THQ's lineup is pretty much about sequels, with the crazy Saints Row: The Third, Metro: Last Light (as dark as the previous game) and the rough Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. Their booth was probably one of the most beautiful. An angel statue straight from Saints Row 2, a jet doubling as a lounge, and a Warhammer's cockpit containing the stand. While Space Marine was playable, Metro: Last Light and Saints Row 3 were not, as they've been shown behind closed doors. Now let's take a look at these three promising games, and don't forget to thank Plumb again for his sharp eye.
Saints Row The Third
Besides the angel statue lauding proudly at the entry, the room itself was quite nice with genuine seats, a concern we appreciate. Back to the subject, it starts rough as the main character walks and then fights, hand-to-hand, the poor guys in his way. That brutality was necessary to show us some finishing moves, whether they be violent or funny: an aerial suplex followed by the character striking a pose, a free kick right after jumping on the victim's back or a brutal blow straight to the balls that reminds of a cult scene from Hot Shots! Part Deux. As if it was not enough, originals and unexpected melee weapons were unveiled: the giant dildo and apoco fist that allows you to blow up the innocent pedestrians as if they were spineless, the whole slew of them ending up in a shower of blood.
You may know what to expect of this third and overexcited game of the series, but that was just the beginning. If you need to steal a car, all you have to do is sprint in its direction and jump through the car's window and then you're ready to drive. Sure this is not realistic but the game intends to be funny and it is. The driving seems to be streamlined to increase the amusement while behind the wheel of those different racing cars. To amaze the girls you'll be able to start a drift showoff that will liven things up in the street. The Saints being the wealthiest gang of the city, they have access to leading-edge military technology: tanks, advanced assault rifles, even air strikes straight out of Modern Warfare.
The military highlight comes from the interceptor that doesn't takeoff but liftoff, making the Hawker Siddeley Harrier a tiny toy next to it. This aircraft and the jet from Nintendo's Super Aleste are like two peas in a pod. The fighter plane can hover, or propel itself at great speed, fire in bursts or shoot fearsome homing missiles. Still from the delirious part of the game, there's a human cannon truck that allows one to launch any passerby, or even your own character. A new feature borrowed from Just Cause and Rico, the parachute, which can be used as much as you want while in the air.
Saints Row: The Third carries on with a great frenzy and banks its open world universe on the theme of pure entertainment. We didn't see how the side missions look, but we should expect anything (in a good way) as always. A main mission has shown us that the dialogue is still filled with humor and that the objectives could be even more wild and crazy. On the other hand, graphically, don't expect something wonderful even if the engine is still effective. To conclude, I think that this third episode will remain faithful to its elders with a touch of madness.
Metro Last Light
Metro 2033's sequel was also shown away from prying eyes, and even though the room's decoration wasn't as impressive as Saints Row: The Third, or Warhammer 40,000's, the game itself was worth seeing. Metro: Last Light is the direct continuation of the first opus, thus we come across the same dark atmosphere as in 4A Games' first title. This presentation unveiled what we could briefly see in the last official trailer. The first scene gives us the opportunity to both admire the outside world covered with vestiges from the modern civilization, and to notice that the game's engine is still appealing. After having roamed a while through this lifeless land, the camera plunges into the depths of the Moscow's sewer. There the player takes the control of the hero, Ayrtom, who seems to be infiltrating an enemy's camp.
First surprise, it is now possible for the player to play in a totally furtive much more easily than before; he can unscrew light bulbs which are within reach to squeeze in the dark. Equipped with a weapon with a silencer, he is also able to destroy light sources from a distance, or kill enemies, when a hand-to-hand encounter is not desired. This feature is really pleasant and all the more so it leads to very nice lighting effects. Once successfully infiltrated, Ayrtom attends a speech from a Russian officer to a gathering which reminds one of the Third Reich. The allies present in the room take advantage of an argument between two men on the Officer stand and coldly kill them before running away, while shooting their pursuers. They then jump in a mine cart and rush down the railway. With their enemies hot on their tails, our hero screws a big machine-gun on the cart to liquidate them. Although this sequence is scripted, it brings some rhythm.
Metro: Last Light retains the dark atmosphere of the first game and it is even more impressive from a technical standpoint. We only got the chance to see the PC version, so it can be assumed that the console versions may not look as good. Since infiltration has been improved greatly over the last game, the only thing that could bother some of you may be the scripted sequences. If 4A Games manages to propose a good mix of gameplay elements, then this sequel should make it big.
Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine
Warhammer was the only playable game at the booth, with a giant ship as the setting of the playing area. With our special privilege in hands, we board the craft to get a closer look at Relic Entertainment's game. First observation, the hormone-fed Marines don't go for half measures to take down their targets. The machine gun, equipped with enriched uranium bullets, can explode a head as if it was an ordinary melon. The shotgun may simply shred to pieces the poor fellow crossing its sight. A laser sniper rifle allows you to disintegrate any opponent at long range, and a grenade launcher which uses remote charges that you can trigger whenever you want. If this arsenal seems altogether traditional, you can also draw your chainsaw equipped sword to finish the survivors in a bloody melee. So it's obviously the type of game that will help you let off some steam.
No doubt that there's some Gears of War influence here, though without the chainsaw animation. To replace the most violent attack in the video game history, you can cross "swords" with an equally armed enemy. So you have to hammer a button to win the duel to finish your opponent by driving your blade in his head; a very pleasing action, it must be confessed, sadistic or not. We find the usual mechanic of life and armor, the latter recharging quickly while health is recovered much more slowly. A power gage also allows you to launch devastating special attacks unto the hordes, which will eliminate many enemies in the blink of an eye.
This new episode of the Warhammer license does not invent anything new, but it still provides good entertainment. The ultra violent actions are clearly not for the most sensitive amongst you, and there is so much blood being splattered around that it becomes totally unrealistic and over the top. The graphics engine is nothing transcendent compared to other games of the genre, but it is definitely gets the job done. We will have to delve into the story to make a more accurate opinion, but for now, Warhammer 40,000 did not succeed in convincing the team.