Bionic Commando Hands-On

We equipped our mechanical claw for this reimagining of Capcom's classic franchise.

Capcom has been on something of a hot streak of late. Kicking off the year with Street Fighter IV was a great start, but one short month later, the Japanese publisher added to that success with Resident Evil 5. Its third major release of the year is Bionic Commando, a reimagining of its classic 2D arcade game into a 3D world. With the game entering its final stages of development, we got to play through a good chunk of the nearly finished code to see how it's shaping up.

The new Bionic Commando comes from Swedish development house GRIN, who just released Wanted: Weapons of Fate. The developers have essentially taken the grapple-hook mechanic of the original game and transferred it to 3D, allowing you to swing like Spider-Man from nearly any object in the game. Not only that, but you can use it to pull enemies towards you for executions, as well as to pick up huge objects, such as cars.

The game is set in an unspecified future, where the government has started to enhance human soldiers with bionic upgrades. The results are amazing, and the cybernetic soldiers help win wars and put an end to human battle. With the conflict over, the people soon turn against their saviours, and you join the story as Spencer, a Bionic Commando who has been locked up for five long years. There has been a terrorist attack on Ascension City, and the world once again needs to call on its cybernetic hero to save the world.

As you should be able to tell, Bionic Commando doesn't place much of an emphasis on story. The story just serves to place you in the middle of a postapocalyptic open-world setting, and it does this in admirable style, with an intro that sees you placed inside a missile and fired into the city from a jet fighter. Missing your cybernetic arm, you spend the first level running around with only one hand, before you soon manage to find your claw.

From here, it's a simple task of familiarising yourself with the claw functions in the training levels. It's actually quite difficult to get used to swinging at first, mostly because you need to time it precisely to maintain momentum, all while aiming at your next grapple point. If you time these aspects correctly, you can traverse huge distances with grace, while the main character's iron boots let you absorb the impact of falls.

Whereas the swinging mechanics work really well, the combat elements are less successful. The standard pistol can kill most foot soldiers with a few shots, and you don't need to be accurate to register a hit. You can also use the grapple hook as a weapon, dragging enemies to you or pressing the A button to jump on them. This is particularly useful with the larger mechlike enemies, who have a big yellow button that you can jump on to kill them, and if you're good enough, you can use your momentum to link jumping combos like some acrobatic killing machine.

We were also slightly disappointed by the restrictions of this open world. You're nearly always boxed in by radiation and water, both of which are deadly despite your mechanical upgrades. Huge blue walls indicate the radiated areas you can't enter, but water is even more deadly, requiring you to haul yourself out of it lest you electrocute yourself. As you progress, the flooded areas become even more expansive, and it's easy to die if you miss a jump.

He sure can swing, but is he king of the urban jungle?

One of the best weapons we got to play with was the rocket launcher, which allows you to target and then destroy multiple targets. This is pretty much essential for destroying airborne targets, and because there's no cover system, you need to keep moving or putting cover between you and your enemies. We also liked the nods to the original game, such as the sprite-based collectibles and the GRIN logo featured on the planes.

The finished game will be out on May 29 in Europe, and you can be sure we'll be putting the game through its full paces just ahead of this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo.

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Discussion

70 comments
Sir3tt
Sir3tt

Wow theres so many ppl who dont like this game and i bet most of them dont even know what a good quality game is im impressed by what it has become from october and hopefully it will become another instant classic from capcom

Sovereign_13
Sovereign_13

the combat looks pretty boring and it seems like the camera it would cause some problems

miguelpaco
miguelpaco

loved the original, wont be getting this, whats with the tree-hugger look?

valcrist09
valcrist09

the combat and cam angles look horrible.. I will not be getting this game.. like 90% of this game is swinging and gun play and its the worst part of the game? so stupid..

Stalker700
Stalker700

Can't wait. It's like spider-man on steroids:D

swamptick
swamptick

The preview makes the game sound a little disappointing. I am hoping for good things from one of my favorite childhood games being remade.

dalua360
dalua360

I liked the idea, but it seems too difficult to dodge enemies’ attacks, as there's no cover feature, so here is the question: Will it be one of those games that you can't avoid being hit? Because I hate it when you're running or in that case "swinging" and the enemy can still hit you with a supernatural aim!

jinjak
jinjak

i thing it"s a good game.

HardcoreBunni
HardcoreBunni

The swinging seems a lot of fun but the combat and the environment graphics look pretty bad. Seems like Capcom's "hot streak" is over =S

ihsanqueen
ihsanqueen

If it scores well on Gamespot, I'll consider buying it

metabolic_youth
metabolic_youth

This preview has warning signs written all over it. 3D and jumping-big no, no!

Enok6
Enok6

i got high hopes for this !

NuKkU
NuKkU

im keeping a eye out for this one i might get it when the price drops

jadefury27
jadefury27

his arm resembles tetsuo's arm in akira. nice.

spartan_1078
spartan_1078

It actually seems interesting. Everyone complains about not being able to do this, or do that in a game. If you know what would make the most expansive, comprehensive game ever, stop whining and go do it.

