TGS 2008: Bionic Commando Updated Hands-On

Nathan Spencer won't be left hanging in our look at the tutorial mode from this Capcom adventure game.

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TOKYO--Let's face it: You don't become Nathan Spencer overnight. Even the bona fide bionic-armed badass who serves as the central character of Capcom's upcoming Bionic Commando had to start somewhere, and so will you in the game. One of our first stops this morning on the show floor of the 2008 Tokyo Game Show was the Capcom booth, where we got a brief chance to check out the new Bionic Commando build, specifically the new tutorial that will help you get the most out of Nathan's awesome appendage.

The tutorial starts off with the most basic action you'll need to master in BC: the arm swing. When Nathan approaches a ledge, you extend his bionic arm by pressing the left trigger (or the L2 button on the PlayStation 3). Once his arm latches on, you can keep hold of the ledge by holding down the trigger; by letting go at the right moment, you can swing through to the next ledge. The timing on this is tricky at first, and you'll be thankful for the tutorial's quick reset, but soon enough you'll have figured out the timing for the basic arm swing.

After you master the basics, you'll have to clear a few progressively more difficult training rooms (one where you need to swing across multiple overhangs) and a final challenge that will require you to make your way up and across a series of ledges and overhangs, with the ultimate goal being a ledge high above you near the ceiling of the room. While it's likely possible to make it from point A to point B in one elegant, never-ending series of leaps and swings, we couldn't manage it. Instead, we had to start over several times after plunging to our virtual deaths. The tutorial has a smart little feature in this regard; if you make it to one of the multiple levels in the room, you will restart at that ledge if you fall.

Once we managed to get to the next room, the rest of the tutorial had us focusing on shooting, as well as some cool tricks you can do with Nathan's bionic arm, such as grabbing an enemy and then viciously drop-kicking him.

Of course, a tutorial will take you only so far in Bionic Commando. Sooner or later, you're going to have to head out into the big bad world of BC and put those skills to use. Though our demo time on the TGS show floor was limited, we did get a chance to try out a nontutorial level. Here, Nathan started out on a ledge overlooking a cityscape that looked to be booby-trapped with what appeared to be huge floating bombs. We didn't have enough time to investigate much of the city before one of the eminently polite Capcom floor assistants declared that our demo time was over and ushered us out the door. We plan on continuing the adventure tomorrow and will report back with a more extensive report on the level.

[UPDATE] Yesterday, we had a chance to get an extended look at the full level available to us in the Bionic Command do demo and we wanted to update you on what we saw. The bottom line: the moves you learn in the aforementioned tutorial will serve you well once you swing into the big bad world of Bionic Commando.

As we mentioned previously, the city section that comprises this level has been booby-trapped with tons of mines that are floating in mid-air. As we found out during our time with the game, trying to swing on a floating mine will set it to explode, which isn't good for Nathan's health. Your only chance, then, is to find a number of beacons strewn throughout the level that once hacked, will deactivate the mines in the immediate vicinity.

Small on-screen icons show you the general direction in which you need to head and our first objective was a beacon located below Nathan, who started off the level on a ledge overlooking an expanse of ruined cityscape. Right away, we could interact with some of the objects around us--including a car that Nathan could grab with his bionic arm and toss into the air (later, a developer from the GRIN team showed us how, with a quick press of the Y, X, and A buttons we could grab a car, toss it into the air, and then bash it like a volleyball, effectively using it as a huge projectile weapon).

While it seems like Nathan will be able to move from point A to point B on the ground in the game, the better way--and the way that's far more fun--was to swing from whatever perch we could grab to the next. Having completed the tutorial, it was easier to get into the… pardon us… swing of things, moving from one ledge or overhang to the next. Paying attention to your aim icon is everything--the game will let you know when you can reach another object with your bionic arm, and will even give you a brief on-screen clue when you should let go in order to get the most distance out of your swing.

After a brief trek, we found the enemies that surrounded the first beacon, dispatched them quickly with a mixture of automatic weapon fire, a grenade or two, and a special bionic arm/drop kick attack, which you pull off first by grabbing your enemy and then pressing the A button twice in quick succession. With the enemies dispatched, it was time to hack the beacon by grabbing with the arm and pressing the B button.

With the first beacon deactivated, it was time to make our way across the city to the next objective--yet another beacon. We suppose mines suspended in mid-air is a good enough excuse to get players to use the swinging mechanics early and often in BC and, we have to admit, that once you get the timing down, successfully nailing an uninterrupted string of elegant swings is immensely satisfying. It helps to that the game--and more specifically, the level design--provides you with at least the illusion that you're choosing your own direction when you make your way across the city. Of course, those super-sharp visuals of a ruined urban landscape doesn't hurt either.

