Bet on Soldier E3 2005 Hands-On

We get to run around and blow things up for money, and it was great.

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We finally got some time to play Bet on Soldier, the upcoming, futuristic first-person shooter that combines action with a betting mechanic that lets you wager in-game money on whether or not you can defeat an opponent in a certain amount of time. Developed by French studio Kylotonn, Bet on Soldier combines the buy-everything mentality of Counter-Strike with some of the futuristic style of the Unreal games.

Kylotonn let us play a new level that we hadn't seen before, one that was set in Cuba. The game has settings ranging from Central Europe, Alaska, Nevada, and Cuba, and Cuba was probably the best-looking environment that we've seen yet. We battled in the courtyard of a beautiful, old-style estate, and there were plenty of trenches, stone walls, and fountains to use as cover. The combat has a fairly solid feel to it, and one of the neat aspects of the game is that you'll battle heavily armored opponents, so you can see your shots stripping their armor away. It also requires you to concentrate your fire on a certain area, because damage is localized. Otherwise you spend a whole lot of time and ammunition wearing down a target's defenses when you can simply concentrate fire and go for the fast kill by going for the target's vitals.

We only had a chance to play with a couple of weapons, including the assault rifle and the rocket launcher, in addition to grenades. The rocket launcher is fairly standard for the genre, and you can right-click to lock onto a target briefly. The assault rifle has a zoom functionality, which is useful for getting head kills, which earn you more money than a regular kill. It also has a grenade launcher that you can fire using the right mouse button.

And we also got a chance to run around in the exoskeletons, the giant powered armor in the game, sort of like the power loaders seen in the movie Aliens, only with guns and a rocket launcher. The feeling of power is considerable when you're battling infantry, but odds are you'll have to battle other exoskeletons, which evens things out. It can be painful to take on an exoskeleton if you're on foot, and your only real hope is to circle around to its rear and unload there, where it's vulnerable. Otherwise, you're in for a tough time.

Kylotonn still isn't talking much about multiplayer, but the game will support up to 32 players. The Bet on Soldier multiplayer mode will allow you and other players to place wagers during a multiplayer match. There will be different classes to play, so sort of like in Counter-Strike and other squad-based games, each player will have a specific role to play. Bet on Soldier is progressing along on schedule, and it should ship this summer.

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