Soldner – Secret Wars – PC – Preview 2

E3 2003 –
First Look


I’ve been looking up and following Solder
for some time now. A friend and fellow BF1942 player introduced me to the
screenshots a couple of months ago, and I was really excited to see it in action
at E3. Well I was not disappointed, and it’s turning out to have some additional
things that I wasn’t expecting.


Soldner is an MMO action
title, similar to an FPS but with a 3rd person view for the majority
of the time. Everything in the world is interactive, so you’ll quickly be
hopping in and out of vehicles like jeeps, tanks, choppers, etc. with just a
click of a button. You will also be able to paratroop out of them and even do
things like pick up vehicles and take them where you want them by helicopter …
or even drop them onto enemies for an unorthodox (but effective) technique.
There will also be the ability to use a spy satellite which will allow you to
see where your troops are, then create checkpoints and give orders based on
enemy movement or positioning, so there will be an emphasis on team based
gameplay. Add in some really awesome weapons like high-powered rifles and laser
guided missiles … and you can bet there will be some explosive fun to be had. 


The maps are going to be
massive, scaling 6000 x 3000km each for tons of gameplay and strategy
possibilities. One of the really unique things that I saw with Soldner is in
the damage modeling for the environment. For example, many past games that
have been similar would have an entire building crumble when shot with a tank
or take no damage at all, so snipers and whatnot always have impenetrable
cover. In Soldner however, parts of buildings or structures will be blown away
when hit revealing just that area. The rest of the game graphics are shaping
up nicely, with some neat looking player models and a good dose of realism to
the overall environment. Be looking for Soldner around October or November of
this year. 


Spy Kids 3 – First Look




Now the cool movie hits the PC and GBA with one really unique
new aspect …


I liked the Spy Kids movies. They were
funny, well written, and had some really neat special effects. There is now a
new movie in the works scheduled for July of 2004, the plot of which being that
the two young bond style heroes are sucked into a video game. Well, Buena Vista
will be releasing games for the PC and GBA based on this new film. Here’s the
really cool part … the movie will be in 3-D, and you can bring your glasses home
after the movie and play the game in 3-D as well on either the PC or the GBA.


On a really quick first
look, the Spy Kids 3 game will be more of a 2-D platformer kind of game for both
platforms. Both of them were looking good so far, with the PC version using the
actual digitized likenesses of the movie characters in the game. One thing that
I was really happy about with Spy Kids 3 is that you don’t HAVE to have the
glasses to play the game, and it looked just fine without them. The 3-D modeling
did look good though, and it’s coming along nicely.


Spy Kids fans … be looking
for these games around the same time as the movie with the same name.


Disney’s ToonTown Online –
First Look




Disney enters the world of MMORPGs
with this new title for the PC.


enjoy MMORPG games, but am really hesitant to let my 9 year old play them for
the dialogue that happens many times or even the player’s names themselves.
Disney and Buena Vista are looking to change that with a new MMORPG title called
ToonTown online.


standard MMORPG fashion, players are prompted to create a character consisting
mostly of their look and clothing vs. 3000 different skills to try and figure
out to help with ease and simplicity of gameplay for the youngsters. Players
will venture into a big Disney world where they can meet up and go adventuring
with friends or play mini games to stock up on jellybeans that buy more gags.
That’s right … no weapons here folks. Instead, the turn based combat (also
common to MMORPG games) is played out with squirt bottles, pies, and even
dropping pianos on your opponent or even using a fishing pole to reel them
closer for close up gags. There will also be emphasis on different gag styles,
so you could still build a well-balanced party of tanks and support characters
in a family friendly and non-violent kind of way.


you grown ups, don’t let the young appearance fool you. ToonTown Online contains
the addictive elements of MMORPGs in an environment that won’t expose you or
your kids to foul language, foul player names, or griefing (killing players and
stealing their things) found in many other titles out there. This is all thanks
to a consistent world monitoring and even a name registration if you decide to
select your own instead of the ones that they have set up which have to pass
trough approval.


ToonTown Online is looking fun, and you can
expect to see it here in the next few months.


