Cipher Complex Preview
Xbox 360 | PS3
Cipher Complex box art
System: X360, PS3 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Edge of Reality 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Edge of Reality 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Pending 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Look out Solid Snake, stealth is for last generation heroes!

by Jwan Jordan

Edge of Reality says, "stealth games are just too slow." I, as an avid gamer, wholeheartedly agree. So, in order to break away from the overhyped monotony of typical stealth games, Edge of Reality is creating a game that focuses on a unique blend of stealth action with a heavy emphasis on the action. The game will also have a great story with a cinematically intriguing government theme.

Cipher Complex screenshot

In order to create an in-depth story that transcends the average game tale, Edge of Reality brought aboard established writer, Mark Bristol. Mark Bristol was the story board artist and film director for many films like the Chronicles of Narnia, Equilibrium, and Memento. Anyone who has seen any of the aforementioned films knows that Mark Bristol can deliver a great story. You play the role of John Cipher, a once nomadic orphan. It's after a surprising betrayal during a secret mission that ends his life that John Cipher is revived with an experiment that has drastically jump-started his adrenaline indefinitely. It is with this new ability that John Cipher is chosen to infiltrate a heavily guarded base in hopes of uncovering its hidden truths.

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As much as I love a good story, it's the action that truly engraves a game into my long term memory. I truly believe Cipher Complex will be one of the few games to have that effect. Edge of Reality is focusing on action, but not of the senseless kind. The new innovative feature in this stealth game is John Cipher's abnormally enhanced adrenaline. Imagine a very angry, aggressive, army knife wielding Night Crawler from the X-men series and you'll have a pretty good idea of just how amazing John can be. By tapping into John's adrenaline, which is indicated by a stamina bar, he can dash through a dozen enemies, slashing them before any of them hit the ground. This, of course, is where stealth and strategy come into play. Since your adrenaline drains with its use, you can't just dash through an entire level like a mad man. For instance, if you use all your adrenaline to easily take out a swarm of soldiers, then you may come to an area where you must need to use your adrenaline to quickly dash past a stronger heavily armed opponent more easily. Thus, tactfully using your adrenaline is a must because you don't want to be in an area where you truly need it and can't use it.

Cipher Complex screenshot

Thankfully, if you're out of adrenaline you can either wait for it to recharge or increase it by defeating enemies. Therefore, if you're out of adrenaline, you're not officially dead meat. Remember that John has been a mercenary for a long time and has thus learned to defend without the aid of unique powers. In most cases, it seems John's choice of weapon is a large army knife, which you can imagine is good for stealth kills and dash attacks. Edge of Reality didn't want the player to have the arduous task of memorizing a series of Street Fighter type move sets, so your attacks will be based off your method of approach to an enemy or enemies. If you sneak up on an enemy, you can perform a stealth kill without alerting anyone, or you can simply engage in fisticuffs. Basic combat will still grant you a large array of light and heavy attacks, accompanied with evades and blocks. Add the fact that any of the aforementioned tactics can be brutally enhanced with a tap of the adrenaline button. John's combat knife won't be his only weapon though, as he can pick up weapons from fallen enemies. Edge of Reality admitted to pistols, shotguns, and submachine guns, to name a few weapons. I can only imagine how much of a human typhoon you can become with a machine gun added with an adrenaline rush.

Cipher Complex screenshot

Don't think that just because you have enhanced abilities, your enemies are going to be pushovers. If the aforementioned game mechanics weren't enough, the enemy AI will really have you on edge. Edge of Reality gave every enemy independent behavior instead of programmed, typical AI. If you shoot out a light, individual enemies will either call for backup out of fear, or begin to search around for you curiously. I believe individual AI will make for some great replay value because you never know what your enemy is going to do next.

In some stealth games like Splinter Cell, you have a meter that shows the amount of light or darkness you're in. Instead, John Cipher has a perception bar. The perception bar dictates the radius of how someone sees you. It is possible to be in the light and stand directly behind someone and the perception bar will still read zero. If you're spotted though, the perception bar will, of course, be well past zero.

Cipher Complex screenshot

Though Cipher Complex takes a very unique perspective on the stealth genre, you will still have access typical stealth platforming abilities. Abilities like shimmying walls, peeking around corners, and hanging from ledges will help you to navigate through the world's interiors and exteriors.

Edge of Reality is breaking the mold with this game, and though it's only the beginning of the year, this game is on my games of the year list even before it hits store shelves. With its amazingly fluent combat, natural enemy AI, and intriguing story, Cipher Complex is going to be a game to remember. Cheat Code Central will update as this game progresses.

By Jwan Jordan
CCC Freelance Writer

Features:

  • The use of adrenaline to greatly enhance any normal ability makes the dispensing of hordes of enemies extraordinarily fast.
  • Individual artificial intelligence will make enemies respond to suspicious activity in a number of realistic ways.
  • A rich and easy combat system will give the option to be very stealthy or very aggressive.

  • Screenshots / Images
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