Trinity Impressions

You can shoot a bunch of bad guys in slow motion in Gray Matter's Matrix-inspired first-person shooter.


Activision is showing its 2004 first-person shooter, Trinity, for the first time this week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. The game is set in the near future and puts you in the role of the Nightstalker, a superhuman vigilante capable of single-handedly dealing with small armies. The game's hook is much the same as that of Max Payne, except here it's called "flashtime." Sure enough, in flashtime you can dodge bullets and move at unnaturally fast speeds, as the whole world around you seems to slow to a crawl. It might be gimmicky and more than a little reminiscent of The Matrix, but much like how bullet time was great in Max Payne, flashtime seems pretty cool in Trinity from what we've seen so far.

You of course have limited access to flashtime and must use it when you wish to take out a number of enemies quickly, make a hasty retreat, or get out of harm's way. While everything is slowed down, you can jump extra far, perform sideways flips (your whole view rotates as you launch yourself in midair), and even use close-ranged kicks to thrash your opponents. Between skirmishes, you can also automatically recover some of your health, not unlike Master Chief's recharging shields in Halo. Gray Matter is developing Trinity using a modified version of the Quake III engine, the same as what the company used for its last project, Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

Trinity will be a single-player-only game for both the PC and Xbox, since obviously the flashtime feature would be difficult to viably implement in a multiplayer setting. Besides, a Gray Matter representative stated that the developers are really focusing on creating a memorable and exciting single-player experience. We only saw the PC version of the game, but we expect that the Xbox version will look good too, especially considering the recently released Xbox version of Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

The action has a pretty good dynamic to it already, even though the game is a ways off. Much like in Max Payne, in Trinity, when the action is slowed down, you can clearly make out individual bullets flying through the air--and you can even see Matrix-style contrails behind them. The game apparently takes place in and around New Orleans, and the level we tried out seemed to be a bayou of some sort--nothing too futuristic about it, except for the high-powered assault rifle at the Nightstalker's disposal and the weird uniforms of the enemy troops.

The main character's remarkable powers should allow for some action sequences that are highly challenging. Aside from the flashtime thing, Trinity's mechanics are pretty standard for a first-person shooter, but just as bullet time did a lot to distinguish Max Payne from other third-person action games, flashtime does much to give Trinity a rather unique style to it. The experience reminded us of using the Force speed ability in Jedi Knight II, only here we could also jump superfar and kick people in the face, and shoot them too. Not a bad formula, so we'll be very interested to see how Trinity develops, and we'll bring you more on the game just as soon as we can.

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