Summary: JCal writes up his experience with some hands-on games such as TNA, Wheelman and This is Vegas at the Midway Games press event. Check it out along with tons of yummy screenshots.
We got a chance to go hands on with the games shown at Midway's event and have some initial impressions as well as some info on games that were announced but not yet playable
This time, however, Diesel and his production company Tigon Studios are working with Midway on an all-original game title (although you have to think that a movie based on Wheelman is in development as well). Diesel lends his likeness and voice to the title character Milo Burik, a man who on the surface is a “wheelman” who is hired to help speed the getaway of criminals in his trusty sports car. In reality Burik is an undercover agent who has an assignment to learn about a big heist in the city of Barcelona, Spain.
The developers at Midway Newcastle have worked directly with Diesel on not just his character but on the game design and it's clear that both the dev team and the actor love action and chase movies like The Transporter, Bullitt, the Bourne series, Ronin and more. We got to play through a few mission in the game and came away impressed with what Wheelman will bring to the action-driving genre.
The first mission has you as Burik getting a female thief out of the area while tons of law enforcement are coming after them. The driving portion of the game is perhaps not quite as frantic as, say, a race in the Burnout series but its awful close and you have the added issue of police vehicles and other obstacles that are following you relentlessly through the Barcelona streets. The tracks themselves have tons of destructible items that you can drive through and while some tracks are linear in scope there is enough variety in them that you won't feel like its completely closed off to you. Sometimes in certain scenes (say if you are driving up a ramp with lots of explosions around you) the game will take over for a few second to give you an in-game cinematic.
The combat in the game is two fold. One is using the car itself to side swipe vehicles and crash them into building and each other. A quick flick of the Xbox 360 left analog stick in either the left or the right direction can send enemy vehicles flying and you might want to switch to the back camera to see how many vehicle you can take out with just one movie.
In some other missions we played, we got to see the in-car shooting portion. Sometimes your “partner” in missions will shoot for you while you drive; you just have to get in a certain point on the road for your partner to target the enemy vehicle. The most fun is shooting while driving yourself. You can shoot through the windshield at, say, an incoming roadblock to explode one of the cars and take them all out before you reach the barrier. You can even start a move that causes your car to turn 180 degrees and lets you shoot cars and other vehicles behind you. All the shooting is not car based, though; some points of Wheelman have you get out and shoot in third person to accomplish certain missions.
The game, which uses Unreal Engine 3 as its basis, looks terrific even at this early stage. The car and damage models are realistic and the design of the game's version of Barcelona is packed with detail. The eye candy in Wheelman is considerable.
Our quick demo of Wheelman was a ton of fun to play. If you love car combat games like Burnout mixed with a Hollywood actor and storyline, you should definitely keep this game on your radar. The game is scheduled for release for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC later this fall.
The game itself has been in development for some time at Surreal Software. They have crafted a fictionalized version of Las Vegas that parodies a lot of what has made Sin City famous while at the same time staying true to the outrageousness of the real Vegas. Your player character is basically a nobody who in the game has to stop an evil businessman from turning Vegas into a family friendly tourist destination (something that the real Vegas tried to do in the 1980s.
The visual style of This is Vegas isn't dark and drab but highly colorful and fun. While the game itself takes place in a fictional version of Las Vegas you should be able to recognize a number of the real hotels that the game has based its own casinos on. Your job is basically to keep the (adult) party alive wherever you go. While there is crime in the game that's not supposed to be your main concern. Your missions are designed to get people jumping and playing.
We got to see three portions of the game' features. One is the hand-to-hand combat which apparently you will have to deal with at some point. The demo showed henchmen and even hotel mascots of the evil businessman going after you outside one of the casinos. Combat in the game lets you strike opponents and build up a meter that when full will allow you to use more powerful combat moves to strike down foes. When they finally go down they drop chips on the ground that you can collect and use as money for purchasing items.
Yet another portion of the game is the gambling segment. Blackjack and poker are just two of the games you will be able to partake in to gain even more money and respect in Vegas. While you can play these games straight, This is Vegas allows the player to “cheat”; that is, use a special command to look at cards in the game. When used they show off marks that indicate the value of each card when covered. However, using this cheating method also increases your suspicion meter. If it gets too high, casino pit bosses will know you are cheating and will throw you out of the game.
The final segment we saw was a demo of getting a party started in the game. You can go to a club with little action and start dancing on the dance floor. Hitting special combo dancing moves will get you points and more importantly get more people to come in and dance. You can also increase the party by being successful at serving drinks, getting rid of party poopers and even spraying girls down for a wet t-shirt contest.
One aspect of the game we didn't get to see was driving through the streets of Vegas in illegal street races. When ask if there might be mini-games that involve your character picking up women (a la Leisure Suit Larry) we were told by dev team members that they could not comment on that aspect.
This is Vegas looks to be a game that is for people who want to have lots of adult fun without a lot of the violence and shooting found in other open world action games. You can beta that Surreal and Midway will reveal more about the game before its fall 2008 release for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
While TNA shares many of the same characteristics as its main rival WWE (outrageous characters, good vs evil storylines, sexy “managers”) TNA's main claim is the six sided ring it uses in its matches as well as Ultimate X, a variation of the typical ladder match that has the wrestlers climb above the ring and then move over the ring via ropes in an attempt to reach an “X” in the center to win the match.
You will be able to create your own character and put him in a story mode as he rised up the ranks of TNA and battles the franchises famous wrestlers like Kirk Angle, Sting, or Samoa Joe. There will be online multiplayer in TNA Impact as well and players will be able to create their own match rules as well..
The Xbox 360 playable demo showed off the game' excellent graphics (powered, as most of Midway's games are, by Unreal Engine 3) with some highly detailed character models and some impressive animations for the wrestlers. It's a little too early to say if TNA Impact will dethrone THQ's WWE Smackdown Vs Raw brand but it certainly has the best show of any game that has been released in this genre for the past several years. The game will be released this September for the PS3, Xbox 360, PS2 and Wii consoles.
Unreal Tournament 3 for Xbox 360
The big announcement was of the next game in the Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise and the announcement confirmed what had been leaked on the Internet months ago. This new game will feature a number of the Kombat characters going up against a group of DC Comics super heroes. Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe will definitely be a new direction for the series including a toning down of the graphic violence compared to previous entries (no you won't be able to rip Batman's head off and see blood spurt everywhere).
A brief gameplay trailer showed Scorpion duking it out with Batman and Midway confirmed that Sub-Zero and Superman will also be in the game but wouldn't confirm anyone else at this point. The new title will also have some interesting features such as being able to fight while characters are in the air as well as locations like the Batcave, the Fortress of Solitute and others. Again expect more info on the game at E3 ahead of its fall 2008 release date
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