Capcom E3 2009 Preview
Posted by ColliderStaff
Written by Brandon Bales
Capcom has a lot on the horizon going into this year’s big E3. Top titles like Lost Planet 2, Dark Void, Monster Hunter, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, and Fate, as well as newcomer Spyborgs are all on the horizon, and they were kind enough to let us get our paws on some of the treasure. Check out what we came away with!
Top-of-the-heap of Capcom’s ’09 lineup, and one of our most anticipated games of the year is Airtight Games’s sleek Dark Void. If you read our coverage of the game from last year’s E3, you might recall that we’ve been excited about this one for some time. Essentially mixing the good parts of Gears of War with frothy air combat via jetpack ( ! ), the game is poised to thrill and delight in equal measure.
As Will, you’re a hapless adventurer who’s pulled into a massive science-fiction casserole involving evil androids, the Bermuda Triangle, Nikola Tesla, and yes, jetpacks ( !! ). Gamers will be struck immediately by the piece’s commitment to conveying the rush of flight. It’s pretty thrilling to zip through vast canyons – nearly avoiding steep cliffs while going toe-to-toe with flying saucers and gunships. The game was crafted by members of the old team at the helm of last generation’s flying action game-to-beat Crimson Skies, and their influence is clear. Unlike last year, the build we played has given Will’s jetpack mounted cannons, and in this respect, the game plays a lot like Crimson Skies. The controls allow for easy maneuvering, with basic stick movements that allow you to perform barrel rolls and “immelmanns” to avoid danger or more expediently reach your targets. The new jetpack cannons are fun, and will be upgradeable ( as will Will’s “regular” on-foot arsenal. ) Also on display was the game’s hover mechanics that allow you a double jump, descend slowly from great heights, or as an “emergency brake” after flying full-speed around the levels.
According to the devs we talked to, the team has been pushing to further integrate the three main elements of the game – the open jetpack flying, the on-foot shooting, and vertical ascension ( think GoW’s cover system going straight up! ); last year, the demo was essentially broken into these segments. They seem to be on-track to integration, as the demo segment we played took us through a mid-game level showing off combinations of each feature quite well.
Overall, the game is a joy to play. Controls will take a little while to get used to, but they function quite well. After initially letting the jetpack’s heft crush us into walls in the tight corridors, it was immensely satisfying to figure out how to use a tiny burst of engine power to reach a ledge after mistiming a crucial jump.
Dark Void is shaping up to be a must-play game for 2009 – without a doubt. If there’s anything we might want to see tweaked from this point, it’s the feel of the guns in the character’s hands. There were times in the demo where we weren’t sure if the guns were connecting with the enemy’s bodies ( another Gears of War inheritance? ). That said, Dark Void looks to be Capcom’s freshest and most inviting offering for gamers in some time!
Develper Bionic’s Spyborgs was next up, and aims to fill-in the “brawler” gap apparent in the Nintendo Wii’s lineup.
Hearkening back to the quarter-munching tradition of game-days-gone-by, Spyborgs was created to bring those sensibilities into the hear-and-now. It’s a one or two-player co-op game ( naturally ), and it involves you or your AI-controlled buddy plodding down corridors and smashing your way through waves of insectoid creatures.
We were shown two of the initially three selectable characters, one a large brawler type, the other an agile female with a sword. The characters have two basic attacks each that can be chained into combos, as well as special moves triggered by a healthy dose of Wii waggle. The devs were quick to point out the game’s stylish team finishing moves, as well, that feature both characters kicking simultaneous butt via timed Wii movements.
Spyborgs is colorful and fun, though less “Saturday morning” than the previous incarnations. It seems that the team is aiming for a broader audience than the previous art style catered to, while also emphasizing more hardcore game elements. For example, the game’s combo system is co-operative, as well. The two characters get bonuses based on the combo multiplier, which is a total of both characters enemy strikes before taking damage. This combined with experience orbs offering weapon upgrades and new combos pushes the game towards a more Devil May Cry feel ( without being so punishingly difficult, of course ).
Spyborgs left a nice impression on us, and reminded us mostly, actually, of The Red Star ( anyone remember that one? ) for the PS2. It’s a deliberate throwback to the button-mashing glory achieved in such classics as Capcom’s own Final Fight. Any gamer can appreciate the pure bliss of this type of game – pressing myriad buttons over and over with delightful combos appearing, enemies falling…. But, here lie the pitfalls that may plague this game. With any button-masher, the controls are mostly simple, and the rewards come fast and loose. What might get in the way here are the Wii control motions that activate the special moves. This, of course, has been a problem since the Wii’s inception. We feel that a game should be an all or nothing affair when it comes to using Wii movements to perform actions. If the movements are not fully integrated, the player comes up against a jarring wall – button, button, button, button – WII MOVEMENT! And, most of these motions could easily be mapped to another button press, so as not to break up the game’s control flow…. Alas, who knows? Perhaps after an extended period of game-time the motion control would become second nature….
Regardless, Spyborgs looks to be a nice throwback filled with swords, guns, missiles, and killer combos. Time will tell how well it all comes together.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
The final game we saw was Marvel vs. Capcom 2. What’s that you say? This game was released in 2000? Ah, you are correct. What you don’t know is that the game will soon be re-released via Xbox Live and PSN as a downloadable title – with graphical upgrades to-boot!
That’s right, the wackiest Capcom fighting game ( barring this writer’s favorite, Power Stone 2 ) is finally available on this generation’s consoles after last appearing in homes via Sega’s Dreamcast. The generous Capcom community has responded to the prolonged fan outcry regarding this game, and they’ve prepared a version containing all of the old game, plus some gorgeously rendered new backgrounds, and new gameplay twists on the old formula.
All of the old things that made MvC2 so great and popular in tournaments for so long are still intact: pick your favorite Marvel Comics characters or member of the Capcom universe, and brawl your brains out. Now, however, you’ve got a choice of three fighters on your team, versus the previous two. So, you’ve got two assist characters to help you out, as well as lend a hand during the crazy three-pronged special attacks. Moves are simplified, too – buttons are down from six attack buttons to four attack buttons and two “assist” buttons that call in your teammates.
Old fans will jump for joy, as the crazy game is back in a big way. Newbies to the series will surely fall in love with the massive roster, simplified controls, and overall zaniness. Online, too, is available, which we’re assured will run as smooth as butter. Look for MvC2 next month!