By Kevin Kelly
Capcom had thoughtfully set up a multi-station obstacle course for us at GDC, otherwise known as the Capcom Press Suite, which is parlance for “cramming as many video games as possible into one hotel room.” Which is much better than unlimited room service and free pay TV. Scattered around the room in every nook and cranny were Capcom’s up and coming titles at hands-on stations ready to be touched and inspected. So without further ado, we’re going to run you through the same course, and give you our impressions.
As it turns out, life actually is like a Hurricane, right there in Duckburg. The original title “Ducktales” was a big hit for Capcom back in 1989 and 1990, becoming the company’s best-selling game on both the Nintendo Entertainment System and the GameBoy. Now nearly 24 years later (eep!) the game is returning at “DuckTales Remastered,” and features an expanded story with roughly 30% new content, and the voice talents of the actors from the original series, including Alan Young as the voice of Scrooge McDuck. Yes, that’s the same Alan Young from the classic TV show “Mr. Ed.”
In this 2.5D platformer that mixes 2D characters with 3D backgrounds is rendered in gorgeous HD, and even the menu screen shot of Duckburg is fairly stunning. The gameplay is fairly simple and straightforward, with you piloting Scrooge McDuck through the levels while pogo-ing him up and down on top of baddies with his cane. There are a lot of collectibles and unlockables throughout, and you can even take Scrooge McDuck into his vault and swim around through the gold coins. That’s some fantasy wish fulfillment right there. The game will pretty much only appeal to fans and younger audiences, which is fine as it will be available as an Xbox 360, PlayStation Network and Wii U eShop title this summer.
Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara
Back in 1993, Capcom created two Dungeons & Dragons games for coin-op arcades. First was “Dungeons & Dragons: The Tower of Doom”, which was a four-person, side-scrolling adventure putting you in the shoes of a Fighter, Elf, Cleric, or Dwarf and pitting you against a horde of enemies and bosses, ultimately squaring you off against a bad guy who was working for yet another bad guy. One who you would face in the sequel “Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara.” This time, you face off against a sorceress named Synn, who conceals a dark secret. The sequel added a Magic-User and a Thief to the mix, and special combos for the characters.
“Dungeons & Dragons: The Chronicles of Mystara” combines both of these games into a digital download, bringing the classic games to modern-day consoles along with four player online co-op. Capcom has added in a lot of concept art for the original games that can be unlocked throughout the game, and the addition of “house rules” that allow you to toggle different settings on and off. It’s a pixel-perfect recreation of the only two arcade versions of Dungeons & Dragons ever created. You can see the roots of some later Capcom games in here, and it brought things like experience points and changeable inventory to the arcade, something that was fairly rare at the time. The game will be available on XBLA, PSN, and the Nintendo eShop sometime this summer.
Resident Evil: Revelations HD
Last year, “Resident Evil: Revelations” came out for the Nintendo 3DS, returning the game to its roots in survival horror, and proving that a handheld game could best a console title. Yes, we’re looking at you, “Resident Evil 6.” This game is set between the events of “Resident Evil 4″ and “Resident Evil 5,” and centers on Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance team members Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield from the original “Resident Evil,” along with newcomers Parker Luciani and Jessica Sherawat, among others. The game contained a fairly deep story, especially for a handheld title, and was among the best of the best for the Nintendo 3DS, if you were able to grab a copy along with a Circle Pad Pro.
Now the game is coming to PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the Wii U, and we played it on Nintendo’s newest console. The Wii U gamepad becomes a secondary screen featuring a map and your inventory, and is fairly useful for switching things quickly on the fly… once you’ve memorized their placement on the screen. It also adds a somewhat goofy “Death Massage” option, allowing users to scrawl messages via the gamepad that other players will see. The graphics have been overhauled for this new release, and we were fairly impressed with the entire look and feel of the game, which definitely is low on the ammunition side of things, and encourages exploration and puzzle-solving. The game will be released on May 23, along with a hellishly difficult “Infernal” mode.
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
Capcom doesn’t consider “Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen” to be a sequel, as it is more along the lines of an expansion. Or “Super Dragon’s Dogma,” if you will. The game is $40, and will give you the entire first game, along with all of the expansions, and the all of the content of the Dark Arisen expansion. Granted, that’s a raw deal for people who have already picked up the original “Dragon’s Dogma,” which took the ideal kernel of the Dungeons & Dragons party system and put it into a new game. Capcom estimates that the new content clocks in at around 15 to 20 hours worth of gameplay, which is why they say this had to be a boxed title and not a digital download.
There are 25 new enemies throughout the game, ranging in size from normal to freaking gigantic, along with more than 100 pieces of new equipment, including some in new tiers, character and pawn augments, more customization options, item appraisal, and an option to turn the Japanese voiceover on. Oh, and they squashed your pawns penchant for talking over each other. Plus, if you choose to import your characters from the original game into this expanded title, you will receive 100,000 rift crystals, six brand-new costumes, and an eternal Fairystone that allows you unlimited fast travel. “Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen” will be released on April 23 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Rounding out our day with Capcom, and easily one of the most original concepts we’ve seen in awhile was “Remember Me.” This inventive cyberpunk title takes place in Neo-Paris in the year 2084, appropriately 100 years after George Orwell’s classic “1984.” In this future, memories can be digitized, bought, and sold, putting most of the world’s power into the hands of very few. You play the game as Nilin, an elite memory hunter who has had her own memories erased, and she sets out to find out who she is while evading the very creators of this surveillance society.
At its heart, “Remember Me” is a fighting game, with an added world of exploration and platforming on top of it. But most of the combat is melee based, and you will need to quickly master the ComboLab feature of the game in order to become the most efficient fighter. This system allows you to adjust your combos on the fly, added power, defense, or healing via a menu interface that can be daunting to comprehend at first. But once you get the hang of it, you will be collecting “Pressens” or additional moves that you can slot in, and you’ll soon drop in and out of the Lab to make changes depending on who you are fighting. Nilin also has a “Memory Remix” feature that allows her to alter people’s memory during gameplay. Think “Johnny Mnemonic” meets “The Matrix” by way of “Aeon Flux,” and you’re part of the way there.
With stunning visuals and inventive gameplay, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this game when it launches this June for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the PC.