The Eurogamer Expo 2011 was so packed with co-op titles that Co-Optimus had to separate the preview into three news items! Part 2 sticks with the ‘mature’ theme and looks at Inversion, Saints Row: The Third and Starhawk.
Inversion and a tuna sandwich, does life get much better?
Of all the games on show at Eurogamer Expo 2011, Inversion was perhaps the one I knew least about. What type of game would it be? A two player buddy shooter like Army of Two? Or perhaps a physic based puzzle shooter like Lucasarts' ill-fated Fracture? It turned out to be an ultra-gory mix of both those games, with more than a small dollop of Gears for good measure.
The mission I played opened on a green/brown landscape similar to the first Gears game. You play as one of two wise cracking heroes who it appears must shoot everything in sight. I was expecting a game that would be part gunplay, but also part physics based. I was able to use some of the physics mechanics – one type made the enemies float into the air; the other flattened them to make easy targets. There were also several environment based traps I could use; collapse a bridge or unchain a vehicle.
The physics of the game certainly proved a unique element when compared to the smorgasbord of third person shooters already out. Therefore, it was a shame that the game appeared to be more interested in visceral action and gore, than science. The physics appeared to be another way of ripping you enemies to shreds. Limbs, heads and bodily fluids began to serenely float around the gaming area – Namco are certainly planning to put the sick into physicks.
The game should be good fun in co-op, but will probably provide a level of entertainment below the likes of Army of Two: The 40th Day. I’m increasingly jaded by developers adding gore in a game for gore's sake. An intelligent physics based shooter is looking like it may be undone by Saber Interactive’s determination to play to the ‘mature’ gamer crowd.
They have yet to turn my opinion of the game on its head. *I'm here all week, try the veal*
Ity. You Saints.
Saints Row: The Third
As a series I have mixed feelings about Saints Row. On a positive note the second game had some excellent co-op play allowing two players to work their way through the campaign and the side missions as a pair. The character models and various outfits were a joy to try out. Saints Row: The Third is looking to take these elements and improve on them even further; bigger, better, more insane.
However, having had some hands on time with the game many of the negative aspects of the previous games are back; the OTT swearing and sexualization of characters. On occasion the game borders on the crass, undermining an otherwise excellent co-op experience.
On a more basic level the game feels and looks better. The vehicles are far easier to handle and the gunplay is a little cleaner. Moving around and finding missions or side quests is as simple as in Saints Row 2, so co-op fans should be in for a lot of crazy two player action. I managed to play a classic style ‘insurance scam’ mission; the physics and character models felt a lot more stable this time.
From the crowds gathering around the many demo pods of the game it is clear that Saints Row: The Third should be the most popular in the series yet. I for one am planning to overlook the base humor so that I can enjoy the elements of quality gaming that work.
Zelda tried to sneak onto the Starhawk demo stand
Having missed out on Starhawk’s spiritual predecessor, Warhawk, I was keen to get some time with the new game to see what the fuss was about. I was given the opportunity in a horde style defense mode; I had to protect a set of buildings from a series of enemies. As part of my arsenal I was able to collect tokens and spend them on building new weapons and vehicles, including massive mechs and planes.
When on the ground the game felt like the non co-op Red Faction: Guerrilla, the constant crumbling of buildings and ability to upgrade new weapons. However, once you step into a vehicle the game comes into its own; depending on what you choose you can play a mech based shooter, or arcade flyer. I was able to get some decent time playing with the mech suit and it is great fun. This game mode essentially played like being in a 3 dimensional tower defense game and my lead spewing mech was the ultimate tower.
With so many options of weapons and vehicles to choose from, co-op players are going to have to communicate well if they are to succeed. If everyone builds a plane and flies off the edge of the map, it will leave the defense open to attack.
There is great potential in Starhawk’s wave attack mode.