Oct 19, 2007
Remember the NES Bionic Commando from the '80s? It doesn't matter, in all honesty. This next-gen update might retain the heritage (particularly the bionic arm with helpful wire attachment) and take place 10 years after the original 2D scroller, but it's a whole new game.
We were treated to an extended demo of Bionic Commando in action, during a recent Capcom event, and it's looking solid. What we were shown was basically a 'proof of concept', being little more than a small contained area of mangled skyscrapers and twisted girders. But it proved its concept - the free-aiming swing action - with style.
Above: Bionic Commando conveys a satisfying sense of gravity and weight
It'd be easy to dismiss Commando's big hook (or what the hook hangs off of) as being exactly the same as Spider-Man's webswinging ability. Do that, though, and you miss a crucial factor. Unlike Spidey, Nathan Spencer can aim his swinger at a desired hooking point, mid-swing or while in the air. It's also got a limited range.
Plus, since he's just a man and not a superhero like Spider-Man, the whole swinging-miles-in-the-air-over-gaping-chasms shebang feels far more dangerous and risky. Which makes it a lot more exciting than simply zipping through an inner city district in a red latex suit.
Spencer can use his bionic arm's abilites in a similar style to Spider-Man - swinging objects around, pulling down rusted monorail carriages to crush enemies, throwing blocks of concrete at distant targets. But Bionic Commando's action and combat is more crunchy and weighty than any comic-book inspired child-friendly romp.
Developer Grin is promising huge open areas, with your attach-and-swing ability meaning you can climb ever higher through the city detritus to perch high above the desolation. If that's true, you can expect some epic vistas, and a real sense of scale. Bionic Commando looks good so far, but there's a hell of a lot left to do, not least creating a convincing world to complement the game's swinging sensation.
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