Bionic Commando Updated Hands-on

We swing around town in the latest version of Capcom's classic NES game of the same name and chat with the developer.

We've been following Bionic Commando since it was announced late last year to see how Capcom and Swedish developer Grin are updating the fan-favorite character. We had seen the game on and off in the months since it was revealed, but hadn't had the chance to clock in some quality time with it until recently, when we were able to try work-in-progress versions of the PC and Xbox 360 games in Las Vegas.

The version on display at Capcom's media event was a multilevel sampler that let us check out chunks of various levels to give us a taste of what to expect. The first two level samples we tried were from the start of the game and functioned as a tutorial to familiarize us with Nathan Spencer's abilities. The levels had us heading to set check points within the level, which kicked us to the next area. The focus of the first chunk we played was to get the hang of swinging with Nathan's bionic arm in some city ruins we'd seen before. The mechanic has changed a bit since we saw it last--Grin has added a visual cue in the form of a new reticle, which lets you know the best time to release.

The second area we went to was also in the city and started to layer in some new stuff. A conveniently placed weapon pod let us pick up a weapon as we explored. Another pod was on hand, although we weren't able to do much with it because Grin had disabled the hacking minigame for the purposes of the demo. From the sound of it, the final game will feature pods you'll be able to hack into with your arm. As we progressed through the level, we were able to try grappling objects and pulling at them, which in this case was debris at the side of a building. Once the object was pulled clear, we were able to swing into the building and start exploring, which segued nicely into some indoor combat where we were able to try out a classic move and use the arm's grapple to snatch pickups just out of reach. As we exited through the other side of the building, we were clued in to the proper way to punch debris at an enemy. The three-step process was easy and, thanks to some pretty generous targeting, satisfying. You simply punch a large piece of debris in front of you, jump, and punch it again while facing an enemy. This sends the goods right at your foe. We were also able to collect the game's classic machine gun and learn about focused targeting, which simply zooms in your view and lets you target specific spots on a foe.

The next area was a flooded zone that forced us to stay to the rooftops of submerged buildings. Unfortunately, cool as the bionic arm is, your character is not much of a swimmer. The focus in the level is to acquaint you with the tarantula weapon, which is a rocket launcher that fires homing missiles that zero in on targets you mark. The tarantula was a handy little piece of ordinance and made short work of our humanoid foes. Unfortunately, we got a little trigger happy and were running low on ammo when a small airship boss cruised onto the scene. The battle appeared to have at least two possible ways to go. If we'd saved tarantula ammo, we could have targeted it and hurled missiles at it until it died. But since we didn't, we got to explore the more physical method of fighting: locking on to the robot with our zip line and doing a zip kick at it. The method worked pretty well, although the challenge was to make sure we didn't wind up jumping back after a kick with nowhere to go but down.

The next level we checked out was a jungle area that showcased the variety of levels in the game. The lush tropical environment afforded us many swinging options, thanks to the trees spread throughout it. On our trip through the trees, we were able to pick up a shotgun from a weapon pod and take out enemies. The end of the level found us facing off against an exoskeleton-wearing enemy who had a specific weak spot we had to zip kick. The final area we checked out was a massive indoor space designed to let us swing around and get the hang of the unique mechanic.

In addition to checking out the game ourselves, we were able to get some time with Grin, who walked us through some points in the game and showed off a new trailer. While the trailer showcased some neat stuff, such as the Rad Spencer in-game model you'll unlock by having Bionic Commando Rearmed, the big news was about multiplayer. Specific details were scarce--except for the team's desire to ensure that the game modes are understandable to players of all skill levels--but you can expect a minimum of Capture the Flag and Deathmatch modes. The other interesting bit is that a separate team within Grin is handling the chores on the game. Based on the trailer, it appears the whip is something that will come in quite handy, allowing you to latch on to foes and shoot them up in the air.

The visuals in the two demos were quite pretty, albeit in need of some mild sharpening up on the Xbox 360. The PC game had the edge in overall resolution when compared to the Xbox 360 game. The ruined city areas felt alive and creepy, thanks to detailed art and little touches such as dust clouds and the devastated look of the city.

The game's music cultivated a nice retro mood with orchestrated makeovers for tunes from the classic game. Beyond that, audio was still pretty low key in the levels we tried. Nathan is not chatty, and the folks he encounters aren't either.

While we wish we could have seen more, we're pleased by how Bionic Commando is shaping up. The game continues to head in a promising direction and mix its cool, modern look with some old-school touches. If you're a fan of the original game, you'll want to check this game out when it hits.

