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Archive for October 2008

Mirror’s Edge Demo Impressions

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Once the demo has loaded and the game is started, the player is (quite literally) put into the shoes of Faith, a ‘runner’ whose job is to get information to interested parties quickly, and without drawing attention to herself. The cut-scene that heralds the start of the game, appears largely inconsequential at this stage, as it is merely a flash-esque animation that briefly details Faith and her motivations. Moving on to the meat of the demo, the player is greeted with the training tutorial, whereby fellow runner Celeste takes the player through all the skills that they will need to succeed in the game.

It’s here that after you take your first initial few unsure steps in this new world that it becomes apparent that where Mirror’s Edge very much succeeds is in providing the player with a palpable sense of connection to the world that they are in. Looking down, the player no longer appears to be floating off the ground as is seemingly the norm in games utilising the first person perspective, instead red sneakered feet, attached to a set of tracksuited legs bridge the gap between the player and the ground.

Thankfully, Mirror’s Edge succeeds in taking this concept further with the parkour style platforming that protagonist Faith, has been famed for since that first trailer released. Faith reaches out her arms to grip onto ledges, fences and other surfaces to pull herself up, and as she does so, the view point shifts to her hands as she concentrates on pulling herself up (as opposed to just staring forward while you seemingly just levitate straight up).

The range of acrobatics that Faith commands is suitably staggering, encompassing wall runs, 180 degree turns in mid-air, baseball slides and many more besides. While all of these kinds of manoeuvres may have been showcased previously in third person games such as Assassins Creed, such comparisons are perhaps churlish, as its the perspective which proves to be difference maker, and it’s the perspective (more so than perhaps any other game to use it) that forces you to hold your breath as you make that death defying leap across buildings after executing a perfect wall-run.

Compounding the inappropriateness of the likening of Mirrors Edge as first person equivalent to Creed’s own medieval acrobatics, is the fact that most of movements in the latter require very little skill or timing to pull off successfully. Yet in Mirrors Edge it is the skill to pull off these moves from the first person that proves as difficult as it is rewarding – perhaps finally bringing the skill testing of pixel-perfect jumping (previously exclusive to the realm of 2D and 3D third person platformers) into the first person perspective without ever frustrating.

An integral mechanic to these acrobatics is momentum. Again, being in line with its parkour stylings, Faith needs to perpetually generate momentum to ensure that each manoeuvre is made comfortably so that one set of movements joins into a combination with another set without any loss of speed. This in itself provides the player with a real test of skill and nerve as both are required to keep the unrelenting pace required to make the goal of getting the quickest times in the time trial mode sustainable.

Prior to actually playing the game, you would be forgiven for bringing into question the issue of navigation around the cityscapes in which Faith’s kinetic shenanigans take place, but thankfully DICE has included something called ‘runner vision’, a useful visual indicator that douses potential runways and climbable routes in a shade of red so that they can be spotted in good time.

Combat too, while not particularly complex or deep, benefits from this also with punches and kicks connecting nicely, and disarming moves looking suitable realistic with arms being bent behind backs and knees being brought up into the players view just as they are being slammed into the face of an unfortunate adversary.

Visually, the title calls up the clinical ‘tech clean’ of the first matrix film, with vivid and stark primary colours being washed across the innumerable skyscrapers and buildings that make up Faith’s acrobatic playground. Further compounding this comparison, are the characters and the opposing ‘authorities’ that Faith encounters, with the mixture of alternative cool and clinical authority tipping it’s hat at the visual stylings Wachoski Brothers dystopian sci-fi opus.

So now it is that we arrive at a sense of irony. Faith, what she can do, the world she lives in and the characters that inhabit her world give the player the sort of breathlessly exciting experience that they wished the Matrix licensed games could have been.

Mirrors Edge has perhaps got it right – this is how you give legs to the first person perspective genre, you just have to make it believable.

Post your impressions people 🙂

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Written by bitsnark

October 31, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Mirror’s Edge demo on PSN today, XBOX Live tomorrow

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Everybody who owns either a 360 or PS3 will be in for a bit of a treat today as a demo of EA Dice’s flamboyant parkour/FPS hybrid Mirror’s Edge will be available to download today for PSN users and tomorrow for XBOX Live users.

Don’t forget also the time trial mode that will be unlockable to those of you who pre-ordered the game.

Impressions for this will be due shortly*.

*As soon as I can get home from work, download the demo and play it.

Written by bitsnark

October 30, 2008 at 2:05 pm

Fallout 3… Tomorrow!!

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Yeah,.. just a little bit excited.

Written by bitsnark

October 30, 2008 at 11:06 am

New Elder Scrolls Title Suggested for 2010 Release

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Going on from the Fallout (yeah, it’s a shoddy pun, cry me a river) created by Bethesda’s latest massive RPG romp, news comes to my ears that Bethesda’s publishing exec, Paul Oughton, has alluded to a fifth title in the popular RPG series due in 2010.

