While they may have been slumming down in Kentia Hall, 1C was showing some of the coolest stuff at the show as far as Iím concerned.
For the uninitiated, 1C is this Russian powerhouse of a software developer/publisher/distributor. They have co published and distributed some of the biggest titles including Icewind Dale II, Morrowind and Max Payne among others. Impressive indeed, but more impressive was the variety of games they plunked me down in front of. I could go on all day about Vivisector, a gory FPS that takes place on an island where the lines between man and animal have been redrawn. And Axle Rage, which places you in the shoes of an outlaw, brawling his way through a grim futuristic setting, or any of the other fantastic titles 1C was showing off, but here are my personal faves.
These guys are diversified to say the least; Perimeter is a totally original RTS revolving around terraforming and unit management. By carving away swaths of the planet you can extract the energy that is the gameís only collectable resource. Once you have occupied an area you can project a massive energy shield to keep adversaries at bay. Taking a page from Homeworld, the folks at K-D Labs have created a system that allows you to form your units into squads that work together to carry out your orders with a minimum of micromanagement. Throw into this already impressive picture the ability to morph your combat forces from infantry to armor on the fly, and ďwowĒ is the only word I should need to say.
Bloody Magic (PC)
This RPG does a lot of new stuff without making the player feel alienated. The combat is almost if not 100% magic based. While to those who like to play as a ranger this may seem a little of putting, youíll want to give this a chance I think. Even though you have to play as a magician, there are over a dozen different schools of magic to subscribe to, creating a lot of choices for character development. One thing thatís cool about the character design in Bloody Magic is the fact that your characters appearance changes depending on what sort of magic you are using, a fire wielder will take on a diabolical look while some one employing earth magic will look to be one with the trees.
I imagine that this feature will play an important part in multiplayer melees where knowing your opponentís capabilities will be key. And to be frank, the game just looks sharp. The user interface works well with the backgrounds and when coupled with the spell effects thrown in, well the eye candy may not be the focus here but itís definitely lurking just off stage.
Out Front (PC)
This one may be my single player title of choice come next year. Out Front tells the tale of a WWII tank commander that is the sole of an engagement with German forces. Stranded far behind enemy lines he must enlist the aid of the partisans, local allied sympathizers, to make his way home while becoming as big a nuisance to the Nazis as possible.
While it is played from a fixed isometric viewpoint, the level of detail in Out Frontís visuals is just staggering, artillery shells explode in full 3D, shrubbery sways as you move through it on foot and is flattened by the passing of your tank, and the textures, the textures! Buildings can be destroyed and civilians can be caught in the cross fire, itís good stuff. The enemy AI makes me feel like I need to start playing more and writing less, if your attention tends to waver at all, expect die often.
Vivisector: Beast Inside (PC)
Using a custom 3D engine called AtmosFear, Vivisector is a first person shooter game offering a deep and frightening story. The game is set on the remote Soreo Isle where a mysterious Dr. Morhead had built a large laboratory facility, where he conducted experiments in genetics. Years later, after all of this tampering with nature has gone awry in a terrible way, the island gets visited by the crew of HMS Spider, and that's where the action starts. The enemies in this FPS will be bizarre ModBeasts and Humanimals who are the product of Dr. Morhead's genetic tampering. The gameplay was very smooth and the graphics looked great, so if you're a FPS fan keep an eye out for this one.