You probably aren’t very familiar with this publisher, that is unless, of course, you have a child and purchase them some franchise titles that are meant to be basic appealers. They’re the ones behind the Dreamer series of games (Puppy Trainer, Shop Owner, etc.). Paying them a little visit, I was shown a bit of a new Hardy Boys game for the Wii, and Safe Cracker and Agatha Christie for the DS. These games, essentially, are puzzle solvers with items. Hardy and Agatha have stories to them, though, and have some adventure game elements to them. If you have children, then you may find these enjoyable later this year. However, it was two other games that seemed more potentially appealing to readers of TVGB.
First up was Painkiller: Resurrection. Painkiller games are known as old fashioned first-person shooters. Story and scripted sequences rarely, if ever, come into the equation. This game is straight up find the key, kill lots of monsters, move to the next room, kill more monsters, rinse, repeat ’til the level ends, then rinse-repeat all that rinse-repeating repeating repeating… Anyway, that’s the game. You play as a servant to heaven and hell based in purgatory after living a life as, basically, a hired gun. You get some wild weapons, like the titular Painkiller, which is part pulse blast and part grinding chainsaw-esque blade. There are many other shooter staples at your disposal like rocket launchers and chain guns for you to kill kill kill with. There is also multiplayer, with the standard deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, and a best of 3-type game where you get three lives and once lost, you’re out. If all this sounds good to you because you like shooters that just shoot, keep an eye out for it later this year on Steam.
The other I was shown: Arcania: A Gothic Tale (above). This is a single player RPG that’s based in the Gothic games universe, which I admittedly am not too familiar with. Worry not, though. If you’re in my boat, then you’ll be pleased to know that you will not be left in the dark with regard to story. The game plays and looks like a solid action-RPG. You move about the world — which looks gorgeous — and traverse your way through over 300 quests, 180 of which are part of the main story. The game sports a really snazzy graphics engine that allows for dynamic weather, damned fine lighting, and just an overall believable world, right down to convincing water physics.
Savvy to the fact that this predominantly European and decidedly “hardcore” series may be a little overwhelming for many of us in the states, the devs took the time to implement mechanics or even modify gameplay to help guide the new players, but still allow room for the raw RPG feel of the original games. Some examples I was given were a lock feature for people who don’t want to be bothered with aiming in an RPG, or some guidance with regard to story and customization. The customization, by the way, can be as precise as you want as well. If you want a character who absolutely cannot wield a sword but can swing with range weapons, go for it. That seems to be the main selling point for this to the hardcore RPG fans, but hopefully the gorgeous visuals I saw (even if the framerate was a bit low due to a new build with new features implemented) are part of something really special. Expect this for Xbox 360 and PC later this year.