We finally had a chance to get some hands-on time with Tecmo's third-person shooter Quantum Theory. Though its visual style is still predominantly Japanese, the gameplay feels as though it were crafted to cater more toward a Western audience. In fact, the game showcases tremendous influence from Western third-person shooters such as Gears of War.
Who's Making This Game: Tecmo.
What The Game Looks Like: From what we've seen so far, Quantum Theory definitely has a sci-fi look to it, but it's more of an organic interpretation where everything sort of looks as though it could start squirming at any minute. This applies from everything to the weapons that the main character, Syd, uses to objects and walkways that you see scattered in the environment--all of it generally falls in line with the idea that you have to make your way up through a tower that's essentially alive.
How The Game Is Played: For the basic controls, Quantum Theory controls much like Epic's Gears of War games. To take cover behind objects, you simply run up to them and press the X button on the PlayStation 3 controller, and when you want to aim and fire, all you have to do is squeeze down on the L2 button and then press R2 to fire. There's also an option to sprint as well as a dive move that can help you evade enemy attacks, and you can switch to one of three weapons by simply pressing a corresponding direction on the PS3 controller's directional pad.
What tends to differentiate Quantum Theory from something like Gears of War is the way Syd interacts with his AI-controlled cooperative partner, Felina, as well as the level design. Whenever Syd and Felina are in close proximity to each other (as denoted by an icon on the lower right side of the screen), you can trigger a cooperative attack where Syd throws Felina at an enemy to make the killing blow. In one of the levels we played, the only way to defeat its boss is to use this very attack and to prevent Felina from being killed. Likewise, you can also execute cooperative melee combination attacks that appear to be quite useful when you're surrounded by one too many enemies.
As for the level design, since you are fighting in a "living" tower, the ground often shifts underneath you, creating new passageways and bridges that weren't there before. This makes Quantum a bit unpredictable in a good way because it always leaves you guessing where enemies are coming from. But there was one portion of the level we played that was especially interesting where Syd has to cling to a piece of a bridge that starts flying through the tower. You can reposition yourself on this piece of debris to simultaneously take cover and avoid enemy fire as well as get better line-of-sight shots on enemies as you're floating through the air. What We Say: While it's easy to say that Quantum Theory borrows many of the elements that make the Gears of War games so popular, it's clear that Tecmo is trying to create Quantum's own identity through level design, cooperative attacks, and a look that seemingly merges Japanese visual design with Western visual design. We'll have more on Quantum Theory before its release in 2010.