gamescom 2010 - The Shootening
Ever since E3 switched back to its old format, gamescom has been suffering somewhat. Most of the publishers tend to bring their old builds to Europe, since it would be rather uneconomical to produce a new demo for a show that is this close. Sony, Disney Interactive and Capcom decided to completely skip gamescom 2010 even. Nevertheless, the show attracted over 254,000 visitors this year.
Sony—a company that always cared more about the European shows than Nintendo or Microsoft—finally got around to announcing Resistance 3. What a relief! The genre of grey/brown-ish, irony-free sci-fi shooters in which you get to fight an alien invasion or something along those lines had been starving for so long now after all. Obviously, it wasn't the only action title that made it to Cologne this year.
“People Can Fly” isn't just the name of the developers of Bulletstorm, it's also the motto of the game. People fly. A lot.
The main hook of the shooter is its score system, which rewards you for finding creative/complex ways to get rid of your enemies. You can shoot them, you can kick them, you can drag them to you with some kind of “electric leash.” Or you could use the leash to capture and then kick them and shoot them. Crotch-shot inclusive. Not to mention the killing options the environment provides.
When I saw a presentation of the various methods to dispose of your enemies, I actually felt slightly weirded out. However, within minutes of playing the actual game, I was enjoying doing exactly all that. Funny how that works.
As you're playing the game, you'll run across pods that let you upgrade a weapon of your choice. For instance, your electric leash can be used to deliver an explosive charge. The PMC rifle gets an additional fire mode that lets you shoot 100 bullets at once.
It's hard to say if the score system still motivates in the long run, but I'm certainly looking forward to the result, since PCF had also worked on Painkiller, and like Painkiller, Bulletstorm doesn't always take itself too seriously.
No breaking scoop was to be done here. I already saw Rage at last year's gamescom, and since you've probably read thousands of previews by now, I'm not going to describe the basics again. The one thing that had changed: My appointment was with Bethesda instead of EA this year.
Matt Hooper and his crew showed the three car types that are available in the game as well as some vehicular combat. They then played three different levels to illustrate the diversity of the environments. Dear id Software: Sewer levels haven't been proof of diversity since, well, ever. That said, the game still looks impressive and better than anything else that was present at the show. The level of detail is remarkable. Unfortunately, as long as it's just id demoing the game, you can't really say how open the game world actually is.
Enemies know how to take advantage of ceiling structures or leap off walls while closing in on you. Which, according to Hooper, is not a scripted event, but wired into the AI. It happened rather frequently and I can only assume that if you were to face the mutants in an empty desert that features nothing but a single telephone pole, they'd still leap off that pole while trying to attack you just because it's there. Either way, it makes it a bit more challenging than id's previous standard cannon fodder. Also, this not being Quake or Doom doesn't mean you won't run into bigger bosses.
Warhammer 40.000: Space Marine
Relic's second console project—which is also being developed for PC though—is a mixture of third-person shooter and hack'n'slay game. The shooting part seemed to predominate though.
The main character, Titus, happens to be a part of a Space Marine campaign to free an Ork-infested planet: a world solely dedicated to the mass production of weapons. The design of the (quite linear) levels does mirror this quite well and provides some interesting architectural concepts.
There are a number of guns available. If you get closer to the enemy, you can switch to melee weapons such as the chain sword, the power sword or the thunder hammer. If you use a particular weapon to kill enemies, Titus will gain XP that can be invested to unlock weapon-specific skills and special moves, such as a charged shot with the plasma rifle. Altogether, there will be about 15 weapons. There also are character-specific skill upgrades such as the bull rush, which can be used to get into melee range quickly.
The actual gameplay looked solid, but also makes me hope that Relic deviates from the standard in other levels. I was shown the obligatory crosshair/turret shooting sequence. And yes, there's also a train level.
There's no specific cover system in Space Marine, because the studio thinks that it would clash with their concept of what a Space Marine is: a slow and robust tank with an astonishing battlefield presence that slowly, but surely, moves into the action to kick ass and take names. A cover system also wouldn't work well together with their melee combat approach.
Raphael van Lierop mentioned co-op and multiplayer modes, but didn't want to share any further details. He also noted that there aren't any direct narrative ties to the Dawn of War series, but the Blood Ravens may get some sort of cameo appearance.
Games/products to be covered in part 2: Torchlight 2, From Dust, Kirby's Epic Yarn and 3DS among others.