Indiana Jones - updated impressions

Euphoria. Make a mental note, because you’re going to be hearing a lot more of that word over the coming months. One, because for anyone even remotely interested in the world’s greatest adventurer (sorry, Lara), the sight of Dr. Jones on next-gen should be enough to induce - as the dictionary says - “a feeling of great (usually exaggerated) elation.” And two, because it’s the name of LucasArts’ self-created development tool, the beating heart at the center of the most realistic, most remarkable Indiana Jones title yet.

Yep: remarkable. Because, while little or no gameplay has been seen of Indy on 360, a tech demo has. And with its “digital molecular matter materials” system (translation: the most realistic particle physics ever) and animation so real and free-flowing you’ll be rubbing the disbelief from your eyes, a lot of the hard work is done. Things explode. People crumple into a heap. Barrels roll. Masonry breaks. Fingers move individually on triggers. Indy Next looks, moves and feels like the films.

Will a great engine be enough? No. But with their engine, LucasArts is making a statement of intent. There’s no messing this time. No half-assed Emperor’s Tomb-style arcade beat-'em-up nonsense. This is the real deal. Combat will be hard, brutal and sharp. And exploration will be versatile, broad and ambitious. Watch it really close.

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