June 19, 2010

E3 Impressions – A Tale of Two Downloadable Titles

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , — Aileen Viray @ 1:51 pm

Downloadable Titles
Two of the top downloadable games I saw at E3 2010 are definitely Konami’s Hard Corps: Uprising and Square-Enix’s Space Invaders Infinity Gene. Child of Eden was stealing plenty of the limelight and my attention, but these games deserve some recognition.

Konami is releasing Hard Corps: Uprising on Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network this fall, and judging by the E3 demo, it’s coming along really well. The art shift makes it easy to call it a refreshing take on a celebrated franchise, whose concept and gameplay controls are still adopted from early Contra games – of course new features such as online co-op mode and leaderboards tag along for the nostalgia trip.

I couldn’t help but notice “working title” on the E3 sign with Hard Corps. Does that mean that they’re considering putting “Contra” back in the title? I’m going to guess probably not.

Downloadable Titles
With the game being developed by ARC System Works, a huge draw for the title is the art direction, which is hard to ignore – the hand-drawn sprites in 2.5D look incredible. So far, there are only Bahamut and Krystal to choose for playable characters, with plans for three additional ones via DLC. And although these characters take up about 1/4 of the screen, the view doesn’t look at all cramped.

In Hard Corps: Uprising, characters are agile enough to hold up to two special weapons, lay low and shoot, dash on ground, even double jump and dash in the air. While playing the demo, I blindly neglected the R button, which locks the character in place to aim and shoot your weapon. Not knowing this made the motorbike sequence frustrating as I continually drove into the enemies coming at me from behind while trying to shoot at them. Duh, Aileen, DUH!

I died plenty during my time with the game, but that’s part of the fun with Contra games, isn’t it?

Downloadable Titles
Square-Enix’s Space Invaders Infinity Gene is a completely different type of nostalgia ride. It actually reminds me of all the 3D modeling software I used in architecture class.

Instead of having to measure and strategically draw buildings in vector grids, architecture class would have been more fun if there was a little space ship floating around in my projects.

Unlike the static nature of buildings, the focus of Space Invaders Infinity Gene is evolution, which brings an organic element into geometrical space. I thought they were leaning toward a bit of pretentiousness at first, but the concept of evolution demonstrated within the game quickly explains the Charles Darwin quotes shown during the loading screens.

Downloadable Titles
The stages begin in classic Space Invader fashion, with your ship stationed at the bottom of the screen. As more power-ups are collected, more vector planes are unlocked, allowing your ship to eventually move all around the screen, transforming from a 2D to 3D shooter.

Word of the game’s music mode, which generates custom stages based on my own music means I’m going to have to dig through plenty of songs to see how the frameworks change. I’m already imagining a potential Space Invaders playlist on my PS3.

It’s great that Square-Enix decided to bring an XBLA and PSN version to North America, it’s just a matter of seeing where the price point settles once it’s announced along with a release date.


  1. Looking forward to the release of both games. Thanks to digital distribution we’re getting a shot at playing games that would not have been released at retail at all.

    Comment by EdEN — June 20, 2010 @ 2:45 pm

  2. I will be -so- all over Hard Corps when it’s released. It pretty much everything I want in a great Contra game. A certain code is also supposed to work with it :)

    Comment by Jeffrey Wilson — June 23, 2010 @ 2:06 am

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