FeaturedBits

Choplifter HD

InXile Entertainment let us get our hands on some preview code for their upcoming XBLA, PSN and PC remake of Choplifter, Choplifter HD.  I was able to play through 20 of the game’s 30 missions.  Here is what I found, enjoyed and hoped can be improved for the November release.

Starting out, Choplifter HD‘s controls feel very familiar.  This keeps the learning curve low which is nice for a downloadable game, especially one that requires some quick reflexes to survive the later levels. Playing through the first time on normal, on PC, using a gamepad was fun.  It also allowed me to get through the tutorial quite easily.

In Choplifter HD, players fly a helicopter which is sometimes equipped with a machine gun and rockets.  The main weapon, the machine gun, has unlimited ammo but does have a heat mechanic.  Shoot too much aimlessly and the weapon will overheat causing some hairy moments.  The rockets however are much more powerful.  Albeit they do have a finite number during each mission, but can be refilled along with fuel at the headquarters or filling station during the course of a level.

Choplifter HD

Missions consist of a few archetypal events: go here, rescue civilians, and defend a hospital from a hoard of zombies.  Nothing too innovative to speak of in these events, but still fun in its own right.  But, as the levels progress, the enemies become more deadly, as they should.  In one level I played, the force you are trying to fight/survive gets anti-aircraft emplacements along with rocket propelled grenades, or RPGs.  This in combination with the normal machine gun fire can become quite hectic and all that more difficult.

One of the new mechanics shown in this build was the third plane of fire.  In this HD version of Choplifter, the enemies can attack from the foreground, which allows inXile that much more room to place enemies and keep that player guessing from where the bullets will be flying in from.  To keep your chopper agile, you can use two buttons to switch the direction you are flying and to face the foreground.  This can be a bit jarring at first, but becomes very fluid after a couple of times use.

Choplifter HD

The environments are 3D in design, but only allow you for 2D flying.  This keeps you on the same left to right movement for each level, which is reminiscent of the older games.  Flying through a desert, city or jungle doesn’t always feel unique, but the design of the levels are different enough to keep you guessing as to avoid a bridge or crane in your way.

In my opinion, the lowest point of the game is the voice acting. The pilot spews some ridiculous one-liners that I enjoy to an extent, but they seemed to repeat quite often.  I did hear one that some Star Wars fans will enjoy, because I know there must be a few working on this game.  It has to do with a certain smell.  I laughed out loud when I heard it, and I got a funny look from the person watching me play.  Other than that, the sound design is good, but nothing we haven’t heard before.  The music is not all that unique, but does pick up during the climax of each mission.

Choplifter HD

All this design leads me to another point, the limited fuel.  This is a mechanic that was ever present in the older games, and does not disappoint here.  It is something that you always have to think about, and deciding whether or not to save someone based on this limitation is something not enough other titles use.  I found myself, on multiple occasions, turning back from a rescue point to grab more fuel and boosting back to the location, just to find that the enemy had wiped out the folks I was supposed to rescue.  This was not usually the main task, but still shows that the variablilty of the levels is built in and could be one reason to replay them.

The vehicles themselves all have standard attributes: armor, capacity (of rescues), fuel, weaponry and speed, which are slowly unlocked as you complete missions.  Starting out with police choppers and moving into military ones, Choplifter HD does use standard designs, but my guess it is toward the end of the game you will get some totally awesome ones, with even more fire power.  Maybe even some silly ones?  Downloadable packs will be available, because in the main menu there is a link to DLC.

Choplifter HD

With each level having a countdown timer, I wish inXile would include a way to turn that off when the game is completed.  Or some other “survival mode,” but the levels that I played lasted between about 5-10 minutes each.  I am not sure if there are any longer ones, but if priced right, Choplifter HD could be a fun, side-scrolling flight game.  I played a good chunk of the game and got into some hectic, in a good way, firefights.

After playing Choplifter HD for a couple hours, it shows that InXile Entertainment has a solid downloadable game in development. Hopefully they can iron out a few more bugs before the planned November release.  Choplifter HD does seem to be a great fit for a controller or keyboard, just up to you what your preference would be.  I enjoyed the gamepad more, but that is just what I am more comfortable with while playing a twin stick shooter.  Part flight game, part side scrolling shooter, Choplifter HD has a old school arcade feel with modern 3D design that will aim to please.

###

Thanks to inXile Entertainment for making this preview possible! For more details, visit the official website of Choplifter HD at choplifterhd.com. Folllow ChoplifterHD on Twitter for more updates!

 

{ 0 comments }

Catherine (PS3, Xbox 360)

Catherine (PS3, Xbox 360)Catherine
Available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Game Developer: Atlus Persona Team
Publisher: Atlus USA
Release date: July 26, 2011
Official website: catherinethegame.com


Game Rating:
4.5 out of 5

Catherine review summary:
Catherine is a puzzle game dressed in the robes of a social life simulation and interwoven with an entertaining and interactive story. While the gameplay may come off as frustrating to some, the end reward supersedes the high difficulty of the game’s puzzle elements. From engaging voice acting and campy humor, this is a game that fans of Atlus, and other odd simulation games, will enjoy in the long run. The added bonus of a multiplayer mode that doesn’t feel tacked on and multiple endings make Catherine a worthwhile endeavor.

Read the full review here.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3

Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3

Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3
Available for: PS3, Xbox 360
Developer: Tecmo Koei/Omega Force
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Official website: namcobandaigames.com

Rating: 3 out of 5

Review Summary:
Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3 is one of those games that can be classified in its own genre. It is a yearly release filled with hack and slash gameplay for which the series is famous.  A new cell-shaded art style and a massive amount of unlockables cannot save this game from its sometimes mundane combat. The poor AI isn’t worth going through its almost 300 levels. If you’ve played the previous games in the series, pass this time or wait until the price drops.

Read the full review here.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }


More gaming news and articles around the web: