Can you imagine a first-person shooter that has you saving people instead of pumping them full of bullets? Real Heroes: Firefighter plays like a standard FPS, but instead of carrying an assortment of guns on your back, you have a fire extinguisher. Your melee weapon is an axe, but you use it to break down boxes and bust down doors instead of giving the ol' chop-and-drop to an evil dude. We had a chance to wield a hose and spray our life-giving water on a burning building today.
Real Hero: Firefighter casts you as a rookie fireman in a dangerous situation. You travel through various Southern California locations, from a burning building to a crumbling amusement park, and do your best to save the people stranded there. The controls are like other shooters on the Wii. You use the Nunchuk to walk, and you point the remote at the screen to aim your hose and other tools. You carry an axe and fire extinguisher at all times, and when you find a hose on the wall, you can drag it out and carry it along with you. The hose can't stretch everywhere, though, so you will have to make do without water for parts of the levels.
The objectives all revolve around saving people's lives, but there are different tasks you'll have to do. Sometimes, a person will be stranded in a flaming room and you'll have to clear a path for him or her to exit. We also encountered a nasty gas leak and had to find the valve to turn it off. At the end of the demo level, a CEO was calling for help in his suffocation-prone office. We had to pick him up, carry him over to the window, and take him down the ladder. We also needed to break windows with our axe to create more air circulation, so the objectives did have some variety.
Although the actions are based on real-life firefighting techniques, the realism has been toned down some to make it more accessible for younger players. If you stand too near to the fire, you get hurt, but your health regenerates when you find safety. You won't have to worry about your oxygen level, either. Flames are everywhere, but smoke is kept to a minimum, so you can breathe without problems and see where you're going.
Real Heroes: Firefighter is shaping up to be an interesting take on the FPS genre. The game is scheduled for release in August, so check back later to see how it turns out.