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Discussion

60 comments
davonas
davonas

this game looks pretty cool

joseph_mach
joseph_mach

I don't think it'll live up to the fun that was found in the original, but it might be interesting. BTW, Rearmed, where are you?!?!

beeftothetaco
beeftothetaco

Could be good, could be bad. Can't tell yet.

grambyte
grambyte

Looks interesting enough to track, let's put it that way.

gamah_killah
gamah_killah

I'd get it if I had the 360. Sounds fun to play

Strife88
Strife88

Hmm...It doesn't look that great.

Cube_of_MooN
Cube_of_MooN

I may keep track of it... but there doesnt seem to be much amazing stuff here.

carstairs
carstairs

If the swinging works well, it'll be great.

playstation_wii
playstation_wii

I'm just hoping the swinging mechanic will feel fluid.

BontraXenderKyl
BontraXenderKyl

I don't think that they'll change something since the 1st one

Dra503
Dra503

i hope the grappling is not as bad as in capcom's other title Lost Planet

Hungry_bunny
Hungry_bunny

Please don't let it be another "Goldeneye: Rogue Agent" - type fiasco...

Thorpe89
Thorpe89

Just hope it lives up to its name.

supersonicGO
supersonicGO

this one is interesting, i'll continue to track it

McTwisty
McTwisty

Is this going to be on the PS3?

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

ah i feel sad that 360 lacks behind but its understandable since this game is pushing boundares differently for a platformer

rharrigal
rharrigal

This should be really cool I hope it has good multiplayer too.

i_got_you60
i_got_you60

@genson77 well most of the games that are multiplatform come out on the 360 first and then the pc and ps3 i personally hate it but wth iam still getting to play the game on my pc with extra stuff and new modes but the waiting part is the worst

VegasAceVII
VegasAceVII

If they can get it even close to the feel of the original, this will be a hit too.

sage_witch
sage_witch

ok, I've said this before, but it bears repeating. Bionic Commando for the NES was HORRIBLE!! Absolute garbage. therefore, I'm expecting this to be garbage as well

alijib
alijib

Yippie, I want this game , I also want the rearmed version.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

"Un4givingAsault looks like this game will be meh, but attrack hardcore fan boys. i hope its cool tho, like the idea. but one thing i dont get isnt seems like there isnt very many new ideas coming out in the gamin industry Posted Jun 5, 2008 1:05 am CT " That's because they aren't willing to take risks as much as they used to with unproven ideas. Unfortunately the business side of things investors, stock what have you have taken over. Hence you have so many sequels while some are good and innovative they're still sequels.

Don't get me wrong I still want to play Red Faction III:Guerilla and Saints Row II but when every game that comes out is a sequel you know the industry's in trouble.

On the other hand look at it this way. If they're smart they'll use their sequels as testing grounds for new ideas in gaming mechanics, refine them based in QA feedback and hopefully at some point in time use what works in a nonsequel. This is the ideal goal (I think) they should be moving towards.

Its ok to have sequels its how you use the sequels and whether or not these new gaming mechanics as whole make the game more so fun or more so frustrating that matters in the end. Frustrating probably won't sell well, fun will. They're looking for the fun.

I've given the multiplayer for Bionic Commando more thought on how it could work. There should be one huge map with several spawnpoints scattered throughout collective areas.

The three ways to confine players to the same area:

should be by way of collective areas of spawnpoints(this would take the place of what tradionally would otherwise be a different selectable map),

by way of wind resistance(if you're forced to move one way versus the other you probly won't want to go that one way),

and by way of that which can't be grasped by the bionic arm(if you can't grasp it you can't climb up nor swing from it).

Players would choose which area of this huge map they want to play in. Then by way of majority vote that map(area of collective spawnpoints) would be chosen, if for some reason there is no majority vote then it would be chosen by way of login times where the first to come to multiplayer would be the first to have their map (spawn point area on the map) chosen. Then the next person's for the next game and so on and so forth.

Gameplay wise you would be restricted from moving outside of the designated area of the huge map(which goes beyond the initial spawnpoints as far as the allowable playing area but has the 3 aforementioned restrictions in the interest of inducing fighting more or so than running away).

Oh and another thing remember Lost Planet? I'm sure if Capcom can do a multiplayer for Lost Planet they can do a decent one for Bionic Commando. You have just about the same mechanic in both games the only difference will be the camera perspective.

Lost Planet was 3rd person, I think Bionic Commando will be first. I played the multiplayer for Lost Planet, if you haven't try to see if you can DL it. Then close your eyes and imagine Bionic Commando's jungle like surroundings, decrepit buildings or its snow it will be about the same...only better:)

billfdcsf
billfdcsf

To everyone who says this game is a cash-in and other crap like that go take a look at the Bionic Commado site and listen to a podcast, the people working on this game really care about it. Also Bionic Command Rearmd got delayed because they couldn't finish it on time, not because of hype, trying to make the game better or because Benn's dog ate it.

