E3 2008: Ben 10: Alien Force Impressions

Transform into an alien and punch enemies for great justice.

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The Ben 10 property is a Cartoon Network juggernaut that chronicles the adventures of the young Ben Tennyson. Using a wristwatch-like device known as the Omnitrix, Ben is able to transform into a number of different alien forms and personas that he then uses to take out evil (or just otherwise get into trouble). We stopped by the D3 booth at E3 to catch up with the shape-shifting little scamp to see what sort of adventures he's got in store with Alien Force.

The story behind Alien Force is that Ben's beloved grandfather Max has been abducted by a nasty coalition of alien supremacists and users of alien technology. It's up to Ben to execute a rescue mission, but he's got some help via his energy-wielding cousin Gwen and their ally Kevin, who can absorb the elemental properties of matter. Fans of the show will be in familiar territory as far as the game's setting goes, with the original storyline acting as a sort of "lost episode" in the Alien Force canon. As well as retaining the show's look and feel, the voice actors of the show all reprise their roles in the game.

Insofar as the action itself goes, you'll be controlling one of the three teens as you move along punching and zapping your way through aliens. We saw two of Ben's available alien forms; he'll be able to transform into five separate forms through the course of the game. Swampfire is a lean, green alien with the ability to shoot forth fire attacks; Big Chill is a gleaming blue alien with the power to freeze enemies. Gwen herself uses magic, firing beams of energy at her foes and using her powers to conquer obstacles--for example, she can create a platform of energy and use it to float on.

Controls on the Wii version of the game incorporate gestures with the remote and Nunchuk; however, you can also execute the moves entirely via button presses, or even a combination of the two if you desire. The game environments we saw were pretty open and sparse with enemies emerging in small, manageable numbers, so it seems like the game should be accessible to players of all ages. Ben 10: Alien Force will be invading the Wii and PlayStation 2 in late October of this year.

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