E3 2012: THQ Pre-E3 Showcase


Company of Death: Last Light…

On a warm Friday morning last week, THQ held their pre-E3 Showcase, with three exciting sequels on display. Company of Heroes II, Metro Last Light and Darksiders II were the titles in question. Do any of the titles on show have the potential to get your blood pumping? Maybe they’ll send you to sleep? Read on to find out if any or all of the titles should be on your radar.

Company of Heroes II

Nine years after the original, Company of Heroes II has finally been announced to the faithful fans of it’s predecessor. Quinn Duffy, Relic Entertainment’s designer for the game, came up on stage and talked us through the plans they have for the sequal. He told us that Relic has built a lot of new technology for this game, including a new engine and IP, which should please their loyal fans. When they started Company of Heroes II, they looked back on the first game a lot, and Quinn wanted to make sure it was more about giving authenticity than taking the game to new places. He took research trips to locations in the game & did a tremendous amount of research, including going to St. Petersburg, Russia and Berlin, Germany. Quinn and his team wanted to “immerse” themselves in the history of the locations and (of course) the war. You can see from this how much effort they all put in to their research, giving a good estimate of just how authentic this game is going to be.

Company of Heroes II is described to us as wanting to be portrayed as brutal but sensitive. The ruthless truth of war is key for this game but they want to respect the people who fought in the war and everyone involved. Relic really want to focus on soldiers being people and not just pawns that you can send to be slaughtered. Tactics also look to play a big part of the game as you will need more than just a big army. Planning your assaults, and even planning on defending your territory after defeating enemies will be instrumental to success, and with destructible environments, even trying to stay hidden won’t help. The game will also take a slow pace to help you take the time to plan your attacks.

Campaign mode is also available. You play the role of the leader of the red army, leading Russia against Hitler’s Germany. Your character is an ex-soldier who comes back as a war correspondence, this of course gives him access to leadership and front line troops, which will come in handy throughout the campaign.

Company of Heroes II looks promising and if you’re a fan of the original there is good reason to be excited. However, if you are not a fan of the genre, then it may not be to your tastes.


Metro: Last Light

Another game, another sequel. Metro: Last Light is the follow on from Metro 2033, meaning you are trying to survive in a post apocalyptic world with little hope. Fun. The developers urged us that single player first person shooters are not dead. And after seeing a demo of Last Light, we are inclined to believe him. We were shown a live action trailer, that is on their YouTube page as you are reading this, showing us the build up to the game. People going crazy, in complete and utter chaos. Scared for their lives they run to the underground station hoping it will keep them safe from the forthcoming armageddon. Amongst the flurry of pedestrians a baby is carried through to the subway, how ever the mother is left behind. This baby turns out to be our protagonist, emerging from the rubble years later.

We were then treated to a gameplay demo, and it showed off some really interesting and unique features. For those of you who haven’t played the first installment, a key element of survival is making sure you don’t run out of supplies. This can be anything from, ammunition, medicine or even oxygen. Throughout the game you wear oxygen masks out in the open as the air has turned toxic. You wear a watch that tells you how much time you have until your oxygen runs out, ignore it and you are certainly dead. This means you can’t just rush through the game but have to really make sure you keep on top of your supplies. Oxygen packs can be picked up from dead bodies with oxygen masks on and even laying around on tables and other places similar. Another intriguing mechanic is that of swiping. You can swipe anything that may cover your mask at any time. Sometimes this can be deadly as you may have enemies attacking you and you are temporarily blinded.

Metro: Last Light had a lot of people excited and it has a lot to live up to after a very successful demonstration.


Darksiders II

Death Lives. That is the tag line given to the final sequel showcased at the event. Luckily for us, there was no presentation or demo for us to watch this time. We were privileged enough to actually play the first level of Darksiders II. Walking into a themed room, we took our seats and immediately got playing.

You start off with your basic tutorials, guiding you through the first few minutes of the game. This will of course help anyone who is yet to play Darksiders, like myself. The game could be compared to God of War, it shares a lot of the same mechanisms, one particular that stood out was wall climbing. However it differs in a few areas, such as having two weapons available at once, using separate buttons to attack with either. The rest of the controls follow basic conventions so nothing innovative made it’s way in this time around. The visuals didn’t look as crisp as other games in the genre, how ever this may be more of a style choice than anything else. The game, like the original, takes on a gothic and almost comic book feel, with your character, Death, draped in battle attire and having flowing long hair. This is of course not your usual or typical style for the being known as Death.

The game’s story revolves around Death trying to rescue his brother War, the hero from the original, from being convicted after being accused of starting an early apocalypse. This will take you across many places in your search for justice. In our time with the game we were led to the Maker Elder, who can open a portal for Death to his help find War. However, Maker Elder refuses and we fight him in an epic battle. Our time with the game ends there but it left everyone extremely impressed and asking to play more!

Darksiders II was my favorite game at the pre-E3 Showcase, leaving me wanting much much more. It already feels like a success, fans of the original should definitely get excited about this game!


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