E3 10; Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 – The PS3 Attitude Preview
Sadly, GRIN is not developing the sequel since the studio closed down shortly after the retail release of Bionic Commando. Instead, the game is being developed by Fatshark.
Don’t let that worry you though, most of the team that worked on Bionic Commando Rearmed moved to Fatshark. The sequel is in good hands.
We were given the opportunity to try the game out for ourselves. Does the inclusion of a jump button really make that much of a difference?
The first thing we noticed is that the visuals stand out a lot more. It’s not exactly a drastic change, but everything is more vibrant and it looks really good. Spencer also received a bit of a face lift (again). Again, this change isn’t one that stands out too much. He looks older and has a mustache. That’s pretty much it. He doesn’t have dreadlocks or anything like that. This is still the Spencer we’re all very familiar with.
The original Bionic Commando did not have a jump button. Neither did Bionic Commando Rearmed. This frustrated many players. No matter the distance you always needed the grappling hook to get anywhere. The concept worked but the limitation was always silly. Since BCR2 is an entirely new game there is no reason why Spencer can’t jump now. So, does the new mechanic work?
Based on the short demo, jumping is really clunky and it doesn’t feel necessary. It’s actually good that jumping isn’t overpowered. This means that the grappling hook is still the best way to traverse through a level. Even though you realize you can just jump over a barrel now, if you’re familiar with the first game, you’ll still find yourself swinging around all the time. Hopefully the final game will make clever use of the jump button. We do have to admit, it was nice being able to jump off a platform and latch onto a nearby lightpost without dying. It felt very natural to do in those situations.
There’s more to Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 than just a jump button. We are promised a variety of new weapons. In the demo we were able to use a napalm launcher. It’s as crazy as sounds. In fact, the first time you use it you’ll most likely kill yourself accidentally. The grenade kind of gently plops out of your gun. Then it lands on the ground and you see a huge wave of fire. If you’re too close, you get engulfed in the flames before you can even react. It’s an automatic death. When used properly it’s a really cool weapon. If you enjoy blowing things up, you’ll love the napalm gun.
Also new to the sequel is the Bionic Vision ability. This allows you to see information on enemies, objects, and environments. It’s a tool that veterans probably won’t use unless it’s somehow required. If you could figure out what to do in the original Rearmed, you should have no problems here.
Spencer has a bunch of new techniques this time around. One of which was ripped straight out of Bionic Commando (2009). It’s called Death from Above. And yes, it’s awesome. After you jump into the air Spencer can slam down to the ground with an immense force. This will take out enemies around you. The ability also allows you to break certain pieces of the environment. You’ll need to use it in order to advance through certain portions of the game. Even though the demo was short, we used the ability quite frequently.
We didn’t have time to try every new ability out. In Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 you can now equip passive and active abilities. We were told that you’ll be able to find an ability that slowly regenerates your health. It’s not as cheap as it sounds. You can only have one of these abilities equipped and you’ll have to choose the best option based on your situation. If it’s as strategic as it sounds, this could be a neat addition to the series.
There really wasn’t anything too surprising in the sequel. Cutscenes are still done through text boxes with cheesy dialogue, and the gameplay is very familiar. There’s just a lot more Spencer can do now. It actually seems like levels have more room for exploration as well. It’s difficult to know for certain since we didn’t get to play through much of the game. Gameplay tweaks that were patched into the original Rearmed are present in the sequel. Swinging is just as good as before, if not better. You won’t be disappointed.
Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 is expected to hit the PSN sometime in Q1 of 2011. The version we played was a bit rough but there is plenty of time for improvements to be made.