Incest, Vampires, and the KKK: An Afternoon With Kalypso Media
Gamescom 2012: Veteran games publisher Kalypso Media had a trio of distinct games here at the show. We bring you a taste of each.
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It's a common problem: one night you wake up in an exotic dance club--with no memory of how you got there or what you were doing--and you have been transformed into a vampire. What a hassle. Eric Bane, protagonist of the third-person supernatural stealth game DARK, had this happen to him during our demo at Gamescom 2012, but he did an outstanding job of rolling with the punches. Even when he stumbled out the back door into an alleyway filled with handgun-wielding hobos, Bane didn't miss a beat.
You wake up in an exotic dance club--with no memory of how you got there--and you've been transformed into a vampire.Whether you're a pacifist or a murder-ist, DARK is a stealth game first and foremost. As the developers explained, there's a way to sneak past every enemy in the game (save for the bosses) if that's your cup of tea. Turns out Bane hates tea, almost as much as he hates hobos. By using a combination of special abilities, Bane was able to quickly teleport across the alleyway and execute the hobos. Some of these abilities require blood to perform, which you can refill by...um...borrowing some from others. However, doing so does leave you dangerously exposed. If you get spotted, enemy backup won't be far behind, and Bane could get quickly overwhelmed.
Since bloodsucking and limited-use special abilities are your only forms of offense--no guns, no vamp-kun-do--DARK looked like more of a puzzler than a straight action game. Each room of enemies was a challenge to be solved without the option of straight combat. Whatever your method, the game will reward you with experience to build up your character and unlock more abilities. And there are plenty of ghouls, Vampire-hunting mercenaries, and heat-packing homeless to get through. DARK will be released on the Xbox 360 and PC next year.
OMERTA: CITY OF GANGSTERS
From the developers of the Tropico series comes Omerta: City of Gangsters. While the Tropico games were about building empires from sandy beaches, Omerta is about influencing what is already present. This “influence” may come from the barrel of a gun, from a bottle of hard liquor, or a trip to the mattresses as one of Atlantic City's up-and-coming crime bosses. Set during the no-fun Prohibition Era, during which time the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol was made illegal, your mission is to help this great nation stay liquored up while under the eye of Uncle Sam.
Fulfilling this most noble task means recruiting and managing your gang of mobsters. These wise guys can be sent off on missions supplied by other hard-working folks around town to buy or sell merchandise or transport goods. There's also property upgrading and management to ensure you're getting the most from your investments. And when you're not, well, then it's time to bust some heads. Isometric, turn-based combat segments are the flip side of this criminal coin. Raiding a police armory or busting up the local Ku Klux Klan chapter (nobody likes those guys) is all part of the family business. Omerta: City of Gangsters will be released on the Xbox 360 and PC this fall.
Fantasy worlds usually appear nice at first blush, only to reveal an immortal demon or ancient ring waiting to kill everyone. This can lead to some pretty bleak living situations, and Demonicon, a low-fantasy action role-playing game adapted from the Dark Eye universe, is no exception. As the game's description reads: "Demonicon tells the tragic story of a brother and sister who become pawns of sinister forces in a world of cruelty and depravity. In this bleak yet magical world, their affection is both a blessing and a curse." We'll address the "affection" part of that line in a second, but first there's that whole "cruelty and depravity" bit.
Morally gray decisions such as this are common in Demonicon...things like incest.We saw plenty of that in our first mission as Cairon, the brother, who was tasked with recovering his sister after she supposedly ran away to a cave. Turns out she was trying to put a stop to a cannibal who had been kidnapping villagers. Together we fought our way through the cave's zombified minions. Doing so filled Cairon's magic meter, used to perform his most devastating attacks. Finally, our hero fought--and defeated--the cannibal, and we were presented with the option to kill him or let him escape.
This choice may seem obvious, but know that killing him also killed all of his captors, whom he had magically tied to his life. Sucks to be them, since we decided to end his reign of terror right then and there. This decision was reflected in the memorial service being held at the local church upon our return, as well as in some choice words from a mourning widow. Morally gray decisions such as this are common in the world of Demonicon…things like incest. There was a touch of that when Cairon delivered some fruit to his sister in preparation for her wedding at the end of the demo. Either she was just really happy about the fruit, or she wasn't that into the groom to begin with.
Find out for yourself when Demonicon is released on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC next year.