Nerf 2: N-Strike Elite Hands-On Impressions

We blast some sinister robots with suction-cup darts in EA's upcoming Nerf rail shooter for the Wii.

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Nerf blasters are an important part of every boy's childhood, and with the Nerf N-Strike series of family-friendly shooters, you can get your foam dart on without the hassle of having to clean up after yourself. We recently got to try out the latest game in this lineup at the EA Studio Showcase event just outside of Comic-Con, where we junked robots and solved puzzles using the handy new red-reveal feature.

Who's Making This Game:

Following the success of last year's Nerf N-Strike on the Wii and DS, EA Hasbro has developed a direct sequel that picks up right where the first one left off. Five of the original characters will return, as will B.O.B., the evil robot seemingly defeated.

What the Game Looks Like:

Nerf 2 has a vibrant color palette not unlike the Nerf weapons themselves. Levels range from wide-open outdoor environments to restricted indoor spaces, and there's an army of enemies to take on, including shield-toting robots and android flies. With the red reveal (a transparent red panel that you look through attached to the Nerf gun controller) flipped up, certain colors popped out at us, making boss weak points and hidden item caches visible. In one of the cooler visual effects, enemy darts actually stuck to the screen for a moment and temporarily obscured our view before falling off during battle.

What There Is to Do:

The red reveal not only exposed hidden enemy weak spots: It also helped us solve puzzles. Throughout our demo, we had to raise the red reveal to our eyes on several occasions to figure out the order for blasting open locks on doors, and one of the more interesting features was its ability to unveil special codes on display throughout the game, which unlocked more powerful weapons. During our adventure, we blasted a number of glowing canisters, which we later used as an in-game currency to upgrade our blasters in a variety of ways. We were able to make weapon-color adjustments, improve base stats, and even turn our darts into sparklers. Finally, we were told that all eight of the levels can be played with a partner in co-op mode, so friends are welcome to come along the ride.

How the Game Is Played:

We started off by selecting one of the four main characters available, and each one came equipped with a different arsenal of up to four blasters by the end of the game. Nerf 2 is an on-rails shooter, so we were guided along a set path along with the rest of the characters as we fought our way through B.O.B.'s robot army. Though our squadmates sometimes could be seen ahead of us onscreen, we were assured that there was no friendly fire. One of the best things about the game was the Wii Remote controller shell, which will be bundled along with the game; you can actually use it as a Nerf gun when you're not playing the game.

What They Say:

According to Dave DePaulis, the EA product manager who guided us through our demo, Nerf 2: N-Strike Elite is targeted toward the eight-to-12 age range for boys, and its predecessor was the second bestselling Wii shooter.

What We Say:

You don't really need to be in the target demographic to enjoy Nerf blasters, and whether you're a kid or just a kid at heart, Nerf 2: N-Strike Elite is shaping up to be a fun on-rails shooter with some original puzzle mechanics via the red reveal. Both parents and Nerf enthusiasts will definitely want to keep an eye out for this family-friendly title, which is due out this fall on the Nintendo Wii.

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