E3 2009: High Voltage

by: John -
More On: E3 2009
This year my first appointment after the show opened was High Voltage. High Voltage makes many games but they are getting a lot of press for The Conduit and how they are pushing the Wii’s graphics. Now that they have their Quantum 3 engine down pat, they are pushing out two more Wii games that should excite hardcore gamers.

Gladiator A.D.

Gladiator A.D. is a fighting game taking place in ancient Rome where you take part in one of nine (and more unlockable) characters in a battle to be the champion of the arena. Each of the characters has a unique story and their stories do intertwine so you’ll get some crossover as you play along. Each character also has a unique fighting style and the style is based on the weapons they wield. There were three characters shown at the demo: a female wielding dual daggers, a heavy armored gladiator using a sword and shield, and another male fighter using a spiked club and shield.

Combat of course utilized the motion capabilities of the WiiMote. While the demo didn’t use the MotionPlus, High Voltage is committed to using the peripheral in the final version of the game. You’ll be able to play without it but the person using the MotionPlus peripheral will have a more accurate range of motion and most likely, an advantage over those that don’t. Also, there will be some weapons only available to those that have the MotionPlus installed. With the fighter holding the sword and shield, swinging the nunchuk swung the shield while swinging the WiiMote swung the character’s sword. The battle was brutal and bloody producing a kill move of a spiked club going through the player’s chest and then a decapitation. Those lusting for blood on the Wii will be very satisfied with the amount that gets spilled in Gladiator A.D.

Weapons are upgradable as well as armor. During the fight, I did see little bits of armor being knocked off making the person more vulnerable. Weapons can also degrade as well so it’s in your best interest to win your fights quickly and to be able to generate the money to keep your possessions in shape.

Not only do you have to worry about your equipment, you also have to take care of yourself. You need to rest between fights and jumping into a fight too early can affect how much health you start out with. You can also affect your upcoming opponents by hiring someone to poison the fighter in order to gain some advantage. These features add a little RPG element to Gladiator A.D.

The arena sizes range from tiny venues to large coliseums with large crowds. Some of the arenas will have environmental hazards such as pits and columns with spikes around it. Tigers will also roam some of the arenas providing another level of difficulty in winning your fight. The tigers can be dispatched by you if you don’t want them to pose a threat.

Multiplayer will be supported with both off and online options. For playing on the same machine, the game can be setup to play full screen, vertically split screen, or horizontally split screen. The guys didn’t go much into the online aspect but it will be there upon release. I’m anxious to see how well it would to fight another gladiator online.

Gladiator A.D. is a brutal fighting game that looks to be a great follow up to The Conduit. With many adjustable features and fast paced action, it’s got a lot going for it to please the fighting crowd.


The Grinder

As a fan of Hunter: The Reckoning, I was pretty excited to grab a look at The Grinder. Think up to four player co-op monster hunting. Where Left 4 Dead had you on your guard and be afraid of the enemies, The Grinder makes you powerful and the hunter instead of the hunted. You can have any combination of AI and human players of the four in The Grinder.

As a first person shooter, you have the traditional view with the WiiMote letting you aim. There’s a red indicator that appears on the screen in the position you are getting hit from so you can easily tell where the enemy doing damage to you is.

There are four different character types each with their own special abilities. While not shown in the demo, there will be some melee weapons and one character is equipped with a sword. Wii MotionPlus will also be supported giving you greater control over melee weapons.

Something that The Grinder has over Left 4 Dead is the variety of enemies. There aren’t just zombies in The Grinder as you’ll run into other species of monsters like werewolves, vampires, and others. A unique enemy is the slasher who acts like many of the horror movie serial killers. They are very, very tough to kill and have one pretty unique ability. Should you lose sight of the slasher, he’ll disappear and reappear behind you doing some large damage with a swing of his weapon. Seeing it in action, it’s pretty cool recreation of a horror movie cliché.

The Grinder has hard first person shooter action with the horror theme being recreated to a T. I can’t wait to jump into the game with three others and kill the various monsters available in the game.

Between The Grinder and Gladiator A.D., High Voltage has a solid Wii lineup for hardcore gamers. The guys are pretty passionate about these games and even listen to their fans on what they should and should not do with the games. These two titles will make me turn my Wii back on after months of collecting dust when they are released. Seeing the two titles up close, I was pretty excited after leaving the booth which is something I haven’t done in a while for a Wii title.
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