Shadow Ops – First Look


PC /
Xbox live


An FPS title that emphasizes what
being in the middle of an actual military skirmish is all about.


the FPS fan that I am, I was like a kid in a candy store with a lot of the games
that are going to be coming to both consoles and PC’s in the next year. I was
really excited to see Shadow Ops for PC, and got to sit down with the developer
and watch the first 10 minutes of the actual game in play. I can honestly say
that I have never said “Wow” or “Gosh” that many times in 10 minutes before in
my life.


scene opened with troops dropping from a Blackhawk and into a Syrian terrorist
camp. The visuals of bullet tracers and running enemies, explosions, and sounds
that erupted as soon as the main player and his squad came under attack were
almost real enough to be frightening … and they were all around. There were no
shortages of rag doll effects in many of the games showcased at E3, but Shadow
Ops actually almost took it to a new level using their own creativity and the
UT2003 engine. When the player turned the first corner, a man of a rooftop
assaulted him. A quick shot to the head and he tumbled down onto the top of a
dumpster … then rolled down the slant and crumpled onto the ground. Detail in
the physics were a top priority for the team, and it really showed with that and
some other examples like a man being hung on a fire escape by his bootlaces
after tripping off the roof when shot in the leg. Lights and many other objects
will be fully destructible, and the squads were completely AI controlled and
moved intelligently.


This will also be porting to the Xbox and
Xbox live, and both the PC and Xbox versions will have multiplayer modes for
up to 16 players at a time. If you like FPS or military games, you’ll want to
get this one in the summer of 2004 … trust me.


: The Gathering Battlegrounds – Hands On




MTG : Battlegrounds takes the card
game into more of a full flowing action game once again.


Magic: The Gathering card game has picked up a huge fan base over the years, and
whenever that happens, it’s a pretty safe bet that a game will be in the works
for it. Well, we’ve seen the direct port of the card game online recently for
PC, and a while back they released a PSX version that was more of a full
movement casting and action game. There is now an Xbox version in the works to
be released in November that moves towards that full action style again, but
stays true to the card game a little better this time around.


start off by selecting a hero, then enter into an arena to duel it out with
monsters and magic from the card game. The character you select is fully
controllable, and can even attack creatures coming in to try and kill you. Mana
usage is necessary here as well, but actually works based on a meter that will
fill up by collecting gems that appear or get dropped by dying creatures, or
ones that generate mana like the Llanowar Elves card. Mana is then spent to
summon the monsters, magic, and enchantments that are found in the popular card
game, and and each creature will move independently and do what they see fit at
the time like attacking your opponent or defending you unless you play a
specific card like a Giant Growth which will force them into action. When you
begin, you get sort of a “starter deck” to play with, then will begin unlocking
more and new cards as you progress through the game.


The graphics of the new MTG title are looking
really good, with some great looking and menacing familiar creatures and spell
effects. MTG : Battlegrounds will also be online ready, and new cards will be
downloadable for updating and building your deck the way you see fit.


T.H.U.G. (Tony Hawk Underground) – First Look




A newly re-vamped Tony Hawk game is on
the way, but he won’t be in it as much.


Hawk has been the king of skateboarding for a while now, even back in 1987 when
I was doing it. He’s had a long line of successful Activision games, and there
is a new one which doesn’t have a definite release date set yet called T.H.U.G.
that will actually place more emphasis on the player than Tony Hawk himself …
and you won’t be skateboarding all the time either.


have the create your own skater mode again, and this time you can actually take
a digitized picture of your face and add it to the game as you skate around and
do a lot of other things that you didn’t do in past Tony Hawk titles. The
trailer that I saw of the game had you doing things like driving and racing in
high-speed Japanese sports cars, and even a level that had a character climbing
hand over hand across a suspended power line looking like more of a 3rd
person action title.


This new Tony Hawk looks to not only be as
popular as the originals, but also to begin expanding on the franchise and
doing something a little different this time around.


Trinity – First Look


PC /


Trinity looks to bring an action
packed story and some neat abilities to the FPS market.


Activision has quite a lineup going for the next for the next year, and this
includes some really good RPG titles. One in particular is called Trinity, which
is the story of an enhanced human hunter and vigilante named the Nightstalker
who’s got some really unique powers at his disposal. Rather than rely on
straight run and gun action, you will also be able to utilize special powers
such as Flashtime, which slows down enemies and warps time around you to
actually dodge bullets or make some pretty incredible evasive or offensive
maneuvers. Flashdash is the exact opposite, speeding time up to run past enemies
or make you a lot harder to hit.


Graphically, the game is looking really good. The flash effects and various
vision modes looked fantastic … including one that allows for thermal sight and
will help to mark enemies or find hidden areas in the surroundings and gives a
good possible strategy building gameplay setup. There is only a scheduled single
player mode at the moment, but even you multiplayer buffs will get a kick out of
this one.


Be looking for Trinity around winter of 2003.