|System: Xbox 360, PC, PS3|
|Dev: Eko System|
|Pub: Zoo Games|
|Release: Q3 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Sean Engemann
When developer Eko System and publisher Zoo Games unveil a new entry in their game lineup, most of us expect something fit for the youngins. Their past work bears trademarks from Garfield, Strawberry Shortcake, Hello Kitty, and the like, rarely straying from E ratings. It's a pleasant surprise then, that their upcoming downloadable entry, Wanted Corp. is making us tilt our heads slightly to take a peak. While not anywhere near a Mature rating, the game looks to bask in lukewarm water, possibly attracting both the family gamers and the hardcore community.
The story is simple, and certainly not the driving force of this adventure. Filling the shoes of bounty hunters Neal H. MadDogg and Irina Zimoy, you must brave an alien planet and recapture or eliminate dangerous fugitives who have escaped when their prison ship crash landed. The two hunters have a lot of incentive to take on the mission, standing to gain a cool 896,500,000 credits should they succeed. Simply looking at the characters' names is an indication that this is more a farce than your typical grim "save humanity" tale.
MadDogg is a weapons expert with a top-heavy build, scrawny legs, Hulk Hogan's handlebar mustache, and a slight Brooklyn accent. He throws around cheesy one-liners best classified as a Duke Nukem and Mario purée. Irina, on the other hand, is a straight-laced psychic, from Russian decent by her accent. She can command the elements, and has the tedious job of constantly slapping MadDogg off his high horse. The pair could not be more different, both in skills and in personality, but they complement each other perfectly on the battlefield.
And they'll need that comradery after hitting the alien world, since the action is fast-paced and the enemies relentless. There will be twenty-six different types of baddies to take down, from sentry robots to mechanical spiders, and some mammoth bosses to boot.
You'll have a bevy of different weapons at your disposal, including your standard bullet fare and grenades, as well as telekinetic powers and lighting strikes, but you'll also be able to strap into some souped-up vehicles like mechs with rapid-fire rocket launchers. You'll be viewing the action from an aerial shot. With the camera centering on the character, preliminary indications seem pretty tight, although some issues with targets offscreen may still present a problem.
Broken into four campaigns, the game takes you through several different environments, with jungles, swamps, and underground bases all included. Despite the carbon-copy backdrop you would guarantee has graced countless other games with similar locales, Wanted Corp. has put some nice detailing both in the non-interactive elements as well as the countless pieces just waiting to explode when fired upon. The lighting effects and animations also add both a subtle and powerful ambience to the nonstop firefight.
The controls look smooth, but with a few different options I'm curious to test out. The trailer puts the game as both a PC and PlayStation Network download, with Xbox Live Arcade indicated on Eko System's website. For the PS3, the game will support Move, so putting that to the test against classic controls, as well as keyboard/mouse combinations, could yield interesting results. Frankly, the game looks like it would play best as a twin-stick shooter, so unless the Move is incredibly responsive, we may wind up slapping it with a gimmick label.
Nevertheless, the action seems to have your finger glued to the trigger button, destroying anything that moves. You'll receive combo bonuses for chain kills, which could bode well for replayability if the game sports a Score Attack mode. If playing alone, both characters will still be onscreen, but you can switch between them at any time with the A.I. controlling your partner. Local and online co-op is also available, and with score-based campaigns, I would bank a leaderboard of some sort.
I'm crossing my fingers that the game has some extra modes simply not listed yet. If it lacks even a Score Attack, there really wouldn't be much incentive to start the campaign over again, with no alternate characters and little divulged about customization. The game will not be completely linear, however, as there will be side missions to complete, as well as hidden collectible, which award you credits to purchase perks.
The game will be set with a $9.99 price tag when it launches later this summer. I have my doubts about a lengthy campaign time for the game, so I will stress this again: The developers need to make sure there's enough content through game modes, both online and off, to keep gamers hooked, as this has become a fatal flaw in digital game offerings of late. That said, the short gameplay trailer already has my trigger finger twitching, and I expect my credit card will magically give away its numbers once Wanted Corp. hits the digital shelves.
CCC Contributing Writer