Earth is under attack from a mysterious alien invasion...again. That tale might have been told before, but that doesn't mean it can't be fun to take part in. In the upcoming Xbox Live game from Square Enix, Zero Day: Attack on Earth, you'll get your shot at saving the planet in this 2D shooter.
You pilot a heavily armed aircraft and are joined by AI pilots who help you take down the massive opponents that serve as enemies in the game. In fact, these monstrous alien craft were more prevalent than smaller enemies in our time with the game, and it took some careful shooting to take them down. In some cases, an appendage of the huge enemies might be vulnerable for only a few seconds due to the angle it was facing, and in other cases, we could attack only specific sections of an enemy before getting to its most vulnerable spots.
Occasionally the large enemies spawn off smaller baddies that you can take down either with your basic blaster or with bombs that explode outward, causing huge amounts of damage in the process. One interesting limitation to the combat in Zero Day is the range of your shots. Our craft's laser cannons had a limited firing distance, which means we had to get pretty close to an enemy--often too close for comfort--in order to cause real damage. On the flip side, some of the enemy attacks had similar range limitations too, which meant it was easy to keep away.
Initially in the level we played, we could fly anywhere we wanted--with orange arrows indicating where the next big enemy was. As the level progressed, however, we ran into huge black clouds--what looked like alien electrical storms that limited our movement and made things more difficult. Our AI pilots didn't provide much in the way of backup either. Here's hoping Zero Day has some sort of cooperative multiplayer option to take the AI's place.
Zero Day has an interesting visual thing going on--the city textures that scroll underneath the alien-fighting action are based on real satellite imagery and give a sense of place to the mayhem happening above the city. On the other hand, the actual battle effects left us feeling somewhat cold; all the aircraft in the game seem pretty generic, and we were expecting a bit more over-the-top Raiden IV-style eye candy action, which never came about in our time with the game. That said, our peek at Zero Day was a brief one, and there's a chance things will pick up the deeper you get into the game. The game is due for release in 2010 in Japan, but no overseas release date has been set.