Well, there goes 1600 hours of social time out the window.

In addition to this, he has ruled out any Bethesda RPG’s appearing on the Wii platform, citing the ‘saturation’ of the market, and although not disclosed, the technical complexities of their titles would be an issue also.

Taken from 1up.com, here are the quotes from Mr Oughton:

“At the moment we’ve got Fallout 3 for this year and potentially there’s a new Elder Scrolls title in 2010,”

“At the moment we’re not that interested in the Wii, we’re going to stick to PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.”

“Nintendo brought new products in with vast amounts of marketing money to launch these into the minds of the consumer and made a market for them. Every other publisher then very quickly developed DS and Wii products and we’re getting to saturation now.”

Roll on 2010.

Written by bitsnark

October 30, 2008 at 10:55 am

Two more days until fallout 3!

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Just. Cant. Wait.

Review will be posted as soon as I can wrench myself away from it.

(Don’t hold your breath)

Written by bitsnark

October 29, 2008 at 9:33 am

CG Resident Evil Film – Resident Evil Degeneration, due on US DVD & Blu-Ray for December 30th 2008

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Based on the popular videogame series, Resident Evil: Degeneration is an all CG movie due on DVD and Blu-Ray in the US on December 30th.

From what trailers have been shown, the flick won’t set the world on fire, but it’s actually faithful to the source material (unlike the live-action Resident Evil movies) and is essentially paramount to a 97 minute CG cut-scene (a popular description of the film made by people who have seen it).

Well, armed with the comforting knowledge that it can’t fail as badly as it’s live action counterparts and being a Resi fan, i’m quite looking forward to this, I just hope that a UK release date isn’t far behind or at the very least, the US Blu-Ray is not region coded (likely, due to the fact that most Sony Blu-Ray titles aren’t usually region coded).

Fingers crossed.

Link for the trailer below:

Written by bitsnark

October 29, 2008 at 9:25 am

Left 4 Dead Demo Incoming on 360 and PC

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With zombie slaying pretty much in season for videogames recently (see World Of Warcraft and GTA IV), much anticipation has been shed over Valve’s upcoming zombie survive/blast-a-thon Left 4 Dead.

A source of particular anticipation was the announcement over a month ago that a demo would be released for the title. We now know the dates and there is the good news, and the not-quite-so-good-but-nothing-we-can-do-about-it news.

Firstly the latter. The demo is due for release on November 6th; but only if you have pre-ordered it. At the time of writing, no retail outlets high street or online have any kind of promotion in place relating to this, so a reasonable assumption can be made that this is an offer for lucky US folk at present.

And now the good news. While pre-ordering it means that you get a taste of some zombie slaughtering action on November 6th, the demo will be released to everybody on XBOX Live and on PC on November 11th; a week before the title releases.

So that means me, you and Joe-average sat in the corner there can play it on November 11th regardless.

Happy days.

Written by bitsnark

October 29, 2008 at 9:18 am

The first one isn’t even out yet!! Little Big Planet 2 already being worked on

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The current darling of Sony’s Q4 lineup appears to have spawned a sequel in development – before the original title is even released.

According to a BBC news report, Media Molecule – those ever so talented folks who made the first game are apparently beavering away on a follow up to their platforming, creative triumph.

Link below:

http://uk.ps3.ign.com/articles/924/924127p1.html

Written by bitsnark

October 27, 2008 at 11:05 pm

Hollywood’s affair with game adaptations: Army Of Two to hit the big screen

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In what seems to be an increasingly popular venture in recent times, yet another title is due to receive the game-to-film treatment. T

his time, it’s EA’s less than stellar co-op shooter Army of Two. Intriguingly, I believe that a movie is perhaps a more suitable home for the buddy antics contained within the game, and as a result, would fall quite nicely into the ‘Lethal Weapon’ category of those sorts of films.

What I would suggest is that they perhaps tone down some of the silly stereotyping (one mission has the pair shooting wave upon wave of suicide bombers, blowing up as they do) and look at the setting a little bit more sensibly.

In terms of production duties, Bourne Ultimatum co-writer Scott Z Burns is working on the script with Peter Berg (The Rundown, The Kingdom, Hancock) in talks for the directors chair.

More when it turns up.

Written by bitsnark

October 24, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Germany to miss out on Re-emergence day and possibly Japan too…

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Gears of War 2 will NOT be hitting Germany and possibly not Japan.

I can kinda understand why Germany won’t be receiving epic games latest gore-filled chainsaw wielding opus, but Japan? Really? Let’s consider a few things first; GTA IV has just been released in Japan with no cuts. The decapitation and dismemberment fest that is Ninja Gaiden II, was also released with no cuts, and hell even the original Gears Of War was released with NO CUTS.

http://uk.gamespot.com/news/6199807.html?tag=latestheadlines;title;2

Written by bitsnark

October 23, 2008 at 9:35 am

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