CES 2009: Capcom

by: John -
Capcom was stationed at Planet Hollywood and I had to do a nice hike from the convention center to their suite in the hotel. During my travels up to their hotel suite, I was treated to some game footage of Resident Evil 5 on some LCD screens above some slot machines. They had some more branding on the tables and signs around the casino floor.  With that, I set up to the suite to check out three games.

First up is Dark Void. This third person action shooter is reminiscent of Gears of War but adds some unique wrinkles. For starters the main character has a jet pack. Press the Y button and you'll launch yourself in the air. The animation looks really slick with the way the arms and legs move as you take off. It reminded me of the old Rocket Ranger game on the Amiga and the folks did an impressive job given that it's all hand done and not motion captured.

You do have a cover system as well like in Gears where you can hide up against something and pop out to shoot or just fire over without aiming but with less accuracy. Something unique though are the vertical aspects of the game. Areas shown to me had me hanging onto some ledges and looking up and down. Using the ledges as vertical cover, I hid from the exoskeleton enemies by hanging underneath the ledge as they shot down. I could hop from ledge to ledge with some visual cues letting me know when and where I can do this. The vertical cover system gave me a sense of vertigo but it was pretty fun and intense having fire come from the top and underneath you.

While there is a ground game aspect, the jetpack adds a new wrinkle as you can just fire up real quick to quickly fly to or over your  enemies. Drop down behind and start firing or fly past them to avoid  them. You're not limited to running from cover to cover like in Gears of War so having this with you will open up some new strategies on taking out the opposition.

The boss fight shown was a little different as well. While flying you didn't sense the scale of the enemy scorpion-like creature but once you get to the ground and up close you truly saw how big the thing was. The object wasn't just to destroy the exoskeleton but to take out strategic points and then reach the pilot inside where you ultimately finished off the mini-boss with your bare hands.

Besides using a jetpack, one other thing shown was the capturing of a UFO and using it to take down the enemies. The team wouldn't elaborate on what other or if any other vehicles would be available yet but I'm assuming there would be more than just that one UFO to take over.

This was my first look at Dark Void up close and I really liked what I saw. There's no multiplayer aspect though and they are shooting for 10+ hours in the single element but that's what a sequel is for. If it does well, look for a Dark Void sequel with multiplayer features later on down the road.

Resident Evil 5 was my next stop and I had a chance to play co-op. This was my first time playing the game and I didn't realize how slow paced it was. Coming from games like Gears of War I was used to running and gunning but Resident Evil 5 won't let you do that. When you are aiming with your gun you are stationary. I won't go into the game too much as I have a bigger event tomorrow but playing with someone was a lot of fun as we took out the zombies together on a few
levels.

Street Fighter IV looked incredible up close though and played well too. I was playing with the Mad Catz sticks and they are some high quality stuff. These things use real arcade parks and the high end one is made to be tweakable by you. They are wired controllers as they didn't want any interference by going wireless but the cord is pretty long. You can even take off the feet and anchor them to a table using screws. Buttons felt great and the stick click was perfect.

The game itself is beautiful to look at and played well. While I haven't played a Street Fighter game since one of the last incarnations of 2, I was able to jump right in with some of the guys I used and pull off moves right away. Throwing has been changed to just using the two quick attack buttons and anyone can do some of the charge moves as well. The game, while has some easy aspects to it, does also have some learning curves to some of the characters. El
Fuerte for example is going to be hard to master because he's such a  unique fighter and his moves are quick and impressive. It was pretty cool to watch him dance around really fast and he's one of the most fun to watch.

One of my favorites, Balrog gets updated with some more powerful punches and looks to be a beast. I was sad to see the headbutt pushing the character off too far so I couldn't do a turn around punch but the turn around punch now goes through fireballs if timed right. Vega also has some slight changes. His roll starts off a little slower now but is still devastating when hitting. You can now throw down your claws and even your mask to taunt the opponent. Don't worry though as you can pick them back up. Throwing down your mask will make it so Vega takes more damage so if you really want to get at someone, beat them with an unmasked Vega.

Gameplay is fast and the graphics are tight. I really liked the new look and the way the camera pans around when you unleash some super moves. There are a lot of little subtle additions to the gameplay but the team made sure the core feel of Street Fighter 2 is there. For fans of the series, this one is going to be a big hit I think and it's already a huge award winner in Japan. I'm really excited about Street Fighter IV and it's looking to be a solid title from Capcom.

So those are the three titles I had time for today with Capcom. Dark Void looked a lot of fun. Resident Evil 5 should be great playing with someone else. Street Fighter IV is just intense and solid. Capcom's got three great title on their hands and two of the three will be out very soon with Dark Void sometime this year.
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