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PAX East 2012: The Showdown Effect preview

Looking to recapture the ridiculousness of classic action flicks, Paradox Interactive showed off their latest 2.5D multiplayer game, The Showdown Effect.  Inspired by 80's and 90's action movies where muscles and one-liners ruled all, The Showdown Effect pits players against one another in a deathmatch.  May the manliest man win.

In my hands-on demo of the game, I was thrown in into the deathmatch against fellow co-worker Mike Splechta, who previewed War of the Roses (another Paradox game), where we fought for fame, glory, and the bragging rights to call the other a sissy, girly-man.

The demo took place on a gritty, highly stylized urban map. Using the standard WASD movement, I traversed through a series of building interiors and a slight outdoor location.  Throughout the map were interactive elements like an elevator that could take you to any floor of the multi-leveled map.  The concept, like an 80's action film, was simple: hunt down the rival player(s) and defeat them in a cinematic showdown.

The Showdown Effect

Armed with an arsenal of heavy duty weapons like a pistols, SMGs, and rocket launchers I began hunting.  What makes Showdown Effect interesting is the "fog of war" that limits your view, making surprise ambushes and intense chase scenes not only possible, but highly probable.  I remember Mike walking blindly through a door and me firing a rocket into his face.  It wasn't the most flashy action sequence, but sometimes over-the-top explosions work as well.

Despite the game's simplistic concept, the combat is quite entertaining; it's fast-paced and brutal.  You use the mouse to aim and fire, while relying on defensive stunts to dodge.

The over-the-top action feel is emphasized by the multitude of mobility options.  Using the space bar you can jump, and pressing it in conjunction with movement keys will have your character perform a series of somersault flips and acrobatic moves that will help you avoid the enemy's gunfire.  You can leap against walls to perform, otherwise impossible, wall jumps to get to the next floor.  When combining the action flips with the spraying of bullets you can wind up with some pretty lengthy cat-and-mouse chases.

The Showdown Effect - PC

The game is meant to be a simplistic, fun deathmatch, nothing more.  But speaking to one of the game's showfloor representatives, we were told that the developers have many features in store to enhance the action movie feel of the game, like including the corny one-liners so often found in the 80's and 90's films.

The Showdown Effect looks like a fun, mindless multiplayer game.  While my preview was only one vs one, the game is expected to have up to 8-player deathmatch.  At launch the game will contain three levels taking place in a Tokyo setting and three levels in a medieval setting, with more levels planned as DLC. 

Look for The Showdown Effect to arrive on PC and Mac in either late 2012 or early 2013.

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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