We recently attended a media event held by publisher Kalypso where it showed off four upcoming PC and console games: Air Conflicts: Secret Wars, Dungeons - The Dark Lord, Tropico 4, and Jagged Alliance: Back in Action. We picked up and played each game and have a few new details to report.
Air Conflicts: Secret Wars
Projected Release Date: September 8, 2011
Genre: WWII Flight Simulation (arcade-style)
Platform: PC | Xbox 360 | PS3
Show Me All Screenshots for This Game: PC | Xbox 360 | PS3
We took an updated look at the PlayStation 3 version of Air Conflicts: Secret Wars, an arcade-style flight combat game. Secret Wars will have seven different single-player campaigns, each with seven missions (a total of 49 in all), as well as dozens and dozens of flyable planes from both the WWI and WWII eras. It will also have competitive online multiplayer for up to four players simultaneously (one-on-one or two-on-two). In the campaign, you play as DeeDee, the daughter of a WWI flying ace who wastes her youth as a booze smuggler until she's drafted to join the French resistance and become a fighter pilot herself. Interestingly, Secret Wars will have different atmospheric effects, such as four different seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall), as well as different weather conditions, such as rain, which will affect your visibility. Though the game is focused on dogfighting, there will be other objectives, such as stealth operations that will require you to hunt priority targets while remaining low to the ground and out of your quarry's sight range. We took the game for a quick spin in a dogfighting match with a Spitfire and had a relatively easy time using the game's lenient physics model to bank, turn, and lean hard on our guns whenever an enemy craft so much as brushed against our gun sights. The game will be released this September for the PC, the Xbox 360, and the PS3.
Projected Release Date: September 27, 2011
Genre: Fantasy-Themed Strategy
Show Me All Screenshots for This Game
Dungeons - The Dark Lord is the follow-up to Dungeons, the fantasy-themed dungeon management simulator that was released in February. The Dark Lord's primary addition will be online multiplayer, which was the most requested feature from the original game's fans. The Dark Lord's multiplayer, which we unfortunately didn't get a chance to try, will pit players against each other in their own dungeons as they attempt to build better, more-profitable lairs of their own while occasionally sending out raiding parties into their foe's domain. The Dark Lord will also add new playable dungeon lord characters, such as a yeti, a zombie king, and a demon queen, which we played in the game's available tutorial missions. Like in the original game, you must build up your dungeon by hollowing out sections of cavern and building rooms that will add various bonuses to your domain or lure ambitious adventurers to their demises. The Dark Lord seems to play very similarly to the original game; the demon queen character we played was easily controllable either with mouse clicks or with a zoomed-in view that let us use the W, A, S, and D keys to control her movement while mashing on our left mouse button to attack our foes in melee. Dungeons - The Dark Lord will be unleashed this September for the PC.
Projected Release Date: August 30, 2011
Genre: Strategy, Management
Platform: PC | Xbox 360
Show Me All Screenshots for This Game: PC | Xbox 360
Tropico 4 is, of course, the fourth game in the "Caribbean island simulator" series and the direct follow-up to Kalypso's Tropico 3. The new game will, as we've discussed in our previous coverage on it, include tons of new features that will build on the success of the last game. Like in the last game, you'll play as a new dictator running the island of Tropico, and you must build your empire's economy while successfully interacting with eight political factions (capitalist, communist, intellectual, religious, militarist, environmentalist, nationalist, and loyalist). You must also interact with world superpowers, such as the US and the Soviet Union (which may declare war on you), as well as China, Europe, and the Middle East (which won't invade but may still impose the dreaded economic sanctions on your fledgling nation). While the game doesn't seem all that different from our last look at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, it has clearly benefited from the extra time that Kalypso has allowed to polish the game further. Tropico 4 will be released at the end of this month.
Projected Release Date: Q1 2012
Genre: Military Turn-Based Strategy
Show Me All Screenshots for This Game
Finally, we got our hands on an updated version of Jagged Alliance: Back in Action to find that the game continues to shape up as a 3D remake of Jagged Alliance 2. The laptop computer interface, which lets you check your email and deploy to various hot spots in Arulco has now been added to the game. But we were able to play through only one mission, the Arulco airport, with our lone team member, the Hungarian demolitions wunderkind Barry Unger. This updated version of the game had character voices implemented, but in this case, the voices were from the original Jagged Alliance 2. We've been told previously that the original plan for Back in Action was to have rerecorded voices, so presumably, this voice was just a placeholder. (Though frankly, we wouldn't mind if the new game simply had the old Jagged Alliance 2 voices, which were excellent.) Our version of Barry was powered up for demo purposes and flying solo, and as you may recall, he's not the world's greatest marksman. His revolver and demo pack weren't really the best weapon loadout to take on an airport guarded by entrenched militia. However, this session at least gave us a chance to try out the game's plan-and-go command queuing, which let us quickly and easily order Barry to walk, run, crouch, go prone, or line up potshots against his foes. And because the game conveniently displays your enemies' line of sight as a glowing cone on the ground, we had no problem taking down a few scattered guards here and there. Jagged Alliance: Back in Action was recently delayed to the beginning of 2012.