A trio of action platformers and a happy gamer on his way to an expo!
Enslaved/ Castlevania /Vanquished
I’ve decided to clump all these games together into one uber-preview because they are all 3rd person action games that are either just about to come out, or coming soon. Call it lazy or practical – you choose (although I would prefer you to think of it as practical).
Contestant number one is Enslaved, from the studio that brought you Heavenly Sword. The preview I saw was similar to the recently released demo and was a large chunk of the first level of the game. Graphically the game was not as pretty as Heavenly Sword and showed the jagged battle scars of a game that has gone Multi format. This is not to say that it didn’t have its moments, with epic set pieces and cut scenes both looking very impressive. The game handled well, a cross between Assassin Creed’s free running and Uncharted’s platforming. The battle system was a classic generic action fighter, with perhaps too many button combinations; this will please the veteran gamer, but could alienate novices. Despite my misgivings with the well worn game mechanics, I was so suitably impressed with the story, voice acting and impressive vistas that I have picked up a copy on release.
My opinion was not so rosy for Castlevania. An impression of a game is not always best served during an event like Eurogamer as you do not get the time to really experience the game. This is probably the case with me and Castlevania. In the time I was given the controls felt far too lose for my liking and the battle system was even more complex than Enslaved, as it threw in multiple weapons as well as different strengths of attack. It seems that Castlevania is another step up in terms of appeal to the core 3rd person action game fan. The ‘Vania did have a sense of the epic and I was treated to a boss battle against a giant golem – before I could say Shadow the Colossus I realized that I was having a good time. Perhaps Castlevania will be a little generic, but it certainly ticks a lot of the boxes when it comes to quality gaming.
Finally, I had a go on Vanquished. I knew less about this game than the other two and it came as a nice surprise. Low and behold it was yet another 3rd person action game, but if Enslaved was approachable for new comers, and Castlevania was daunting; Vanquished will be as about as inviting as the annual Christmas party as hosted by the Grinch and Scrooge. Vanquished is the Japanese take on the genre, bald space marines are replaced by tech suit wearing lady boys and aliens are replaced by mega mechs. The extended level I played was surprisingly fun, but also absolutely insane with guns firing off all over the place and robots dropping from the sky. Control wise there were more buttons to learn than the other two games combined; which was challenging, but would suit hardcore gamers well. Like in the previous two games a sense of the epic also makes it into this game with fearsome battles against giant robots. Vanquished seemed to combine the frantic action of Gears with the mech love of Lost Planet 2 – a combination that will scare some people, but draw others in.
From my brief time with Enslaved, Castlevania and Vanquished I was impressed with all three. I am a fan of the 3rd person action platformer/shooter/mech genre and all of them seemed like solid games that, although perhaps not AAA, will certainly entertain.