E3 2002Alter Echo Impressions

We had the chance to talk to the producer of THQ's new PlayStation 2 action game, as well as gather a few impressions from gameplay.

We had the chance to talk to the producer of THQ's new PlayStation 2 action game, as well as gather a few impressions from gameplay.

After a strange new substance capable of morphing is discovered, an entire planet turns against its human visitors. It's up to a man named Nevin and his form-altering suit to discern exactly what's happened and remedy the situation.

The hero initially starts out with a single form for his PolySuit. Its melee mode comes equipped with a sword for close-end fighting and also has the ability to block incoming attacks and projectiles. As you progress, you'll gain two other forms by way of accessing modes. Putting Nevin in gun mode transforms him into a hulking, slow-moving creature toting a hulking, powerful gun. Stealth mode transforms you into a streamlined creature that walks on all fours, climbs walls, and lets you cloak to sneak past enemies. Each transformation allows two attack types, different physical attacks for stealth and melee and a rapid-fire weapon or grenade launcher for gun mode.

Combos and special attack techniques are somewhat limited at this point, but the development team has plans to add many more. In stealth mode, it's possible to jump on an enemy's head and beat him rapidly. With luck, more comical and fun-to-execute moves like these will be added to the mix. A first-person targeting system for gun mode is also planned and should make for a much more satisfying and effective form. Time dilation also plays a fairly large part in gameplay, as it can be used in combat but is required to clear certain puzzles. This works a lot like a rhythm game, with carefully timed button presses that let you perform unavoidable attacks on multiple enemies.

Several levels were shown--each is fairly uniform in appearance but different in terms of composition and objectives. One level simply gives a basic introduction to melee mode, but other levels shown centered on finding and accessing nodes and using the game's time dilation system. Gunning your way uphill to locate the stealth power was particularly fun because of the game's unique graphical effects. Continual blasting from the heavy cannon not only produces a violent thundering sound effect, but also gradually distorts the screen with a type of camera filter. The slight black-and-white blur that results from heavy fire goes quite well with the stylized graphics. Character and environmental graphics aren't amazingly impressive for a PS2 title, but the stylized look works well and seems appropriate.

Although what we saw at E3 was far from a complete product, the game seems to be coming together quite well. If the developer can implement the features that are currently planned and put a bit more polish on things, a solid and enjoyable action game could easily surface. More info on the title should be available in the coming months, and the game should soon receive a solid release date for 2003.

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