Minority Report impressions

We check out Activision's upcoming game based on the Spielberg film.

We recently had the chance to check out Activision's upcoming PlayStation 2 game based on the movie Minority Report. The game's developer, Treyarch, also developed the Spider-Man games and has been working on Minority Report for the past year and a half. Rather than try to do a re-creation of the film broken into game-sized chunks, Treyarch has opted to create a game that draws on themes and elements from the film without being constricted by them. Minority Report blends elements of 3D brawlers, 2D beat-'em-ups, and traditional Tomb Raider-like puzzles, and the results we've seen so far are promising.

For those unfamiliar with the film's premise, the game is set in a future where law enforcement has taken a dramatic and proactive approach toward keeping the peace. Criminals are caught and brought to justice before they commit crimes. The upside to the new approach is that things are pretty peaceful around town, but the downside is that it can really suck if you're falsely accused. You'll take the role of Precrime Officer John Anderton, a police officer who is accused of a crime and is experiencing the unpleasant side of wrongful accusation. Though this mirrors the setup of the movie plot, the game will actually develop in a different direction, while spanning 40 levels and environments drawn from the movie, such as Precrime Headquarters, Mall City, and Anderton's apartment. The game's development has benefited from Treyarch and Activision's close working relationship with DreamWorks, which has given the team access to footage and production materials that have served as references in creating the levels.

As far as gameplay goes, Minority Report is firmly rooted in the beat-'em-up style of 3D action. Basically, the game will have you go through the various levels dispatching enemies, and its solid 3D fighting system will offer quite a bit of flexibility when you're dealing with multiple opponents. You'll have a variety of hand-to-hand attacks that you'll be able to chain together for combos, and you'll also gain access to an arsenal of useful devices to help you in your quest to clear your name. The fighting gameplay is supplemented by some basic puzzles to solve and a bit of item collection. As you go through the game you'll find cash that you'll be able to use to purchase abilities and upgrades for Anderton, which will prove vital when dealing with the various enemies in the game. One of our favorite features is the ability to target enemies with your weapons when zipping around in a jetpack.

Graphically the game looks very good. Treyarch is using a modified version of the engine that was used for its Spider-Man games, which allows for large environments, plenty of detail, and a solid frame rate. The various characters are nicely detailed and have a high-poly count and nice textures. In the game, John Anderton looks nothing like Tom Cruise's character in the movie, but the character model still looks good, even without Cruise's familiar grin. The environments you'll be exploring are large and feature a lot of destructible objects for you to smash up in your battles.

From what we've seen so far, Minority Report is coming together nicely. The game's impressive graphics and solid gameplay should make it a worthwhile experience. The game is currently slated to ship for the PlayStation 2 this fall alongside the GameCube and Xbox versions. Look for more on the game soon.

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