! GAME OVER!”

What Pitchford means as a “true sequel” is that Colonial Marines – a first-person shooter – will take place after the events seen in “Aliens” so we will know what happened to fan favorite characters like Hudson when a new group of Marines are sent to the familiar stomping grounds of LV-426, the teraforming colony that Ellen Ripley, Corporal Hicks, Newt and Bishop escaped from in the movie.

We got to see the game in action as we are introduced, briefly, to the situation that has a group of hardened Marines fighting a new horde of alien xenomorphs that managed to survive the blast. You’ll find the recognizable hallways, communications room and laboratory straight out of the movie and it’s actually thrilling to find it in an even more frightening than it was when Ripley and her Marine escort searched through it.

“LET ME INTRODUCE A FRIEND OF MINE.”

The Marines will be packing the same firepower from the movie as well as you’ll find yourself armed with the same machine gun with grenade launching capabilities as well as a number of other weapons that include shotguns and even a flamethrower. You’ll be able to place a gun turret ala the deleted scene from the movie so you can have extra firepower take down a swarm coming down a hallway. Even the motion tracker from the film is among your equipment so you’ll hear the familiar sound it makes when it detects movement.

In the live demonstration we got to see, we witnesses the Marines in action as they suddenly found themselves surrounded by a swarm. As Marines mow down the creatures, their acidic blood sprays and even limbs fly. We even see what they look like up close if one manages to get the drop on you. It’s quite a sight to see the creatures crawling out of vents from below and above as well as watch them crawl across the walls with their tails failing.

In the middle of all of this, we also get a peek at a new species of alien, one that seems to bulldoze anything in its path at a fast pace. Since its head is thicker and its skin a lot tougher, bringing it down by using small arms isn’t a very good idea.

Pitchford also made it loud and clear that Colonial Marines supports co-op play so you can have four-players taking up the role of other Marines to lend a hand during the campaign. Your friends can drop in and out of the game at any point as well.

Aliens: Colonial Marines will be available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC and the new Nintendo Wii U. Pitchford didn’t get into the specifics but he promises that the Nintendo Wii U version will bring new gameplay mechanics that make good use of the new platform’s capabilities.

This game has a release date of Spring 2012.

Categories: E3 First Look