I played a bunch of THQ and Capcom games last night, several of which were dark and at least one featured Storm.
I played THQ’s Darksiders on Xbox 360, including a new section where you find your horse. Every time I see this action/RPG it’s just that little bit more polished, raising hopes even further than it’ll scratch that Legacy of Kain itch I’ve been feeling since, well… since Eidos decided not to make any Legacy of Kain games for this console generation. Surprisingly, at least in terms of how good the game is looking, Darksiders has been pushed back to an early 2010 release window – most likely early February. But I guess it may well be a smart move to avoid losing a promising original game in the holiday crush.
Dark Void, published by Capcom and developed by Crimson Skies chaps Airtight, definitely looked better than the last time I saw it. The environments in the 360 version on display appeared to have benefited from a couple of extra graphical passes, particularly the indoor area. I still like the verticality of the levels and the seamless transition from jetpack flying to run-and-gun combat. Although I’d really like to see these feel like less of a transition and more of an option; for example, more areas where you can choose to go vertical or use the jetpack, or both, and more areas where you’re fighting vertically and laterally at the same time. I’m not sold on it yet – crucially, the story remains a complete mystery – but it’s making progress.
The other “dark” game I played was Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles on the Wii. Reimagining Resident Evil 2 as a light-gun shooter seems quite natural and uncontroversial, at least compared to the fan dismay that greeted EA’s announcement of Dead Space Extraction. Of course, the series is no stranger to the genre – Capcom having given us the Survivor spin-off – but this time it feels a lot closer to its survival horror roots than a zombie-themed shooting gallery. The slow, delibrate pace is interspersed with frantic moments of panic and flight. The frequent chatter between Chris and Jill serves to reinforce the co-operative bond. The controls work well, too, with a generous hitbox around collectible items like herbs and ammo, if not the enemies themselves. Alternate routes hint at a degree of replayability, but there are still question marks over what other elements Capcom has up its sleeve to reward repeat playthroughs.
Finally, I checked out Marvel Superhero Squad, also for the Wii. Based on the cartoon series, this is almost the polar opposite of the recent Wolverine game; where that was brutal and bloody, this is bright and bouncy. It’s very much a title aimed at Marvel’s younger fans, as the super-deformed likes of Thor, Wolverine, Hulk, Storm and the like brawl in comical fashion through various staged adventures and arena battles. Controls are kept simple: one button to attack (modified by pushing the thumbstick a particular direction), one to jump and some waggling for special moves. I only played one four-player arena battle where you keep fighting and respawning until someone reaches a designated number of “kills”. I won, natch, by doggedly focusing my efforts on the combatant with the lowest health, I’m pretty sure I secured plenty of cheap kills in my famous victory over representatives of Good Game and HYPER.
And that was pretty much my time at last night’s combined THQ and Capcom press event. (Well, I did play Lost Planet 2 for a bit, but it was the same boss-battle demo as at E3.) Then we had some beer.