The good folks at 3DO recently allowed us to go hands-on with a build of their upcoming martial arts action game, GoDai: Elemental Force. The protagonist, Hiro, is the child of the murdered defender of the five elements and has undergone training by his noble guardian, Sho, to one day claim vengeance on the evil shogun, Akunin. In his 22 years of training, Hiro has gleaned the use of multiple melee weapons, shuriken, and other more mystical martial arts techniques. Sure to impress those who enjoy the supernatural abilities of many martial arts heroes are Hiro's glides and leaps. Gliding allows Hiro to move swiftly across the ground, a few inches above the surface, while his leaps seem lifted directly from Hong Kong cinema in that the heights he reaches and the slow motion with which he descends can only feasibly be explained by the use of suspension wires. A further emphasis of his magical nature is the shadow duplicate blurs that follow behind him as Hiro executes his glide or flip techniques. Magics of the elemental variety round out Hiro's repertoire, which he can employ after conquering each elemental challenge. Employing the element of fire, for instance, will allow Hiro to use flaming swords.
Intricate combinations of attacks are the day's fare, as provided by GoDai's multifaceted control scheme. Switching rapidly between movement techniques, projectile and melee attacks, and magic make combat in GoDai approachable from a number of angles. Pulling off a simple three hit combos is a cinch using the shoulder buttons, as are the menu selection keys, and the leap. Using the block, glide, and magic commands efficiently is a necessary skill, as GoDai makes certain tough enemies vulnerable to only certain forms of attack, especially the elemental bosses. Running almost on what felt like rails, with a camera following the main character and making previously traversed terrain impassable, GoDai had a very linear feel to it, which will undoubtedly be used to push the game's dramatic storyline. Each of the scenarios is straightforward, with clearly defined objectives and opponents to defeat.
Some of the features that GoDai brings to the table should add remarkably to the game's replay value. Having the ability to play through the game's 16 missions with different weapon and item combinations should appease those who like a challenge, as well as players who develop favoritism toward one of the many attack styles available to Hiro.
In addition to the story mode, GoDai includes a dizzying array of other modes to choose from, including battle modes and timed conflicts. Taking the fight to a human opponent in a dojo while fully making use of the game's rafter-high leaps and bounds can bring back memories of the fight scene between Neo and Morpheus from the Matrix.
The build we were able to play was very early and had significant stability problems, but if all things go as planned, GoDai offers an action game that should appeal to those who desire a cinematic flair to go along with their button mashing. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more on GoDai, which is currently scheduled for release this fall.