I Am Alive
Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder once famously asserted "Hey, I, oh, I'm still alive." That's a sentiment that could be echoed by the central character of I Am Alive, Ubisoft's upcoming disaster-survival title that may just jump-start a new subgenre of survival horror.
From what we've seen, water seems to be in scarce supply after a natural disaster strikes Adam's home city of Chicago, toppling buildings, collapsing streets, and leaving little in the way of H2O in its wake. Only eight days after the catastrophe, the city is in ruins, and citizens have turned violent in trying to survive. More than one GamePro editor subscribes to the theory that the calamity is actually a majority of the world's water supply instantly evaporating, as supported by the want for water, the streets imploding where water pipes would be, and the fact that Adam's coffee cup falls to the ground empty. We still can't quite explain the ominous beeping cell-phone call Adam received right before the event.
We're not the only ones obsessed with this game already. Eagle-eyed trailer watchers have latched onto I Am Alive the ways fans have scoured shows and movies like Lost and Cloverfield, hoping to find clues in the patchwork. One such Easter egg was a URL referencing Ruaumoko, the Maori god of earthquakes. We're really hoping Ubisoft can hit its tentative Spring 2009 goal for this game, and we also have our fingers crossed that I Am Alive will succeed where games like Disaster Report and Raw Danger have failed. Give us more action and less survival simulation, Ubisoft, and understand that sometimes an unpredictable environment is scarier than zombies or vampires could ever be.
After many years as the king of ninja mountain, Ryu Hayabusa's reign is being seriously challenged. His latest adventure, Ninja Gaiden II was merely kinda awesome. And his modern-day director of choice, former Team Ninja leader Tomonburu Itagaki, has left Tecmo, with the future of his helmed franchises in the unsure hands of newer employees. Thus, the opportunity has presented itself for another ninja to sneak behind Ryu and slit his famed franchise's throat.
Microsoft is making a pretty big gamble with Ninja Blade. By publishing a game that's eerily close in concept to Tecmo's bread and butter, it risks alienating one of the system's most staunch Japanese supporters. This time around, the ninja action is being created by From Software, who has history with Japan's most dangerous profession. While the company's previous ninja series, Tenchu, trended towards stealth, what we've seen of Ninja Blade suggests this game will be everything but. The teaser trailer showed a steampunk-style ninja leaping down the side of a skyscraper, running across the side of the building as he sliced and diced demons on his downward path. If that's indicative of the final project, Ninja Blade could make the brutal battles of Ninja Gaiden look like an episode of Hello Kitty.
Red Faction: Guerilla
It has been 50 years since the events of the original Red Faction, and the Earth Defense Force, who liberated the oppressed miners from the grip of Ultor, has become the very corrupt organization they freed the Martian planet from. Now, Alec Mason must lead a new rebellion alongside his fellow miners utilizing their strongest advantage: guerilla warfare.
From the moment you take up arms in Red Faction: Guerilla, you'll be able to tackle missions in any of the game's six major areas at your leisure. As you press onward, leaving a string of collateral damage in your wake, keep in mind that any environmental damage you inflict will persist until you come back for more or build the rubble back up again utilizing the new Reconstructor backpack.
Guerilla's multiplayer, whose beta ended back in August, also plans to utilize this completely physics-based destruction while also including an experience point-based system. Of particular interest is Damage Control (capture and hold) which has players blowing apart the pre-existing fortifications of one point and rebuilding them with their own fortifications using the aforementioned Reconstructor backpacks. A variety of 10 power-up backpacks -including a jet pack-coupled with the constant environmental damage should help to shape this multiplayer experience into a wild one.
For those of you who've seen too many B-movie horror flicks, this one's for you. Released for the arcade back in 1988, Splatterhouse was originally a side scrolling beat-em-up with a heavy emphasis on blood, gore, and a protagonist modeled after Friday the 13th star Jason Voorhees. Now, Namco Bandai has decided to throw this bloody IP to the wolves at Bottlerocket Entertainment (The Mark of Kri) to see what sort of twisted reimagining they could conjure up.
The tale of Splatterhouse, whose modern update is being penned by Gordon Rennie (Judge Dredd), revolves around Rick Taylor, a student who discovers a cursed mask which grants him supernatural abilities after his girlfriend, Jennifer Wills, is kidnapped by the sinister scientist Dr. West. Rick could easily be likened to a person-shaped sack of meat, bones, and miracle grow. Instead of having the typical health bar on screen, whenever Rick takes damage a chunk of body is just ripped right out of him. Naturally the more damage you take the closer you become to being a walking skeleton. And it gets better: in order to heal, you call upon the magical, restorative properties of your hockey mask and your hole-filled body grows back like crab grass.
As a gore filled, third-person action title, following in the vein of God of War, Splatterhouse is certainly an out-of-nowhere revival that should warrant one's morbid curiosity.