Bionic Commando Updated Hands-On

Capcom's next action game is nearly ready to swing into action, and we've got a quick look at the latest build.

It has been approximately a year and a half since Capcom announced the rebirth of the Bionic Commando franchise, and we've seen the game many times during that time. Today, with merely a month left before Nathan Spencer takes to the skies of the ruined Ascension City with his trusty bionic arm, Capcom reps gave us a final look at the game. Better yet, they dropped off builds of the game, which means we've been spending most of the day trying to see as much as we can of this highly anticipated game. Between the Capcom demo and our own time with the game, we've seen a good deal of new content and have learned more about the narrative that drives the action.

In terms of story, you'll play as Nathan Spencer, a former bionic commando who has been relieved of his duty as well as his awesome bionic left arm. In the opening scenes, you learn that a terrorist group has detonated a nuclear bomb in Ascension City, killing thousands, if not millions, in the process. Spencer is recruited by Super Joe to take down the terrorists. In return, Joe promises to reveal the fate of Spencer's special lady friend. The idea of reconciling with his lady--and his bionic arm--is too much for Spencer to resist, and it isn't long before you're plunged headlong into the action.

Your first mission in the game will be to locate your bionic arm after you are deployed in the field. Essentially, this first mission is a essentially teaches you the basics of firing your weapon. You start off with a measly pistol, but as the game progresses, you'll get access to better weapons. You fire weapons with the right trigger and can precisely aim by pressing the R3 button. As you make your way through the office building you start out in, you'll find collectible items strewn throughout the building, as well as an occasional challenge that pops up onscreen. Challenges can be simple, such as swinging with your bionic arm after acquiring it, or more challenging, such as killing a certain number of enemies or using a specific type of attack to kill bad guys, and some of the challenges are tied to Xbox 360 achievements and PS3 trophies.

After you find your arm, you're taken to the revamped tutorial in the game. Unlike the tutorial on hand at the 2008 Tokyo Game Show or CES earlier this year, the updated tutorial is a bit more context sensitive. It still shows you the basics of using your bionic appendage, such as using the left trigger to extend your arm and/or release from objects, but the tutorial also challenges you to figure out solutions to easy puzzles early on, putting the techniques you learn to practical use. For instance, in one area, you're required to take down three dummies with the jump attack (by attaching your arm and then jumping at foes). After completing this, you can hack into a relay object nearby and learn some more advanced techniques you'll use later in the game, such as "death from above," which has you rapidly pressing the Y button when falling from great heights to create a devastating shock wave when you land. Curiously, practicing these techniques in the tutorial won't give you immediate access to them in the game; you'll have to wait for specific moments in the narrative for Nathan to "remember" special techniques.

We've seen much of the first act of Bionic Commando in our previous looks at the game, including a stretch where Nathan is required to hack into relays to deactivate deadly mines hanging in midair so he can proceed to new objectives. Beyond that, however, we were able to check out some biomech enemies. These minibosses come in several varieties--the ones we fought in the first act had huge shields that made them impervious to frontal assaults. Taking them down, then, was a matter of flanking them to the left or right, getting behind them, and then attacking the weak spot on their back. As producers pointed out, you'll encounter other types of biomechs throughout the game. There will also be human enemies to tussle with, including copious numbers of snipers strewn throughout some levels. With all of those laser sites pointed at your head, it's one more reason to keep Nathan Spencer swinging through the levels as quickly as possible.

Like any action game worth its salt, Bionic Commando will also have proper boss battles. We saw one fight with a huge metallic snakelike creature known as the Mohole. This elongated monstrosity burrowed underneath the ground before emerging and towering over Spencer. To take him down, Spencer had to use whatever weapons were around him--mostly abandoned cars in this case--and pick them up and hurl them at the Mohole's "mouth." In addition, there are periodic weapon drops would appear which Nathan could use to blast away at the boss. We didn't get to see the boss battle in its entirety, but its scope and ferocity made an impression.

Snipers look to make Nathan Spencer's day a short one.

In addition to tweaking the tutorial, the developers at Grin have been spending some time tweaking the controls, which, ever since the game's debut, have been a source of contention for most. Based on our time with the game, compared to our past experience, the basics of swinging and jumping seem to be improved and the actions are easier to pull off. Wrong moves can still result in disaster for Spencer, but the controls are slightly more forgiving with the release point during your swing, and the game subtly automates how Spencer scales certain bits of scaffolding and buildings, so it feels like the game wants you to succeed, which is something we couldn't always say about previous iterations. In a game that relies so heavily on astonishing midair acrobatics, making those stunts attractive and relatively easy to pull off is a good thing. In addition, Capcom has made additional nods to the hardcore crowd by giving them an upgraded "commando" difficulty level and adding in the ability to replay completed levels so you can go back and work on your style. Look for more on Bionic Commando, including a look at the game's multiplayer modes, in the coming weeks.

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Discussion

68 comments
Ivory-Dynamite
Ivory-Dynamite

Your friendly neighbourhood spi**- bionic commando

29-LinkFan
29-LinkFan

this kinda looks like it'd be awesome at first, but then just be reppetitive from there on. also, on what i've seen, the story looks kinda lacking too.

nwonknU
nwonknU

Looks that the grappling hook is going to make for some pretty intense fights. Awesome.

Franke_51
Franke_51

hey Sir3tt your talking about the game like you've played it, but you haven't so shut it.

