Here are some nice renders and art (below the jump) of three more of the big ol' witches you'll get to face off against in Namco Bandai's twisted action game, set to hit the PS3 and Xbox 360 on February 22, 2011. Hard-working developer Game Republic is doing its best work to date, I'd say. Love that bizarre artwork and in motion, the game looks quite nice. Check out the cool behind the scenes trailer on the other blog for more details…
Namco Bandai's rather surreal fantasy/horror/action game hybrid has been on my radar pretty since its initial announcement and now, the Game Republic-developed title finally has a release date. February 22, 2011 is when you'll want to be lurking around your favorite game retailer (or creeping in to pick up your pre-ordered copy). The single-player PS3 and Xbox 360 game features Heinrich, an immortal executioner and Gretchen, a resurrected witch who acts as Heinrich's AI partner. Namco Bandai hopes that the mix of fantasy elements, high action sequences and M-rated gore coupled with the game's bizarre menagerie of monsters might lift a few of those lingering holiday blahs right out of your system.
Speaking of bizarre-looking monsters, more nice concept art images and renders of two bosses, Straeggle and Trude are below the jump along with some new screens featuring the pair of beastly beauties in action.
Platform: Xbox 360 (also on PS3)
Developer: Game Republic
Publisher: Namco Bandai
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Proof that decent single player game experiences aren't quite dead just yet, Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is a nice surprise in this insanely busy holiday games avalanche. In this console cycle of endless AAA shooters, non-stop action games packed with multiplayer modes or games where some sort of mandatory online presence have become mainstays, Game Republic's lengthy and quietly beautiful little fantasy wants you to put down the caffeine, turn off the testosterone, pull up a comfortable chair and set a spell with the well-worn tale it wants to tell. Like Namco Bandai's other excellent single-player focused sleeper, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (and Game Republic's PS3 launch window title, Folklore), there's a lot of love that went into putting this one together and you can see it as you play. While the overall experience isn't flawless, the game is a guaranteed near-total joy for those who fully surrender to its charms.
You usually don't hear a whole lot about games shipping on time, so it's awesome to find out there's at least ONE game that's had it's release date pushed UP a bit. Namco Bandai has announced that Majin & The Forsaken Kingdom for the PS3 and Xbox 360 will be hitting retail on November 23, 2010. The Game Republic-developed action/stealth/puzzle game features a single player story driven experience in which players will team up with a hulking forest spirit-totem in order to save a mythical kingdom. A bit of press release below the jump. I absolutely loved this when I saw it in action a few months back and it definitely has “sleeper hit” written all over it, that's for sure…
Fans of the Game Republic-developed recently released movie game Clash of the Titans can expand their hack 'n slash adventures with Perseus even further thanks to the new DLC Namco Bandai has started dropping onto PSN and Xbox LIVE as of a few days ago. Yes, this would have gone up on the 25th, however, my overzealous spam filter ate the press release and some other important mail. I happened to poke around in there looking for some lost stuff earlier today and well, here you go…
Developer: Game Republic
# of Players: 1-2
Rating: T (Teen)
While Clash of the Titans is far from gaming perfection, you have to at least give developer Game Republic credit for their lengthy, overly ambitious take on the usual too brief licensed movie game experience. There’s an arcade-like combat system here that’s simple enough for anyone to pick up and play along with a bit of depth for the obsessive thanks to the ability to grab and acquire dozens of upgradable enemy weapons. On the higher difficulty levels, some enemies and bosses can be quite tough to take down in a timely manner. However on the easiest setting, skilled players can breeze by plenty of maps before they run into anything really challenging.
Still, unlike a great deal of movie-based games, there’s a lot of work do before you see the ending. With at least 20 hours of action here, only those willing to sink a good deal of time into the game will see everything it has to offer, particularly if you’re into collecting Achievements or Trophies. There are a few very light RPG elements, over 80 weapons to collect, a few co-op oriented missions and even a Challenge mode that requires you to beat down bosses you’ve previously bested. As long as you go into this one not expecting to be wowed by stunning originality all around, the game can be strangely compelling in an old-school fashion.
The really pesky part about COTT is that it can be fun in spurts, but in the end it tries too hard to be accessible at the expense of any sort of character or plot depth. It almost seems as if Game Republic started the project as a more tightly focused Action/RPG experience geared solely toward one player, but along the way some ideas (such as complete co-op play throughout the main game) didn’t gel completely. You’ll get loads of side quests that revolve around hoofing it through large environments and killing waves of enemies before you can grab the item you’re sent to retrieve.
Granted, this sort of chase ‘n chop questing has been par for the genre course for ages. At the end of the day, don’t expect the game to blow you away with anything new and exciting. You’re just beating down yet another pack of angry beasties before they do the same to you, collecting your reward and moving on to the next NPC in need. In terms of controls, moves aren’t hard to pull off at all and the game can be fun when everything works as it should. The problem is, the negative points get in the way of enjoying much of the game to the point of overwhelming the experience.
As you go through the game, you’ll be able to choose an AI partner that has something of a short attention span combined with the ability to get killed at the most inopportune of times. While calling over a buddy and plugging in a second controller sounds like it’s a great way to solve that particular problem, not every mission in the game is co-op or AI partner enabled. That and both players are confined to one screen, making something like decent camera control a wee bit impossible. It’s not as if Game Republic hasn’t been around long enough (and hasn’t made a few respectably solid games) to know how to deal with these camera and ranged weapon issues. It’s just a bit surprising to see this mostly simple but fun game experience hampered by stuff like this.
As a whole, the game can be quite enjoyable as long as you judge it on its own merits and not compare it to other games on the market. Unfortunately, that’s what’s going to happen with pretty much any action-based game that even remotely resembles a certain bigger-budgeted PS2/PS3/PSP exclusive franchise. As a gaming old-timer, I actually see more comparison to ancient arcade classics such as the Rastan or Rygar games, Dungeon Magic and a few other oldies I can recall spending way too much money on trying to beat in single sittings.
In the end, whether or not reliving the days of yore is worth sixty bucks is completely up to you, dear reader. I certainly enjoyed playing through Clash of the Titans once (plus a bunch of Challenge missions) and I’ll probably whip it out and go through it again at some point down the road. Granted, the remake wasn’t the most spectacular of cinematic experiences (but it was certainly more fun to watch than the original), but at least the game fits that mindless summer fun mold almost to a T.
Here’s a nice batch of screens from the upcoming Namco Bandai licensed movie tie-in action game currently in development by Game Republic. I’m intrigued out of sheer curiosity, even though the depth of field in some of these images is a wee bit over the top for my tastes.
Confession: as a kid, I hated the 1981 film (except for Ray Harryhausen’s creepy, effective Medusa sequence), but the remake looks slightly more intriguing (at least from a technical perspective). Besides, with ancient Greece in play in a few games (notably God of War III) and a few other recent titles targeting the GOW style of gameplay (Dante’s Inferno, anyone?), it’ll definitely be interesting to see where this particular game lands on its own merits.