At a press event held in Los Angeles this afternoon, Acclaim Entertainment showed off the latest builds of NBA Jam and Alias.
Alias is the company's latest action adventure game, and it is based on the hit television series that stars Jennifer Garner as CIA agent Sydney Bristow. The games storyline follows the events that unravel toward the tail end of the series second season. You play through the game primarily as Sydney, although you do get to play through at least one mission as Vaughn, Sydneys love interest.
The gameplay in Alias looks similar to the 3D combat action featured in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You can pick up objects and weapons in the environments and use them against enemies, or you can just use Sydneys various martial-arts skills to take opponents out. Sydney can also utilize a number of gadgets in her quest, such as thermal goggles and a lock pick set to open doors similar to the way you do in Tom Clancys Splinter Cell.
One of the most interesting aspects of Alias gameplay is how the game utilizes a split-screen view to give you a deeper awareness of your surroundings. At key points during the gameplay, a second screen appears to show you a nearby object or enemy that you have to sneak by or disable. For example, in the demo we saw today, Sydney used a device to temporarily disable a camera. When the camera was disabled, it appeared in a second screen that moves from one side to the other to give you an indication of how long it is disabled for.
All the voice acting in the game has been provided by the actual television cast and is used primarily in CG cutscenes before and after missions.
After the demonstration of Alias, we got a chance to play a near-final build of NBA Jam for the Xbox and PlayStation 2.
While the gameplay seems based on the original NBA Jam games, the new version seems to have a fair amount of new features and style that set it apart. The game is three-on-three, and it is still just as fast and over the top, with big dunks and little in the way of rules. The original announcer is back, along with the ability to have a player become on fire, which allows you to make even more-outrageous dunks and shots.
New this time around is a legend mode that lets you play as 50 of the greatest players from the past 50 years. In this mode, the game is played in black and white with a subdued announcer and a crowd that is dressed to fit the era. Also new in the regular jam mode is a jam meter that fills when you consistently do well. Once the jam meter is filled, you can activate a hot-spot locator that shows you a circle on the floor. If you get to this spot, you'll be able to perform one of more than 45 monster dunks that are the craziest dunks ever seen in a NBA Jam game. Also included is an unlockable mode where you can use points earned in the game to unlock arenas, players, and equipment.
Following the NBA Jam session, Acclaim showed off two short teaser trailers for All-Star Baseball 2005 and Legends of Wrestling Showdown. They wouldnt say much about either title, but they did say they were working on making them the best of their respective series. The only facts they let slip out was that Jake "The Snake" Roberts would be one of the many new wrestlers featured in Legends of Wrestling Showdown, and that they wanted to make the game a bit more realistic. Legends of Wrestling Showdown has a targeted release date of March 2004.
Well have more details and media on all the Acclaim titles shown today, including developer interviews, later this week.