Angels as we know them - soft, cherubic heralds of Valentine's Day - do not exist in Requiem: Avenging Angel. There is no room for softness or love in the world of Requiem. There is only death, carnage, and salvation through extreme force.
Requiem is Cyclone Studios' second game, after Uprising, and is a dark peek into a far-flung world where the war between righteous and misguided angels has spilled onto the doorstep of humanity. We all know about the first civil war in heaven that saw Lucifer banished from heaven along with a host of his angelic allies. A second war started and is still raging. No word on who is behind this second war, but the end result is that the Fallen, the evil angels, have descended to Creation (that's our universe) to destroy humanity. In deep space lies a space ship called the Leviathan, and the Fallen are trying to power it with the souls of all the innocents of Creation for an evil purpose. Recognizing the Fallen's plot, the Chosen (the good angels) have sent you, the angel Malachi, to Creation to stop the Fallen.
From the beginning, you'll notice that Requiem isn't your typical 3D shooter. It has heavy adventure elements, although to illustrate this game's unique style, the designers have chosen to start you in the otherworldly realm of Chaos. In the Requiem universe, Chaos is hell, the purgatory where evil souls suffer for eternity. Unfortunately, Chaos is also the one doorway to Creation, so you have to step through the devil's realm to get to Earth.
To give you a taste of what it means to be an angel, you start with several of your angelic powers. As an angel, you will ultimately have access to two dozen powers. These powers range from direct offensive weaponry, such as fireballs and lightning bolts, to defensive abilities, like shield and deflection. There are also some biblical powers such as turning others to salt or summoning a plague of locusts. Although when you begin the game you only know the relatively weak power of lightning, the few monsters you face in this part of Chaos will be relatively weak. The first level of Chaos is meant to just show you the horror of hell. Imagine endless, snaking hallways that spiral in myriad directions, soaked in red and scarred with drawn faces frozen in screams and torment. Now add to this picture tortured bodies hanging from the pulsing, bleeding walls, and you will understand the horrifying reality of Chaos.
Once you navigate this small portion of Chaos, you arrive on Earth. Unfortunately, you are stripped of your wings and your powers. You must walk among the humans and save them from within. As the game progresses and you complete vital missions, you will regain your angelic powers.
The types of environments in the game, in addition to the eerie Chaos levels, will include a refugee camp, power plant, the Leviathan spaceship, sewers, hospitals, bases, and bars. Expect them all to be populated with appropriate people (injured soldiers in the refugee camp, wounded in the hospital, patrons in the bar). Some will also be available for interaction, especially when a key plot point, story element, or mission has to be presented.
Requiem has plenty of action and many enemies to fight. In the Chaos levels (you will of course return there periodically to fight the demons and Fallen), there will be all manner of monsters. There will be giant worms, reptiles, and leaping fiends. The enemies you face in Creation will be human guards. Some are lightly armored with weak guns, while others are hulks with heavy armor and powerful artillery. We'll bring you a more comprehensive look at the human enemies, the monsters, and the Fallen in a later preview.
The firearms, or secular weapons, at your disposal are typical shooter fare, although that's forgivable given the cool angelic powers. There is a handgun, a shotgun, a machine gun, grenade launcher, rocket launcher, and sniper rifle. There might also be a few more-spectacular weapons. Although they're not bad, these weapons don't look quite as cool as the weapons I've seen in the betas of Half-Life or Sin. But again, the angelic powers more than make up for that.
The graphics and sound in Requiem are impressive. The characters are well articulated and highly detailed. In some instances, like the murals on the refugee camp walls or the halls of Chaos, the environments are eye-catching, but in other levels, the walls look somewhat bland and uninspired. Yet, the engine definitely looks good and has the potential to deliver some stunning environments. The only question as Requiem gets closer to ship is whether the quality can be consistently good. Other visuals in the game are strikingly good, such as the moving shadows and the special effects, so there is hope. The sound is likewise good, especially when salted enemies crumble apart or when shells fall from the machine gun.
Admittedly, we've only played a little of Requiem. But the unique premise, stylized look, and biblical storyline and powers have the potential to make a standout game. In the coming weeks, we'll play the beta copy of Requiem some more and chat with the developers and bring you a more in-depth preview.