Un4givingAsault
Un4givingAsault

looks like this game will be meh, but attrack hardcore fan boys. i hope its cool tho, like the idea. but one thing i dont get isnt seems like there isnt very many new ideas coming out in the gamin industry

SilentCard
SilentCard

This looks awsome. It's basically Iron-Man with a Spiderman arm and a machine gun. And that sounds pretty freakin' sweet to me.

Joystick_n_hand
Joystick_n_hand

Have to agree...the character design looks weak. Fairly uninteresting overall....we shall see....

Redhairboy491
Redhairboy491

Who cares Genson, its a multiplatform. Everyone already knows the differances between the ps3 and 360, ps3 has slightly better graphics. Why bother saying the same thing again? Anyway, this game looks pretty good, but im nervous that the story doesnt seem like much. Probably borrow it from a friend or rent it at best.

Dragonblade01
Dragonblade01

By what I've seen, it's shaping up to be quite nice, though I'm still not 100% on this game yet. Hopefully, Capcom will give us a demo, otherwise this will probably just turn into a rental for me.

Genson77
Genson77

It is funny how game spot compares the game in the 360 and PC and not mention the PS3 as if the PS3 did not exist at all jajajaja, it is very clear how game stop have preference over the 360, GS is more like a 360 website than anything else.

N8XcruC8N
N8XcruC8N

When I looked at the screenshots I said to myself, "Looks like Lost Planet in the summertime." Whaddaya know: Capcom. I liked LP, so it might be OK.

dutch777
dutch777

i think this may stumble along the lines of Lair, sorry.

kvan33
kvan33

I predict a stinker! ...and yes I am basing that conclusion completely on how stupid the bionic commando looks. Dred locks??? LOL

jknight5422
jknight5422

It sounds promising. I only wish the arcade release had come out for the time being to pass the time...instead they delayed it after all the hype.

swamptick
swamptick

I'm getting it on name alone. If it sucks, so what, I am out a few bucks. If it rocks, then hell yeah! I played Bionic Commando over and over before most of the users on this board were even born so I can't wait for another shot at a good time.

killzone_gamer
killzone_gamer

Hmm... I own Lost Planet, and I'm not a long term fan, so... Dav_id has a very goos point. This could be a lazy cash-cow from Capcom, but i equally hope that it is indeed not.

Dav_id83
Dav_id83

This so just has the same things as Lost Planet set in a different world I mean come on the swing shot is from LP and the bad guys look like the same on LP the troops that is.

kowycs
kowycs

ooooh this loook wery cooooooool i cant wait:)

FstBrk342
FstBrk342

im pumped for this, i hope it does well. cant wait to download the remake on the PSN

strawberryheart
strawberryheart

This is going to rock hardcore, hands down. I can`t wait!!! Man, after all this time they redo a good classic in a good way. Booya can`t wait to battle my buddies, booya!!!

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

"raverrozza maaly81... and how would you work a decent multiplayer into this??"

I'm thinking the maps would have to have several levels to them but be just as vast vertically as they are horizontally.

If they include a radar system? They should take a cue from either Spiderman 2 the videogame's radar or GTA IV's radar so you know where everyone is both vertically and horizontally.

There would need to be a mixture of outdoor environments and buildings that you can enter. There should be pods that respawn weapons scattered through out.

There should be some type of fall damage taken whenever someone falls depending on how far they fall. The higher up you go the more unstable your surrounding environment should be this would help encourage more fight than flight otherwise if you aren't careful you might pawn yourself and whoever hit you last get's the kill point.

Naturally there should be an element of Zenga to it as we whereby if you grab ahold of som rubble that someone is standing on then the rest that's supported by it might collapse due to instability.

There should be powerful winds at even higher altitudes. These winds could (and even should) be programmed to push together gamers so that they are always in conflict. Their intensity should increase depending on how highup you are.

There should always be a time limit. There should be both a penalty as well as an achievement for doing nothing but running away and avoiding combat for a round.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

online multiplayer with first person view and the bionic arm mechanic and environments that fully allow you to swing,climb, hide and ambush would be nice. I could see how making bots for online might be hard as the path finding? Would be questionable and require arduous amounts of QA. I just hope that the team handling the online multiplayer takes note of what's available in the singleplayer mode and includes most if not all of it in multiplayer.

ocdog45
ocdog45

looks promising but still not convinced its a pick up

stevo_360
stevo_360

Looks interesting so far, although I'm fairly skeptical of this game for some reason.