Developed by: Shiny
Published by: Inteplay
Messiah official page: http://www.messiah.com
What can you say about a game that has been in the works for around three years? It better be damn good is what. We first heard of Messiah back in 1997. Back when life was carefree and we could still use two numbers for the year in most applications. I think my roommates and I have an old magazine with the little angel on the cover still in the bathroom. So what's up with this cherubic little character?
Yesterday, the developers of Messiah came down to our office and gave us a little tour of the game along with some other goodies. From what we have played of the full game, it looks very very cool. The intro CG looked fantastic, and the in game graphics are just as spectacular.
My Boom Stick!
The Low Down On the Story
You basically start out as a little angel who is tossed out of heaven at the behest of God to sort stuff out with those people that were created in his image. It seems that mankind has created a portal to hell and is keeping the Devil captive as a bargaining chip of sorts. So God decided to lay down the smack by sending Bob (you) to earth.
See Bob Run. See Bob Possess.
Bob is a cherub that can glide, fly and run. But these are his minor attributes. Where this game gets interesting is in his ability to possess people. One can commandeer such characters as officers of the law all the way to the buxom prostitutes. This opens a whole new can o' worms in terms of game play. The different bodies have different abilities in terms of items, strength, clearances, just to name a few. With this many options, one can either brute force their way through the game with neck breaking and knee shooting tactics, or go for a little finesse and find solutions that don't involve much slaughter.
In playing the game, most characters will kick or shoot at Bob upon sight, so stealth is of the utmost concern when not possessing a person. This adds the extra challenge of getting rid of a possessed body and still being able to get away in time to hop into another body. Another neat tactic was to possess a person, jump off a high ledge ledge with him, and hope the body took damage in terms of a broken leg. You can then de-possess the character, and run around as Bob without fear (unarmed characters tend to kick poor little Bob around - break their legs, and they can't kick, right?).
Third Person Possessor
A few other important tidbits are worth mentioning. First off, the game is played entirely in the third person perspective; the programmers seem to have a done a decent job of it. Also, there is no multi-player aspect to this game but that doesn't seem to be a loss. The in-game AI has been extraordinary thus far. As an example, we saw enemies scrambling around the room to pick up larger weapons to take down Bob - they'd even run to pick them up off the ground from fallen comrades. With AI like that, we're not going to mourn the lack of multi-player very much. The game also contains region-based damage. We shot a person in the throat and the body fell to the floor all the while shooting a geyser of blood through the air. One can also deal out crippling knee shots, and neck breaking attacks to name a few. And for those overkill people out there, you can kick a corpse or even torch it. Amazingly enough, those were requested features by members of the focus groups that Messiah was tested on.
Graphics are most impressive in this game. When Stuart Roch (producer of Messiah) sat down and set the resolution to 1280x1024 I thought for sure he was on crack. The tessellation feature that was talked about works phenomenally well from what we have seen of it so far. Take note that we didn't have it on a GHz CPU with a 64MB DDR card; the computer we ran the game on was a P3 500 with a TNT2. I don't think I have played any game at that resolution with a decent frame rate and a high amount of detail.
Hopefully our opinions of this game will stay as high as they are now. If only for my sake, it's been too long since I have played a truly good game. Stay tuned for the review. Same bat time, same bat channel! And enjoy the screenshots on the following pages.