Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 Hands-On

Nathan Spencer returns with a cool new mustache in this follow-up to the remake of the original.

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The release of Bionic Commando Rearmed ushered in a new era of remakes of classic games with its great updated visuals. Its sequel, Bionic Commando Rearmed 2, builds off the visual style of the original and introduces new levels and a few gameplay tweaks to the classic Bionic Commando formula. The most important of these tweaks is the addition of a jump button. It might seem sacrilegious to add such a feature to a Bionic Commando game, but it works well. There's just something immediately satisfying about making a leap across a gap and using Nathan's bionic grappling hook at the last second to make it safely across. And it's definitely not something that breaks the original feel of the game--you won't be bounding over everything, thanks to some slick level design that compensates for Nathan's new skill.

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Nathan has a few other goodies at his disposal. Among his new weapons is the napalm gun, a powerful firearm that shoots a spread of napalm to the surrounding area, wiping out everything in its path. But you have to be careful; if you just stand still while using it, you can inflict damage on yourself. In the demo, we also saw Nathan's standard pistol, as well as the shotgun, a particularly useful weapon for blowing up barrels next to enemies. In addition, Nathan can use biovision--a tool that pauses the game and switches to a semi-night vision view where you can scan nearby enemies and objects for information.

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The level we played in the demo took place in a seaside village. There were plenty of spots to go vertical with the grappling hook, but there were also plenty of opportunities to move away from the beaten path, down to the sewers where we discovered a previously unseen area. We also had to go inside a few buildings to unlock gates to proceed through the level, much like you had to do in the original game. Overall, it seems like exploration plays a bigger role in Rearmed 2 than in its predecessor. The game is currently scheduled for release early next year.

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