The Shield Impressions

Sammy announces a game based on the popular police show.

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Sammy announced a game based on the popular cable show The Shield at its first annual gamers' day event yesterday evening. A trailer for the game showed a mix of live-action footage taken from the show as well as footage from a work-in-progress version of the game. The Shield, currently in development at Point of View, appears to be a third-person action game that will cast you in the role of detective Vic Mackey, the series' complex antihero. The action will follow Vic and his special unit, Strike Team, as they dole out justice throughout the Farmington district of Los Angeles.

The clips of gameplay that were interspersed with show footage were taken from an early version of the game and showed off an eye-popping graphics engine. We caught glimpses of several urban environments that featured a host of little touches to bring them to gritty life. A shooting view will let you target your foes with precision as well as offer the chance to examine your surroundings. However, the most impressive components of the graphics engine are its powerful lighting and what appears to be streaming video technology. The lighting system was nicely highlighted in a number of clips that showed shafts of light streaming in through windows and subtly colored hues coming from the environment. The streaming video elements caused us to do a double take as Vic walked in front of a projector in one sequence while the video clip being shown on the wall behind him overlayed onto his character model. The effect was especially impressive considering that the gameplay shown was from what we were told was the PlayStation 2. The effect was shown again in a more close-up camera angle that let us scrutinize the video being laid over Vic. Although brief, the video in the clip appeared to be what was shown on the wall. Regardless of how Point of View is accomplishing this effect, it's one nice piece of eye candy. The game clips also showed off real-time cinemas that appear to move the story along.

From a gameplay perspective, the brief trailer offered glimpses of third-person exploration and shooting and a liberal dose of violence--all things to be expected from a game based on the dark, gritty show. The trailer certainly piqued our interest for the upcoming game. The combination of POV's development prowess and close collaboration with the series' creative staff should make for a gritty game that ought to be worth a look. The Shield is currently slated to ship in Q1 2005 for the PlayStation 2.

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