Starcraft: Ghost TGS Update

We go hands-on with the newest build of the RTS-inspired action game.

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Today at TGS we were allowed to take a look at the latest build of Starcraft: Ghost, the third-person action game being developed for all three consoles by Nihilistic and Blizzard. Ghost has come a long way since we last saw it a few months ago; the game has been cleaned up and solidified in many aspects, and we also got to see some new gameplay elements that have only recently been implemented. Ghost is based on the immensely popular Starcraft RTS franchise, and it draws many characters and settings from the series to populate its world and flesh out its game mechanics.

We got to take a look at the Xbox version of Starcraft: Ghost, which will obviously be the most graphically impressive of the three. The game has a more cohesive look overall, and main character Nova has gotten some special attention from the artists as she's now more detailed and looks a bit more realistic. The lighting looked good on the Xbox, and a few more graphical touches have been added, such as a rain effect. Nova's abilities are still being finalized as the game's development progresses, but we got to play around with them as they currently stand. The enhanced sight, cloaking, and increased speed abilities all work pretty effectively in the current build, and we also got to see some of Nova's ghost-specific abilities, such as the lockdown (when disabling a security camera and science vessel) and various call-downs; though we didn't get to see the ever-popular nuke, we did see the Yamato cannon blast, which lit up the target area with a cool over-bright graphical effect and caused massive damage.

The newest version of Ghost also had rudimentary vehicle combat implemented. The final game will let you pilot a Terran siege tank, goliath (a bipedal mech), and vulture (a small hovercycle). We only got to try a preliminary version of the siege tank, but already the mechanics seemed pretty solid. You can drive around in the siege tank and fire with the main cannon at nearby ground forces; this produces a nice looking fire effect and sends both enemies and nearby objects flying (thanks to the Havok II physics engine). You can also transform the tank into siege mode, which renders it immobile but lets you use a far more powerful cannon for faraway shots. The vehicles will certainly add some more variety to the gameplay, and they'll also make for a bit of geek appeal for those who love Starcraft and want to try driving some of the game's vehicles at ground level.

Starcraft: Ghost is now slated for release in 2004, and it seems like Nihilistic is making good use of the extra time to flesh out and polish the game. We'll bring you more on Ghost in the coming months.

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