Do you like things that go BOOM?
I like destruction in video games, as much as the next person... considering the next person is a guy I know who regularly works with TNT and demolishes buildings for a living, that's got to say something about his credentials. Though there's never been a really good destruction system implemented that takes into account all of the forces involved, that was until Red Faction Guerrilla and Geo Mod 2.0.
It still wasn't all that great though, it would glitch out and physics would go off on a holiday somewhere near the balmy shores of nil-gravity. Developer Volition, responsible for such gems as Descent and Red Faction are keen to make sure the destruction really shines this time though, we're back to Mars and it's soon going to be the turn of the next Mason to break his way through a massive alien invasion and smash things with hammers.
The demo is short, but don't let that put you off since you can have a ton of fun with the new destruction and nano-forge right from the get-go. Break things down with your weapons, of which you gain access to the remote mine launcher, the singularity gun and the Magnet Gun early on. These tools of destruction are fantastic for putting both the hurt on the enemy and some serious damage out there in the environment.
Weapon of Choice
Remote mines: launched up to 4 to begin with, cause a lot of damage when detonated and wreck impressive amounts of scenery. They are great for comedy value attacks on the alien enemy in the demo and a few strategically placed ones on overhead pipes can bring the house crashing down literally. I must have killed 4 creepy crawlies without breaking a sweat with just one well placed charge.
Assault Rifle: It's the standard shoot something in the face weapon, no real destruction to the environment but it's a nice standby when you run out of special ammo.
Singularity Gun: Oh yes, this is more like it. This baby launches a rapidly expanding singularity at the point of impact. The result is that enemies and objects not nailed down are drawn into the field, the field then breaks and explodes dealing massive damage and wrecking anything around the area of effect. It can be used to seriously damage massive structures by removing huge chunks and letting Geo Mod take care of the rest.
The Magnet Gun: If there's something to be said about saving the best demo weapon to last, this is it. This is a true sandbox gun and with it you can literally do what you want with chunks of the environment. The gun fires a single attractor onto the target area, be it the wall, ceiling, floor or a bad guy. Then the second attractor can be launched elsewhere in the environment. It's possible to attract an enemy to another, to a wall, floor, ceiling and other object. It is also possible to send chunks of the environment sailing at enemies and crush them under tons of rubble.
You also get access to a mech suit, armed with a powerful auto-tracking 3 shot rocket launcher and a chaingun. The launcher causes massive damage and it's extremely satisfying to use. The suit can melee and charge through obstacles and enemies, a great all round package of destruction.
The nano-forge has been upgraded; it can be used as a weapon now unleashing a massive shockwave against your enemies or the environment, perfect for breaking up that useless tech and construction around you. It can also rebuild anything that you might have destroyed, perfect for putting that bridge back up after you cut off the enemy advance and massacred them earlier on.
The full game promises more unlockable powers, more upgrades and more tools of destruction as well. There's also a little nod to Descent in there for those of us who loved that game back in the day. Salvage is the key to upgrades and you can experiment a little with it in the demo, allowing you to unlock a couple of abilities for your character.
The new iteration of Geo Mod looks as though it's going to provide a more realistic take on destruction, whilst still keeping the over the top KABOOM that was in the previous game. The graphics are a significant step up and the whole feel of the game from cut-scenes to the action is a lot better. Gone is the truly open world but the level design should allow for some big encounters and sandbox style play, multiple solutions are possible with the array of armaments and destruction as well as a few surprises.
Check out the demo for Xbox 360, PC and PS3 then look for the full game and review come early June.