NND1
NND1

The main character looks like Triple H from WWE

f1rst_effect
f1rst_effect

I have high hopes for this one. Now only if it can deliver.

mikep09
mikep09

the swinging looks frustrating as hell.. that's the only thing that worries me

HellsKing
HellsKing

Looks like a modern day God of War/Spider-man city swinging style of game...that bionic arm better turn into a motor cycle or somthn too, otherwise this looks lame. XD

ChrisM95
ChrisM95

I agree skunknuts. This game looks great. Don't judge it by a minute long clip.

Sir3tt
Sir3tt

For all the ppl sayin this game is lame stfu, honestly this game looks awesome compared to past overhyped games, and besides the environments and surrondings are amazing gameplay is spot on giving u the freedom to swing whereever u choose and the boss battles are great along with the battle music to get u in the mood. Capcom ignore this ignorant replies about your game u made another classic and cant what to bring this game onto my collection

skunknuts
skunknuts

@ bud0374 I agree with you on one thing - gamers deserve a good experience for their money. What I don't understand is how you can watch a 1 minute clip, and condemn the game before even trying it. Big titles like this are the result of a lot of work, and the clip doesn't look half bad. If you really are a gamer, PLAY THE GAME, and then share your thoughts. Popping in and saying "This game looks like poo" comes off as spoiled and jaded. Does it REALLY look that bad? Jeez...

Zeldaboi
Zeldaboi

anyone notice the big tricell banner?

megamaster32
megamaster32

looks like the mixture of crackdown for some reason guess because the way he jumps

Express_Diablos
Express_Diablos

Sweet it's coming to the PC i have to play this now. Never played any of the previous Bionic games but this has many awesome elements to it.

bud0374
bud0374

Skunknuts, gamers are not spoiled. When we pay 60 bucks a pop for a game we want a good on-line, or offline experience (or both). And when a game comes out with DLC a month after the game release that's just a slap in the face to all us gamers.

bud0374
bud0374

This game looks like poo.

pilot_riaz
pilot_riaz

Hey notice he's wearing a just t-shirt, no armour and when he's swinging around the flying aircraft he is getting shot and he doesn't die.

don04735
don04735

I guess it's going to be one of the forgettable games

Cerune
Cerune

Hmm, not very impressed with the gameplay footage. For a game that is only a month away from release it looks a bit repetitive. The collision seems a bit too spongy, falls result in almost no damage, and attacks seem limited. I'm a big fan of BC from the NES days and would like to see Mr. Judd succeed (despite all the talking he does about other industry veterans) but I was expecting a little bit more than this. Hope the finished product turns out a bit better.

ZirtKingLizard
ZirtKingLizard

It may be a silly premise, but it looks like it could actually be fun.

TeabagChampion
TeabagChampion

*singing* spider man, spider man, does whatever a spider can

TeabagChampion
TeabagChampion

I had Bionic Commando back in the NES, and although I am getting this game, the main character (Nathan Spencer) doesnt look like he fits right into this installment. However, the graphics and the sound (by the looks of it) is awesome!

roman6428
roman6428

The game overall looks good but this game play video really makes it seem like any other platforming game out there. I mean you're f-ing part machine shouldn't u b able to swing a little cooler than that....or at least have some variety to the swinging

kvan33
kvan33

Super lame. Some ideas should stay in 8-bit.

skunknuts
skunknuts

WTH do you people want? Many gamers seem SO spoiled and bored with their own hobby these days.

drswank
drswank

I don't know what's up with you guys....this looks great.

DaveyBoy123
DaveyBoy123

1. lock on to enemy 2. use arm to swing onto enemy and kick 3. repeat dosent look to good.

CVM_123
CVM_123

doesnt look good at all :S

gk_of_berea
gk_of_berea

Yeah, one of the first things I thought of was that it's kinda Spider-Man-ish. But then I remembered my time with the GameBoy version back in the day and realized, "Oh yeah. You do spend most of your time swinging around, in, and on buildings." And Ackbar, the first Spider-Man cartoon was in 1967. A ways before Bionic Commando.

Hobbitslayer18
Hobbitslayer18

I thought this game would be more hack and slash instead of climbing buildings with your bionic arm, which looks a lot like the spiderman games.

sirbalynn
sirbalynn

lol im sorry this game looks like spiderman

Proboterror
Proboterror

lmao He did the same attack like 10 times in a row. Fuuuuuunnn.

val1990
val1990

Not older than the Spider-man comic! We are also judging the game play not the whole game, well at least i am. its being released in May i doubt they can add more dynamic elements in less than a month. Has A LOT of Potential!!!!

Ackbar
Ackbar

People saying its spiderman whit a gun?...oh come on...this is Bionic Commando! Its older then the first Spiderman cartoon series!

Ackbar
Ackbar

Im supprised to see half the people judge the entire game, by only seeing 1 min of beta gameplay...lol

WarPrime
WarPrime

That Grapple attack looks very repetitive....damn! And I was hopping this game was going to be good.

JaredTrotterboy
JaredTrotterboy

idk I like capcom and all but this doesn't look too good.

halofan85
halofan85

truly repetitive, why does he even have a gun?

val1990
val1990

Spider-Man Web of Shadows Sequel in Disguise hahaha

Scope00
Scope00

its spider-man with a gun....

Veteran_IV
Veteran_IV

This game looks like it has about as much potential as a stripper trying to make money for college.

ChrisM95
ChrisM95

Looks pretty good. I'm keeping my eye on this one.

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

gamepla looks fun, but it seems he dosen't start the game with a gun, kinda a bummer imo, but whatever, i'll pick it up in due time, not sure when

AlphaTrojan
AlphaTrojan

@ shaun373- you can tell there is more than one attack because it shows three attacks in the upper right hand corner, still looks like a great game