Fantastic 4: Rise of Silver Surfer Update

We checked out more of the action in this comic-book-turned-movie-turned-game from Visual Concepts.

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We recently took a brief first look at the upcoming action game based on this summer's Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Now 2K Games and developer Visual Concepts have given us a more in-depth look at the new game, which will hit shelves on June 15 (the same day the movie opens in theaters). The studio is still playing it quiet on the storyline in the film, but we think it's safe to surmise from the title that intergalactic hero the Silver Surfer will play a prominent role. However, as far as we know, you'll only control the core F4 team--Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Thing, and the Human Torch--as you battle through the game's various action stages.

You'll be encouraged to use the four heroes' powers together to solve combat and puzzle situations.
You'll be encouraged to use the four heroes' powers together to solve combat and puzzle situations.

As we reported previously, only about half of those levels are taken directly from the movie. The other half were created specifically for the game, but even these new scenarios are designed to flesh out the film's storyline (whatever its particulars may be). Nevertheless, the designers have found ways to pull in other characters and villains from the greater Fantastic 4 fiction, such as the Skrull and the Red Ghost. It was the Ghost's orbital fortress that we got to check out during our demo, where the four-man team had to take on the nefarious Soviet villain's army of superapes, mechanical defenses, and booby traps.

The gameplay in this level looked similar to the Skrull level we got to try out a couple of weeks ago, with all four heroes moving around as a group. You can switch among the four at a touch of the D pad, and several of their superpowers were all in evidence. These included Reed's stretch grapple and periscope punch; Johnny's flight and flame-throwing; and Sue's invisibility, telekinesis, and energy shield. The designers want to give you multiple options in both puzzle-solving and combat scenarios so that you can use the powers of the four heroes somewhat creatively when tackling different situations. This should hopefully make for a more dynamic gameplay experience. This is doubly true in combat, where the enemies will even purportedly follow a rudimentary command hierarchy, with characters reacting to you differently based on their weapon types and their proximity to specific "leader" characters.

There will be tons of destructible scenery in the game's environments, and you'll be encouraged to destroy all of it as you progress. Primarily that's because breaking stuff is fun, right? But further along, you'll pick up money as you trash computer consoles and garbage cans. You can then spend this currency on a surprisingly extensive customization scheme. You'll get to augment each character in a number of categories, from purchasing new combo melee attacks and special moves to simply increasing stats, such as health capacity. Upgraded moves will yield a visual effect as well. For instance, the Human Torch's fireballs will get bigger as you upgrade them. Alternate costumes will be available for discovery in some levels, and these will also confer some bonuses. Though which costumes and what bonuses may be conferred haven't been revealed yet. (You can at least rest assured they're costumes you've previously seen in the comics.)

Each character will have solo action sequences tailored to his or her unique abilities.
Each character will have solo action sequences tailored to his or her unique abilities.

Each member of the Fantastic 4 will occasionally get a brief solo level. In these levels, you'll only control one specific hero, and the obstacles or puzzles in each level will obviously be tailored to that character. In our last preview, we talked about a level where Johnny Blaze will speed through the tunnels of New York City in pursuit of the Silver Surfer. We also got a look at a new stealth level designed for the Invisible Woman (and set on the Red Ghost's space station). As you might imagine, invisibility is a useful ability to have in a stealth level, but again, there will be multiple ways you can deal with each obstacle. For instance, you can become invisible to walk undetected through a group of sentry robots, or you can sneak into their midst, become visible, and activate your energy shield simultaneously. This will cause the robots to destroy themselves as their fire bounces off your shield and returns to them.

We've seen Rise of the Silver Surfer on the Xbox 360 and PS3, and it looks like Visual Concepts has put more oomph into this one than you'd usually expect out of a movie-licensed game, especially one based on a movie that is itself licensed from a comic book. At any rate, look for a review of the game sometime around the release of the movie in a couple of weeks.

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