Inventiveness on the part of the player isn't limited solely to getting from point A to point B in the game (or any of the myriad points in-between on the massive world map). Mustard showed us some neat tricks, including shooting spider-like sentry drones off walls so they'd fall near unsuspecting enemies before detonating. This was accompanied by appropriate "What the--?" animations by the soon-to-be-deceased bad guys.
Other tactics involved weapons and upgrades to the hero's "Omega" suit that are obtained later in the game. The first we were shown was a gun that fired fast-setting expanding foam gel. Initially, Mustard used it to ensnare an enemy before killing him, but it had other uses. Facing off against a shield-carrying enemy, he was able to foam the shield to the ground, rendering it unusable. The enemy was forced to abandon it, leaving himself wide open. Next, it was demonstrated that the foam can be used to create cover and platforms; the later were used to reach hidden areas.
One new ability we saw was the "Friction Dampener." When activated, the hero was able to run (at insane speed) across the surface of a lake, straight through enemies, and along walls and ceilings. Mustard told us that the ability is based on scientific research into "acoustic lubrication." We don't know about the science, but the results looked amazing -- and were particularly useful against one boss mech that raced along the ceiling, floor and walls of a confined room.
We were happy to see Gears of War 2
style prompts slide on screen whenever Mustard performed a feat that counted towards unlocking an Achievement. This included plenty of head shots, which eventually reward players with the "Head A-splode" cheevo. Mustard teased that these feats continue to be tracked even after the Achievement's been unlocked, but said he wants to surprise players with exactly what that
For those looking to over-achieve, we were shown some of the challenge rooms that'll appear in the finished game. Presented with a stylized "minimalist" look, they ranged from a simple one-room speed run to an ultra-concentrated taste of all the challenges the main game spits out. Mustard said the rooms are partially for bragging rights (times are uploaded to online leaderboards) but also to help players hone their skills for their second, third or fourth time through the game -- which should be interesting, given that their leveled-up character gets carried over to the next play-through.
Getting a better look at the game's ... looks, we can tell you that it's turning out absolutely stunning. Shadow Complex
doesn't look like a 1200
($15) title and it sure doesn't seem to be built like anything less than a full-priced retail release. A team of six artists has worked to give the game its unique look -- one that Mustard says is inspired by games like Out of This World
, only with highly detailed characters, backgrounds and in-game objects.
The results -- coupled with the game's mechanics and scope -- will likely change the way you view XBLA titles forever. It's certainly going to make other developers work that much harder
for your Microsoft Points -- or at least we certainly hope it does, now that we've seen what's possible. We'll find out how it all comes together on Wednesday, August 19. (Or, as we're calling it, "Taking a Break from Battlefield 1943