So the news on this latest preview level of BC is mostly good. If there's a flipside to this, it's that we spent more time trying to figure out the path from one point to the next than we did actually kicking enemy butt. In fact, the number of enemies seemed a bit on the paltry side, which might be a function of the preview build, or might actually be what the final game will play like; we'll have to wait and see. Nonetheless, we're still very excited about what we've seen of the game here at TGS and look forward to bringing you more on the game in the coming months.

Discussion

36 comments
tinytoe007
tinytoe007

I love capcom like resi lost planet and this street fighter one plus

ResiFreak
ResiFreak

I reckon I will get this game but it definiteley isn't one of the the best games out there. But I do love Capcom!

Yeley718
Yeley718

Well..... just cause you swing on a bionic arm doesn't make it spiderman. i hope that cap-com will make it a good solid game i liked the rearmed game but i dont think it will turn out to just be spiderman with guns. it's its own game.

Hanus_mcAnus
Hanus_mcAnus

it does look cool but its just gona be spiderman with guns when you break it down

kvan33
kvan33

This will be on par with Too Human and Fracture. Nothing to get too excited about.

katamari
katamari

We can only hope it is as great as the original on the NES!!!! I really loved Rearmed !!!!

sabitrulz
sabitrulz

Doesn't look that kinda great,may b getting it though on ps3 or pc.

thenewau25
thenewau25

looks epic and i hope it wont suck, plz plz plz

stubuz323
stubuz323

it sounds quite simple, which i think is good, it wont be realistic in any way, more of a 3D game with awesome graphics, but with the concept of early games, like the origional Bionic Commando, sometimes I feel game developers make things to complicated

DJFMBEN
DJFMBEN

i need to try it out i think it will be a disapointment

danopix
danopix

That's the ugliest chick I've ever seen.

ALLoY1717
ALLoY1717

Sounds like it is suffering from bad controls, if the gamespot team couldn't even pass the tutorial.

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

I so want to know the release date, this game is objectively among the best shown on TGS and best for me personally. It's being in developing for a long time already and still we don't get even an approx. date... why?

harrnatorz
harrnatorz

WHEN IS THIS GAME COMMING OUT !!??!! IM DESPERATE !!

TeabagChampion
TeabagChampion

Why is Capcom pushing all of is worth getting title back? RE5, now this? COME ON!!!

axelviiii
axelviiii

Always excited for more BC info. Hope the soundtrack's as good as Rearmed (In quality, mind you.)

GodsPoison
GodsPoison

The multiplayer for this looks insanely fun, swinging around a skyscraper drop kicking your freinds and stuff, deffinately gonna pick this up!

Stalker700
Stalker700

*drooooool* Looks and sounds amazing! Can't wait for this one:)

Amir29
Amir29

L-Trigger? Using the left trigger for the most used mechanic in the game seems a little odd. But hey, they enjoyed it, so I'm hoping I will too. :)

-HCMF-
-HCMF-

this game looks good, my only fear is that it is one of those find the 100 hidden stupid things games...

Lexxzilla
Lexxzilla

This game looks good, I just love how some people condemn it before it actually gets out. How about trying something new; like first playing it, then bashing it if it sucks.

Jehovahswitless
Jehovahswitless

how can u say this doesn't look like fun? u have seen the clips right? jesus! come on the lanscapes look awesome, game play looks smooth! won't be high on the must buy scale, but i bet u 37p it'll be good honest swing while ur winning!

watson_twenty5
watson_twenty5

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

tevic
tevic

I like the lighning effects in the videos i've seen of this game.

ocdog45
ocdog45

not one of my top 10 games to look out for but still intresting.

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

This is starting to sound more like a game based on Metroid Prime 3's grappling beam... I'm sure it will be M and more violent though. And did they mention you can jump? if not I won't bother at all with this game.

WarPrime
WarPrime

I have been waiting for more info about this game since I saw the first video footage nearly a year ago. But so many games these days rely on technology and story and not enough on good game play. (Im looking at you Starwars: Force Unleashed). So, as always, I am hopeful but skeptical.

AzelKosMos
AzelKosMos

I shall wait for a demo to push me on this.

maaly81
maaly81

Im skeptical about this game. didnt really like rearmed, and some games just shouldnt be remade

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Sounds a little too complex just to move from Point A to Point B using the swinging mechanic. So far, Capcom hasn't convinced me to purchase this.

ahmedbilal1993
ahmedbilal1993

'We didn't have enough time to actually investigate much of the city before one of the eminently polite Capcom floor assistants declared that our demo time was over and ushered us out the door'. That was supposed to be funny, right?