|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Recoil Games, 3D Realms||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: TBA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
July 3, 2007 - How can you take something that is truly a frightening concept and make it scarier? Turn it into a game with a level of accuracy unseen in video games before. That is exactly what Recoil and 3D Realms plan on doing. Earth No More could potentially reshape the way we play apocalyptic games and, if we can judge by title alone, then we are at least on the right track. Fans of the genre started by such classic films as Aliens and The Thing should start rejoicing now because it appears that Recoil and 3D Realms understand what it takes to make a game in this genre work.
Not much is known about the game. The big reason for this, I assume, is the fact that it is not slated to release in 2009. It is a bit odd for a game developer to announce information on a game this soon. Usually, games are revealed around 18 months before release. If everything holds true and they stay on track, then I am truly excited about this game.
A small New England town is where the story begins. The town is under quarantine due to the massive red vines that have sprung from the Earth. These vines are poisonous and they are spreading like wildfire as they strangle and terraform the environment around you. To make a bad situation worse, animals and plants are mutating into nasty abominations of their former selves. The developers have stated that a mysterious spore is the cause of the horrendous events that have started to decimate the Earth. They have also been quick to note that the storyline will not focus on any of the easy sci-fi clichés that we have come to expect from both movies and games over the past. Instead, it will deal with the decisions of man. One example centers on man's discovery of the power of the atom. Man could have chosen to use that knowledge for good, but, as is the shortcoming of man, we chose other applications for the phenomenal discovery.
To further highlight their understanding of the genre, Recoil mentions that in order for a story like this to work, interactions amongst the characters involved must be believable. Recoil promises that we will feel like we are really interacting with the other characters we come across throughout the game. The interesting thing about this is the level of control we will have over the interaction. Primarily, we will be able to chose whether or not we interact with the other characters at all, thus securing the lone hero motif that many of us try to maintain in games. However, doing so could potentially become a problem as we progress into the next levels. Nothing specific yet, but we are assured that it will be nothing to scoff at.
The A.I. in the game could potentially be the best A.I. system we have seen in games, specifically where the enemies are concerned. We will be able to use the team cooperation aspect in the game, but so will the enemies. For example, there may be a part in the game were you will encounter a plant type enemy that shoots these spore devices. They will sting a little, but they will not harm your character and cannot survive. However, if one these spores attaches to you, it can be used a tracking device, of sorts for the larger, nastier villains to find you. The developers have mentioned that there will be several groupings of the enemies and these enemies will see the advantages of working together as opposed to being their own separate villain during an attack.
As interesting as that may be, there is another aspect to the game that will have everyone dying to play. While the developers continue to boast that the A.I. will be phenomenal, they cannot deny the differences of how the human mind works and how A.I. performs. To broaden the scope a bit, they plan to allow players to assume the role of these creatures to challenge people online. Instead of your traditional waiting in a lobby to see who joins, Recoil is planning to allow the cooperative gameplay online to begin as normal. From there, if another player decides to jump in at any of the designated points in the game to play as a villain, they can and you will have no idea they are there. In fact, the suggested way that you will know when another player controls a creature is by his or her actions. When the human controlled character is killed, that player will automatically be dropped into another game already in progress.
Several things about this game make me anxious to get my hands on it, which is unfortunate due to the expected release date. However, it gives me plenty of time to hope that they are able to pull off their visions. If they are successful, then it could change the way we look at the genre for years to come. Plus, it gives me plenty of time to watch some of my favorite surviving-the-Armageddon movies to gear up for the release. Keep posted for the latest info as we get it.
CCC Project Coordinator