First Look at Capcom's line-up
At a time when Japanese developers are still having a hard time ajusting to the current generation, publisher Capcom has always managed to keep a good level of quality. This year's E3 has not proven otherwise with no less than three anticipated titles: Asura's Wrath, Dragon's Dogma and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. All these games were presented in a playable version so we could give them all a try to let you know about our first impressions. Asura's Wrath is clearly one of the games that held our attention, but the coming of a new IP such as Dragon's Dogma should not be undermined. As for Operation Raccoon City, it is trying hard to freshen up the series' gameplay, at last. Time for a first verdict, so join me inside.
Dragon Ball meets Asian mythology
We only needed a few minutes playing the game to fall under Asura's charm. The artistic direction is a subtle mix between Asian art and manga style and it is undeniably effective. The characters definitely look like sculptures that have come to life and it is a sight for sore eyes. Gameplay looks quite easy to master, as rushing to your enemies to tear them to pieces seems to work pretty well. We will need to play the game more to find out if the combat system is interesting enough in the long run but we are still quite excited about Cyber Connect 2's title. Asura has good reasons to want to destroy them all. His anger is easily explained by the fact that some God prevented him from being a father. No wonder then that Asura should want to seek revenge and kill the powerful Vajra Wyzen. A massive confrontation that definitely has a God of War flavor, since the hero is a fallen god himself. He is fully determined to obtain satisfaction, even if he has to destroy the entire planet to get it.
The demo we tested featured combat, cutscenses and rather well-animated QTE. No room for rest, no time to take one's breath, we really felt the same rush as Asura.The hero's magnificent silver arms allow him to launch powerful melee attacks, but also ranged ones. The firearm he possesses looks like a mix between a Gatling gun and Dragon Ball's fire bursts so I'll let you imagine how fast he can shoot. The chasing sequences are also very dynamic, and even the fall of big rocks caused by his enemies' projectiles cannot slow Asura down. Much like in every other beat them up on the market, the main character has a very useful rage meter. Once filled, you can unleash his wrath and cause much higher damages for a short period of time. But where the game stands out really is during boss battles. Indeed, while the player's goal is usually to empty the boss' life meter, in Asura's Wrath you will have to fill your enemy's rage meter in order to be able to launch the fatal coup de grâce.
This first contact with Asura's Wrath came up as a pretty nice surprise. Its artistic direction and its pace show great promises. Let's just hope that there will be enough depth in gameplay to make the game interesting in the long run. If there is, this could turn out to be one of the must-haves of 2012.
Dragon's lair new dogma
The second good surprise in Capcom's line-up is undeniably Dragon's Dogma with its medieval fantasy atmosphere and its huge boss. Graphically, the game's engine is easily on par with the other triple A titles, which is not surprising considering it has actually been granted the highest budget in all Capcom's upcoming games. The demo featured two different levels, one being set in some underground ruins, while the second took place outside in the open. Each level obviously ended with a memorable boss battle. Since you have all seen the video showing the combat against the Griffon, we will focus on the underground level.
The main character (an Aragorn lookalike) starts the mission in a maze of corridors and small rooms. The first creatures he encounters do not stand much of a chance against the strider. Fighting gives pretty good sensations and slicing up what seems to be orcs gets fun very soon. Defending is also important in the combat system as you carry a shield which can protect you from most attacks. After a few minutes of wandering around, we discover a magic stone which allows us to call two NPCs for backup : an elf archer and a sorcerer who must definitely be related to Gandalf.
Each of them has his own abilities and can offer support in a different way. The sorcerer can cast a fire spell on your sword so it can cause more damage, for example. The elf obviously uses a bow for ranged combat, but she can also use healing powers. The three companions fight their way through the dark and narrow corridors but unfortunately, the NPCs block your path a little bit too often, preventing you from moving forward at times. It is annoying in this level mostly because of the way it is built. When one of your new friends happens to die during combat, he can be revived by either one of the remaining characters. The final boss of this level is a gigantic chimera composed of several creatures. The goal is to kill each of them, which requires a bit of time and patience as the game is pretty challenging.
With its Lord of the Rings flavor, this new franchise could very well become a new standard in the genre. Both the atmosphere and the graphics do a great job at immersing the player, so well that I did not even spot any particular flaw in these areas. The combat system seems to be pretty dynamic, though we would have loved to see more varied animations. As far as AI is concerned, it gets the job done and our only concern is with the behavior of our teammates in more enclosed environments. All in all, the biggest disappointment comes from the absence of a co-op mode that would have made perfect sense. Other than that, Dragon's Dogma definitely deserves all your attention.
Contrary to Dragon's Dogma, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City has been entirely designed with a co-op component in mind. If the scenery will undoubtedly be very familiar to Resident Evil fans, things are a bit different this time around as you get to play as a member of Umbrella's elite forces. Quite logically considering what happens to Raccoon City at the end of the third installment, the events depicted in the game take place before the end of Resident Evil 3, while Umbrella is trying to cover the company's tracks by gathering all the remaining evidence that could link the pharmaceutical firm to the zombie outbreak. You can of course expect to cross paths with the most famous characters of the series, as proven in the beginning of the demo which shows Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield on board of a police car as they are trying to escape a group of rabid zombies. Ring a bell?
Even though the multiplayer aspect is at the core of gameplay, this new episode in the franchise can still be played on one's own. That's actually how we got to try the game ourselves. Six different classes are available, among which are assault, recon, and explosive expert. I chose the recon soldier because it went with a very coop optical camouflage device I wanted to try. The first thing that strikes when you take control of the character is that you can finally move freely whilst aiming. Forgive me for stating the obvious here but it is such a nice change to feel like you are really impersonating a human being, and not some kind of clumsy tank or robot like in the past.
The main objective of the demo was to retrieve sensitive data in the administrative building of the firm. Unsurprisingly, in order to get there, you have to face a pretty good number of hungry zombies. Not that much of a challenge since your arsenal is sufficient to prevent them from giving you a hug. There are even finishing moves you can use to take them down with style, provided you have the proper timing that is. Dealing with the undead should not be a very big deal then, but it is a completely different story when it comes to S.T.A.R members. They are indeed very well-organized and will stop at nothing to be the pain in your ass. With snipers on top of buildings or ground troops charging you, going head first is probably not your best option. Thankfully, that's where the new cover system comes in handy, allowing you to catch your breath and analyze the situation. The fans will also be happy to learn that that green herbs are back and can be found throughout the map.
This new episode in the Resident Evil saga brings a bit of fresh air to the series. What a relief not to be obliged to remain immobile while shooting. The game becomes much more dynamic as a result, as it is now possible to feel like a real bad ass. Tools such as the optical camouflage device are really useful, like when you have to stay out of sight of snipers for example. Enemies seem to be varied as not only will you face zombies and S.T.A.R members, but you will also encounter the famous Hunters and Lickers. The only uncertainty that remains is concerning mission variety. If they manage to maintain a good level of action and diversity, then maybe Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City will be worthy of the franchise's name.
Kudos to PlumbDrumb for checking the article once again. :)
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