Situated right at the top of the steps in the West Hall, the Capcom booth was the first thing most of E3's patrons saw, and it was consistently one of the hottest spots in the show. While other companies tried to keep a tight lid on their showings, Capcom's reps were more than happy to let people wander in - and with good reason. Capcom's booth was one of the highlights of the show.
The Street Fighter franchise took center stage, just beyond the entrance, with a row of Street Fighter IV arcade cabinets along the wall and a Street Fighter II HD Remix demo in the corner. While HD is shaping up nicely, the chance to play the controversial 4th title in the series was far more enticing. Many of my initial impressions proved to be true; this feels like Street Fighter 2.5 in 3D. Still, it looked much better in person and seemed to have some fresh ideas to push the series forward and help reward higher-level players, despite sticking much closer to the second game than the underappreciated SF III.
Another wing of their booth showcased an eclectic variety of titles, starting with the quirky puzzler Flock. The title showed a tremendous amount of humor and personality as you use your UFO to abduct livestock. It had similarly goofy puzzles like using pink girl sheep to keep the men in a single-file line behind her. With its release coming so soon, we didn't dwell overlong on the demo, but we were impressed with what we saw.
Capcom has been acknowledging the in-roads that Western developers have made in the console market for some time, first with the Western-inspired Lost Planet, and now a collaboration with American-based Airtight Studios - Dark Void. Capcom has invested a lot in this development, and it bleeds production value with a beautifully executed retro-futuristic style.
The first stretch of the demo showcased the basic run-and-gun gameplay. The influences here were pretty transparent, and the director's frequent mentions of Gears of War served as an affirmation. Controls featured a typical dual-analog move/rotate set up, and a basic cover system that should be familiar to everyone. We found the aiming to be a bit stiff and twitchy, but we were told that this was because the game had just been ported to the Xbox 360 a week ago, and that the PC port was much farther ahead in both control and frame rate.
The jetpack is where things get a bit different. In the early parts of the demo, this was simply used for big jumps and a brief hover, but later parts of the stage showcased the "vertical cover" system, where you could shoot from ledge to ledge, using rocky protrusions to protect you from fire.
Eventually, we were given full flight capabilities and shot off into the sky after some flying saucers that were milling about. The animation in this part of the game was our favorite part of the whole experience, giving the feeling of actually being tossed through the air by a rocket strapped you your back, rather than zooming around with limbs straight and firm like Superman. We mounted and hacked one of the flying saucers and used it to engage in a dogfight with the others, eventually clearing the area. Each of these segments blended into the others in a way that felt coherent, which may become Dark Void's greatest strength. While it clearly needs a lot of polish, there is plenty of time before its release, and we hope to see the full potential realized.