Jumper: Griffin's Story Hands-On

Brash's tie-in action game with the new movie of the same name will let you be in several places at once.

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Jumper: Griffin's Story
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Next week will see the theatrical release of Doug Liman's Jumper, an action movie that stars Hayden Christensen as a run-of-the-mill joe who just happens to have the ability to teleport anywhere at any time. Well, not anywhere--that would just be crazy. But he and his fellow jumpers can zip to any place to which they have a line of sight, or anywhere they've been before and can remember via a reminder like a photograph. Unfortunately, a nefarious group called the paladins, led by a platinum-coiffed Samuel L. Jackson, are after the jumpers for reasons not yet explained. The struggle between these two groups will provide the primary conflict in the movie.

Samual L. suggests you do not mess.
Samual L. suggests you do not mess.

Brash Entertainment is prepping the requisite Jumper tie-in action game for release along with the movie, though it doesn't mirror the events in the movie exactly. As the name implies, Jumper: Griffin's Story will place you in the role of Griffin (played by Jamie Bell in the movie), a more experienced jumper-slash-wiseass who serves as a mentor to Christensen's character throughout the film. So the game will be a sort of prequel to the movie--it will feature some locations seen on the big screen and others conceived uniquely for the game itself. Of course, you can expect the usual movie- and comic-related unlockable content to be available in the game as well.

Griffin's Story looks like a straightforward third-person beat-'em-up, save for a couple of neat tricks. The core combat mechanic ties directly in to Griffin's jumping ability; you'll be able to use the four controller face buttons to appear in front of, on either side of, or behind your current opponent. A little red arc will appear on the side (or sides) of your target to indicate which side he's most likely to block on, and these change very rapidly, so figuring out which side to teleport to on the fly gives the combat an action-puzzle feel.

When you've beaten up an opponent enough, you'll sometimes be able to execute what's called a "jump finisher," which involves grabbing the hapless thug, teleporting to some dangerous place in the world, and leaving him to his often grisly fate. This includes dropping your opponent in a desert right before a nuclear bomb test is detonated; trapping him in the front seat of a car moments before it's crushed in a compactor; letting him float in a tank full of sharks; and simply abandoning him to freeze to death atop the Himalayas. These finishers are presented as full-motion video and thus will probably get tiresome after you've seen them a few times, but they're pretty entertaining (and a little disturbing) at first.

Griffin's Story isn't very impressive graphically, but the combat seems like it could be fairly entertaining if it proves to have enough depth over the long haul. Luckily, you'll be able to unlock some new combos that you can chain together, which may keep things from getting repetitive. Both Jumper and Griffin's Story are due out next week.

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