Despite having been tethered to a booth myself, providing the kind, profanity spitting citizens of New York Comic Con our finest gaming fabrics, I somehow managed to sneak away and see my truest love: Resident Evil.
The demo itself was lightning quick – likely to give as many fans waiting in the snaking line surrounding Capcom’s booth as possible a chance to re-greet Claire Redfield and become newly acquainted with her fashion-conscious, F-bomb dropping partner Moira Burton (come to think of it, she might be a New Yorker herself). I barreled through the demo, trying to soak in the rank, wet prison facility our heroines were trapped in as fast as can be since I was technically on the clock, but in my brief tryst with Revelations 2, I saw enormous potential.
Here’s to a Helluva Good Time: Doom Reveal Impressions
Thanks to my travelling man stint courtesy of my job, I happened to get access to the closed-door reveal event for id Software’s Doom revival held at the 19th annual Quakecon. Yeah, they showed the game in action. Cutting straight to the point with a spinning chainsaw blade, the footage was absolutely fucking killer. I’ve never been so excited for Doom.
The presentation began with some foreplay – precursory details about the game that set the tone for where id is heading with this quasi-reboot. Namely, we’re going back to Mars, a setting the dev team felt Doom belonged (which all but squashes the originally proposed Earth backdrop). Though it’s unlikely you need any more preamble past “demons and shotgun,” the story revolves around a research institute called UAC experimenting on Hell’s denizens, combining machine and monster because… there’s nothing else to shoot on Mars?
id scrapped the “Doom 4” moniker in favor of just “Doom” for a reason. It’s not a remake so much as it’s an homage to everything about the series that’s been lauded and beloved by fans over it’s nearly twenty year lifespan. It was stressed that this game doesn’t fall in step with the modern day FPS convention of “cover-shooting” that forces you to wait behind barricades while your health regenerates. As in days of yore, this Doom has you running and gunning, dodging flying projectiles and getting in your enemy’s face for the kill. What was shown off was fast-paced, almost reckless gunplay that called back to the genre’s formative years.
The footage had our helmeted space marine navigating a darkly atmospheric environment that resembled a cross between Aliens’ LV-426 and Hellraiser’s torture-scapes. The levels aren’t one-dimensional planes, either. More than a few times, our marine dabbled in light platforming to get up and above; he’s even got himself a short jet-pack burst that serves as a sort of double jump.
Stopping and smelling the Martian roses became a secondary endeavor, however, once demons started spilling onto the scene. This… this is where I felt a yawning maw of a craving for this game and it’s because of a new combat mechanic that, honestly, every FPS might gladly rip-off once Doom drops. In the gorey heat of battle, you’ll sometimes notice a pulsing glow envelop enemies you weaken with gunfire. That gives you the ability to launch into an instant kill finisher that literally tears demons apart. We saw chest cavities caved in, heads knocked clean off, and things happen to jaws that shouldn’t happen to jaws.
The moves are contextually sensitive, meaning that if you’re near a wall, well of course your Doom Guy will bash a demon’s skull into it. Are they down on the ground? You’re mashing skulls like you’re making wine. Happen to be mid-air? Imagine the real world result of Mario descending boots first upon a Goomba. It adds a layer of moment-to-moment choice where the result is you mincing up a room of enemies in the most horrifically pleasing way possible.
And because you’re looking to revive your health instead of regenerate it, the dev’s cleverly have demons drop healing pick-up’s, encouraging you to blast and mash away in order to chain kills and keep your energy from falling. Instead of feeling like a holdover from FPS days of yore, it actually adds this frantic, kinetic feel to the combat that just makes me salivate.
The game plans on throwing the entire hordes of Hell and its next-door neighbors at you. Some fights escalated to rooms packed with a mixed-bag of enemy types. Fireballs and claws filled the player’s vision. Luckily, a new weapon radial allows you to pause the action Mass Effect-style and choose the best killin’ instrument to make sweet music with. And, man, do the weapons look awesome. There’s an automatic shotgun equipped with rapid-fire, an intensely accurate plasma rifle, the classic overpowered double-barrel, a friggin’ rocket launcher and – though conventional – a good ol’ fashioned chainsaw that provided the demo’s most gruesomely satisfying moments of bifurcation.
Multiplayer was confirmed, though only insomuch as to confirm it existed. Beyond that, 1080p and a silky 60fps were guaranteed for the next-gen title (yes, it being Quakecon, any mention of consoles was met with immediate and resounding “Boo’s”).
The footage killed it for the crowd, ovations and loudness ensuing. For me… It made a crater of an impression. What was shown doesn’t just seem like an evolution for this series but the potential push the entire FPS genre needs to break away from tired ideas introduced last-generation. It looks fast, bloody, and incredibly fun. id definitely has something big on their hands here. Bigger than a BFG.
Steel Yourself for Injustice’s Demo Next Week
The DC Universe is on a dastardly collision course with itself (again). Soon, comic and fighting game fans will get to have a hands-on with WB and NetherRealm’s superpowered slobber-knocker, Injustice: Gods Among Us. April 2nd sees PSN’s demo of the game while Xbox Live receives it the day after.
Featuring the Gotham City stage, players will be given Batman, Wonder Woman, and Mr. Lex Luthor to bruise up, the trio representative of the two class types characters fall into; either those imbued with powers or those reliant on gadgets. Injustice drops April 16th for the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U (no demo in sight for the system, however).
I don’t care where your fighting game loyalties lie, you can’t deny NetherRealm Studios has seriously ramped up their game in the last couple of years. Formerly Midway Games, NetherRealm floored the industry when they reinvented their bloody cash cow, Mortal Kombat, into a technically deep, graphical stunner that gave every other contender in the genre an honest run for their money. If Injustice is anywhere near sweeping distance of MK9 in terms of quality, we’ll just go ahead and exonerate NetherRealm of its past crimes.
Capcom’s attempt to reboot this relatively fresh hack n’ slash franchise has been met with the harshest of resistance from day one, forcing DmC into the unenviable position of having to prove itself to longtime fans all over again while still managing to bring in a new generation of would-be demon hunters under its wing. After having most of the year covered with an avalanche of trailers, screens, gameplay previews, and a slew of interviews with people trying to convince you the game is good and that, yes, it really is still Devil May Cry, the general masses are now privy to the one thing both detractors and supporters have been asking for all along: a demo.
Silent Hill: Book of Memories Demo Arriving for Vita Next Week
Whisked away from the critical flops that were Silent Hill’s HD Collection and the full-fledged sequel Downpour, Wayforward Technologies’ portable Book of Memories is finally seeing release on October 16th.
Exclusively designed for the PS Vita, Book of Memories infuses multiplayer – something not even its console counterparts have dared try – into a dugeon-crawling RPG that has masked itself in the skin of a survival horror game. You’d think such a cocktail would come across as disjointed as one of Silent Hill’s hapless abominations, but early impressions paint Book of Memories in a positive light (and thank the Old Ones for that; the Vita could use more meat on its library’s bones).
Come this Tuesday, North American Vita fans will be able to download a demo for the game, finally giving Hill fans a hands-on with 2012’s last entry into the franchise.