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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Holiday 2008's Best Picks (Part 2)

Mortal Kombat vs. James Bond vs. DC Universe

Mirror’s Edge and Call of Duty: World at War aren’t the only games that you should look out for this holiday season. Part 2 of this special feature will pick out another 2 promising titles for you to drool over.

007: Quantum of Solace

Bang! Boom!

We haven’t seen a 007 game for a while now, but all that’s about to change. Due to debut around the film’s release, this game is essentially one of the many movie tie-ins that come off the conveyor belt every year, which unfortunately, are notorious for being bad. But if current impressions are anything to go by, Quantum of Solace certainly isn’t going to be one of them.

Developed by Treyarch, which is also handling Call of Duty: World at War, Quantum of Solace is anything but your typical action game. In fact, this game is what Treyarch describes as a hybrid 3D person game. What this means is that the game will play out in both first-person view and third-person view. When Bond is moving normally and blowing the hell out of everything, the game will put you into a first-person view. But when Bond is taking cover or sneaking up behind someone, the game instantly switches to a third-person view – now, I take that as a reason for the developers to be able to show off some really fluid and intense attack animations.

The pillar is fatter than Bond.

As a Bond game, gameplay isn’t going to be all about gunning down villains. Let’s just say that this game is part Call of Duty 4, and part Splinter Cell. Utilising a wide variety of weapons ranging from pistols to rifles to SMGs, Bond can easily lay waste to dozens of enemies. There would also be explosive barrels to take advantage of – couple that with destructible environments and you know that you are going to be blowing up lots of things in this game. But at other times, it would be wiser to employ some stealth, sneak up on an enemy and throw him off the balcony than to gun him down and arouse unnecessary attention. All these definitely make for a fair bit of strategy. Besides having the option of choosing stealth or all-out carnage for assault, there would also be sequences in the game where you have to infiltrate a building without anyone noticing, not forgetting that there are some platforming sections as well. Now, that’s mission diversity.

Story-wise, this game will follow the plot of the forthcoming film closely. BUT there’s a surprise – this game will also include the plot from the previous Bond film: Casino Royale. So … … does that mean that we are getting 2 movie tie-ins in one? Like Call of Duty: World at War, Quantum of Solace uses the Call of Duty 4 visual engine too so impressive graphics are to be expected.

007: Quantum of Solace makes its way onto every major platform except the PSP on November 4. Hey, why is PSP excluded from the list again? Well, guess there’s still the DS version for portable action. The DS version is a top-down 3rd person action game, though.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe

This road is closed.

When this game was first announced, I was really surprised – well, whoever thought of pitting kombatants against the superheroes from the pages of DC comics? The inclusion of characters like Superman, Batman, The Joker, Flash and Catwoman in the next Mortal Kombat game spices up the already sizzling franchise known for its fatalities – and I can’t wait to get my hands on the full game.

Besides the addition of characters from the DC Universe, a few tweaks have also been made to the controls. For a start, combos are easier to pull off in this game as the combination of button presses isn’t as long and convoluted as past Mortal Kombat titles. Each move has a variation as well – and this variation is known as the pro-move. What this means is that whenever you execute a move, there will be a specific button to hit at a specific time – time the button hit correctly and the move will deal more damage to your opponent, but it also gives you the opportunity to link more moves together. For instance, if you slam an opponent against the ground, he or she will bounce back up to allow you to link more moves together – that is, only if you nail the pro-move.

In preceeding Mortal Kombat games, when you and your opponents fall out of the fight arena, the characters would merely dive to their deaths. However, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe’s about to change that. When you and your opponents fall off the ring this time around, face buttons will appear at the bottom of the screen. What you need to do is to hit the corresponding buttons and continue to deal damage to your opponent.

No! Don't break my arm!

Thus far, the talk has been all about tweaks in the controls. But what about the visuals? Certainly, that has been given the same amount of attention too. As the fight progresses, bruises, torn masks and ripped costumes will form, adding to the overall sense of aesthetics in the game. It should also be noted that while this game will have fatalities, DC Universe superheroes will have what Midway calls brutalities instead of fatalities. Everyone knows that Batman does not kill – and Midway isn’t attempting to change that. But what are brutalities? Simple. Fatalities kill, but brutalities don’t; instead, they bring their opponents to the edge of death, but never to death. For instance, Superman finishes his opponents by pounding them into the ground, which is going to break a few bones, but not kill opponents. It would be really interesting to see the full range of fatalities and brutalities available in this game.

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe comes to the Xbox 360 and PS3 in November. Want to see Mortal Kombat characters’ asses kicked by characters from the DC Universe and vice versa? November 10’s the date to mark on your calendar.


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