KazuyoshiDS
KazuyoshiDS

cute. but not quite i guess. =/ pass.

raiding_kvatch
raiding_kvatch

Hmmm, I don't think I'll be getting this, but we'll see

thedevildweller
thedevildweller

I'm going to wait till the game is out before I say anything I mite regret but, I really do hope it turns out better than what I've seen and read.

TheRebel0013
TheRebel0013

Mike patton is doing the voice of the main character. sweet

Genson77
Genson77

Bionic Commando will not be a game for everyone, nor the NES version was either. This is a game that require skills and it obvious that the game playing in this preview completely lack the skills the play a game like this one. I am not surprise GS talk trash of a game like this because when they cannot understand or be good at a game GS just talk trash and forget to be objective. I am amaze some readers let this dorks of GS to change your mind about this game. Every fan out there of BC knows this is a game that require SKILLS and is not for the faint of heart, like gamespot dorks.

RonTorque
RonTorque

Got less interested after reading this.

Alizerothree
Alizerothree

If the game sucks, at least the soundtrack will be awesome!

Heffe2020
Heffe2020

either that guy in the preview completely sucked or the game sucks. Hopefully its that dude.

brunele
brunele

the swinging doesn't look that good and from what I seen the combat is going to be like an average third person shooter. I was looking forward to this one but as the releasedate comes nearer , my interest in this game declines

taker-hey
taker-hey

i rather play with my spiderman-web of shadows, gameplay looks way better than this...

matthewallen27
matthewallen27

I agree with WarPrime, the swinging did look clunky. I'm just afraid, (mainly due to their track record) and I'm talking about Wanted: WoF, that this game is going to be short, easy and unimpressive. The visuals look decent, but it's becoming to common for game companies to focus on the look and not enough on the other, more important factors of a game.

WarPrime
WarPrime

The swinging looked clunky, and if combat is not good, then I bet it is not going to be much fun. In addition, I am guessing that they (Capcom) are not going to fix some of these issues so close to launch date, which means the game is going to be mediocre at best. Too bad, I was waiting for this one!

slinky3761
slinky3761

He gets electrocuted by the arm in the water. Anyway, what is the big deal, not every game has to be completely open world. And they tried to give the feel of the old game which did the same. Either way it will be fun zip kicking people in multiplayer. Just my 2 cents....

fadersdream
fadersdream

a 6.5 seems unlikely since it's from capcom. a smaller publisher might get a score like that but with such a big company they are guaranteed at least a 7.0 no matter what the game plays like.

jbahari
jbahari

Ill wait until an actual review is out before I issue my judgement.

otanikun
otanikun

Sounds extremely limiting the way they are toting it as open world when you can't enter certain areas; I'm sorry but games like GTA and Resistance and even Elder Scrolls are wholly open world based and you can travel anywhere; to learn that your limited in this game to a pure linear fashion is a little disappointing. Hopefully they'll correct this before the final game is released, if they don't I'm expecting a 6.5 ranking on here rather than an 8.0 or higher. Oh and water killing a character nowadays? That's just plain lazy and lame, radiation, okay, but water? If he steps in a puddle is he all of a sudden gonna asphyxiate on himself and die? Let them fix this at least or give him an upgrade in the game to have a waterproof arm or something.

nicklech16
nicklech16

Doesn't sound that exciting to me

Dualmask
Dualmask

The shooting always took a back seat to the swinging gameplay so I'm not too surprised about that here. At least touching the water isn't instant death (although falling in water in previous BC games was really equivalent to falling in a bottomless pit and there were levels with rain and snow in BC Rearmed so he can't be that vulnerable to water...). Anyway, I'm still looking forward to this with cautioned optimism.

esqueejy
esqueejy

Would be a crying shame if they release this without fixing the targeting, etc. This was one of the best original Nintendo games EVER and to rush release rather than make sure the final product is mind-blowing would be an insult to gamers everywhere. I'm willing to wait a little longer if that's what it takes. $0.02

FLEEBS
FLEEBS

I am excited for this game and look forward to it. Bionic Commando in my opinion was one of the best NES games. I really hope the new one plays well.

mikeyvp87
mikeyvp87

BC was never eally about the standard soldier encounters. It's more about the boss fights and getting the timing down so you can get to that ledge or something. But i agree with all of the assesments that i'll wait for the review. Hopefully though the music is as good as Rearmed.

bugsysaf
bugsysaf

This looks as bad as Lost Planet but without the snow and insects. Seems like the kind of game that will become tiresome after a couple of hours of swinging around. The original BC wasn't so hot for those of you who never played it. I think nostalgic old timers like me tend to remember games as being better than they really were. If there is a remake to be done it should be Konami's Contra. I'm thinking Gears of War style game play but with over the top boss fights and platforming elements. Contra sure kicks Bionic Commando's butt. I predict a 6.0 review for this game.

CreatureRising
CreatureRising

Never played the other BC games i dont know if i would buy this.... Video looks kinda Garbage.

RyuRanVII
RyuRanVII

A must-buy title from Capcom. I'll go with PC version :D

TheClown24
TheClown24

too right gormo4, i think capcom's run is soon coming to an end

gormo4
gormo4

from watching videos it looks like a 6/10 so far.. ;/

haidar_meong
haidar_meong

This game will be good... Game that remake from 2d into 3d is always good..!