Boiling Point Impressions - Early Missions, Vehicles, 25x25 World

We sit down to take a look at this upcoming hybrid game that will combine the exploration elements of a role-playing game with the action of a shooter.

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Do guerillas roll dice to see if they're getting drunk before they storm government complexes in search of arms shipments and hostages? Maybe not, but this upcoming game from publisher Atari and developer Deep Shadows will drop you in the middle of a politically volatile South American country, where you'll embark on a lengthy adventure using both your reflexes and your wits. Boiling Point will be a hybrid game that plays like a first-person shooter but includes many adventure and role-playing game elements in a huge world that's more than 600 square kilometers in size. You'll play as Saul Meyers, a grizzled military veteran whose daughter, an investigative reporter, has been kidnapped by a crime cartel in the fictitious country of Realia. We've seen the game up close and personal and have the details for you here.

You'll take on crime cartels and local insurgents in search of your missing daughter in Boiling Point.
You'll take on crime cartels and local insurgents in search of your missing daughter in Boiling Point.

You'll begin in the fictitious city of Puerto Sombra, where you'll travel the streets on foot from a first-person perspective and meet with representatives from the six primary factions, from whom you'll receive missions and with whom you'll eventually become friendlier or more hostile. These factions include the local mafia, the guerillas, the bandits, the Indians, the government, and the American CIA...plus the neutral faction of civilians, who won't give you any missions but may pull out weapons and fight back if you attack them indiscriminately. Yes, we said neutral civilians you can attack in a huge world. And like another famous game that let you do this sort of thing, Boiling Point will also have a great many drivable vehicles (26 in all), including everything from run-down automobiles to helicopters to boats to tanks. As we were shown, the handling on these vehicles will be pretty lenient, though your vehicles will take damage if you slam into a tree, and you can get into trouble with the authorities if you slam into a pedestrian instead (unless the authorities really don't like a particular pedestrian).

Depending on your actions, you can increase your standing with specific factions based on how you handle yourself in town and on missions. You'll interact with characters using dialogue trees similar to the ones you may have seen in role-playing games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and here they're also complete with full voice-over. Your interactions with specific characters will depend on your standing with them (and in some cases, how much you bribe them with money and booze). The game will have a central, story-based mission (your character's mission is to rescue his kidnapped daughter), but, according to Atari, the game will also have hundreds of side missions that will require you to assassinate key targets, retrieve incriminating documents, and generally further the agenda of one or more major factions. You may find yourself taking a sojourn into the jungle to retrieve a briefcase containing important documents that will get you in slightly better with the cops and make the mafia slightly less fond of you. However, if you decide to run amok with your assault rifle on the enemy compound, the mafia will think a lot less of you in a hurry.

Boiling Point's combat system works just like a first-person shooter...almost. You can carry several weapons, but in keeping with the game's role-playing elements, your inventory will be limited by your weight capacity. As you successfully complete your adventures, you'll actually be able to increase your initial carrying weight of just over 100 kilograms, along with your skills with specific weapons, which will increase with use. You'll also be able to medicate your wounds with pills or booze. However, if you rely too much on chemical stimulants, you'll not only get "buzzed" (getting drunk causes your view to sway from side to side), but also you'll get fewer benefits from them, because you'll build up a tolerance and will eventually become a sickly addict. Like a first-person shooter, you'll engage in battle by pointing your weapons (including pistols, sniper rifles, assault rifles, and grenade launchers, among others) and pulling the trigger, though you'll also have access to some unusual items, like a jar of jam. That's right, jam. The same sticky, sugary substance you put on your toast will get you eaten alive by killer bees if you get covered in it in Boiling Point.

Expect to use a variety of different vehicles to traverse the 625 square kilometers of Realia.
Expect to use a variety of different vehicles to traverse the 625 square kilometers of Realia.

Over the course of the game, you'll travel across the jungle countryside of Realia, which is a whopping 25-by-25 kilometers in size. We actually attempted to fly across the map. However, after hopping into a small commercial plane and flying for several minutes, we made it only about a third of the way across. We also watched several other vehicles in action, including tanks and mobile surface-to-air missile platforms that can blast choppers out of the sky (as long as the choppers don't launch counter-ordnance). Vehicles will have limited ammo, chassis strength, and gasoline to keep players on track with their missions. However, these vehicles can also be brought back to gas stations and garages to both get repaired and gassed up. Travel, exploration, character interaction, and first-person shooter combat will all be integral to Boiling Point. The game is scheduled for release later this year.

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