E3 '07: Heavy Duty Impressions
Fans of X-Com might want to check out Heavy Duty, a new game from Akella. We take a look at E3 2007.
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We first took a look at Heavy Duty at last year's E3, and now that a year has passed, we're going back for more. This should be the last time we see the game, though, as it should be out in a few months.
For now, though, we were shown an updated look at this X-Com-influenced strategy action game. The story of Heavy Duty has you take control of a colony on a distant planet. Your colonization efforts have attracted the attention of numerous aliens, however, who will attempt to roust you from your bases and eliminate your forces. It's up to you to fight back.
We started out by looking at the large globe map that X-Com fans will recognize as an updated version of the globe that controlled your experiences in that classic game. The difference here is that you're not limited to simply zooming in; you can actually swing the camera all the way down to a tactical view of the world map, a la Supreme Commander. Thus, there's no separation between the strategic map and the tactical map: simply zoom in and out as you please.
Different kinds of gameplay will require you to zoom between around on the map, of course. The strategic map will be where you track and shoot down alien airships that get too close to one of your bases. While you can simply launch a fighter and let it do the dirty work for you, you can also control your fighter and guide it in for the kill manually if you wish. When you shoot down enemy crafts, you'll have to send out one of your own landing vessels, stocked with marines and vehicles, to the crash site and attempt to defeat any remaining aliens to recover the craft. All of this takes place on one large globe, so there's no loading screens involved between any of these processes. It's also all done in real time; the game isn't turn-based, although you can manipulate and pause the flow of time to issue orders as you like.
In another nod to X-Com, you'll have to build bases in order to recruit new soldiers, buy new ships, and research new technology. One of the important aspects of these bases are the political buildings, which will let you interact with the political leadership of the colony in an attempt to gain more funds and recruit more raw troops for the cause.
While not much appears to be incredibly new compared with the demo that was shown off at E3 last year, Heavy Duty still looks like an intriguing entry into an expanding genre of games that attempt to emulate one of the best strategy games of all time. Fans of X-Com might want to give Heavy Duty a whirl when it hits later this year; GameSpot will of course have a full review when it reaches American shores.