Stolen Impressions

We meet with Graeme Puttok of Blue 52 to get our first look at this stealth action game for the PS2.

Earlier today we met with Graeme Puttock of Blue 52 to check out Stolen, a stealth action game for the PlayStation 2 that was recently signed by Hip Games. In the game, you'll assume the role of a female thief named Anya Romanov, who is something of a gymnast and, thanks to her mentor and fence, Louie Palmer, is equipped with all manner of high-tech gadgets.

Stolen will include a total of four levels: a museum, a prison, a high-rise corporate HQ, and a satellite array atop a mountain. Our demonstration of the game took place exclusively on the museum level, where Anya's primary objective was to steal a ruby hidden inside a Japanese statue. Anya's first task, though, was to make her way from the dark, rain-soaked rooftops into the museum itself. The level took place in the dead of night, and both the rain and lightning effects were quite impressive. Equally impressive were the animations for Anya's extensive range of moves, which included running, jumping, rolling, moving against and running up walls, shimmying along ledges, and swinging on poles.

We got to see a number of the gadgets at Anya's disposal during our demonstration, including her first-person goggles that highlight objects that can be interacted with--a pole that can be used to swing on, for example. We also got to see the electronic nullifier that Anya uses to incapacitate camera systems and security guards, and an air gun that's capable of firing numerous different ammunition types. The two ammo types that we got to see in action for ourselves were a Splinter Cell-like sonic emitter that makes sounds to draw guards away from their regular patrol routes, and a motion tracker that, when fired at enemies or security cameras, adds their locations and vision cones to the map that's ever present in the bottom right of the screen (along with a health bar and visibility meter).

The other gadget that we got to see in action was Anya's sonic radar vision, which she can use to see through locked doors and such. The sonic radar vision looked a lot like an X-ray. Because it was only effective when sound was present, Anya occasionally needed to make a noise herself. We also witnessed Anya deliberately making noises in order to awaken a sleeping security guard (the guards on the first level aren't particularly diligent), although we doubt this is something you'll actually be doing very often. The guard proceeded to carry out a quick search of the room before slumping back into his chair and dozing off again. Your opposition on later levels in the game, incidentally, will be much more professional and thorough.

Since Anya isn't terribly proficient at combat, the emphasis in the game is very much on stealth. There will be times, however, when incapacitating guards by choking them from behind definitely makes sense--when picking locks, for example. When you decide to pick a lock, you'll be presented with a minigame of sorts (one of four that will appear in the game, another being hacking into computers). Although it's terribly simple, the presence of guards in the immediate vicinity will effectively place a time limit on your getting through the door and out of sight.

We left the Stolen demonstration feeling quite impressed with what we had seen, and we look forward to bringing you more on the game as its March 2005 release date approaches for the PS2, the Xbox, and the PC.

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