One of the excellent perks of my job – check that, let's not call it a "perk" it's definitely part of the job – is getting to see not yet finished videogames. When I'm lucky I get to play them too, but there's still something incredibly special about having someone run through a demo for you of a title that's not due out until next year (if everything works perfectly on the development side).
I once read an article that tried to explain how special it is the first time you pick up a controller for a brand new console – it's a little different and your fingers aren't quite sure where each button is or how it feels. It is an exhilarating moment, you don't know what the boot screen is going to look like and you're not yet infinitely tired of watching it progress when all you really want to do is play a game. Seeing someone, even if it's not you, running through a playable demo is kind of like that, especially when the game shows potential. Last week I got to sit down and watch four such demos for games by the folks over at Square Enix.
If you're a gamer in the same mold as myself, you enjoy the immersive experience of the whole thing – it's the getting lost in a new world that really thrills you about videogames. Well for my money, Square Enix puts out some of the best worlds you can possibly visit. No one really seems to do immersive in the way that Square Enix does immersive and some of that was definitely on display at this event.
The first title I saw was Gun Loco, a 360 exclusive, that is, as you may have guessed by the title, heavy on insane gunplay. Due out February 27 of next year, the game is based on some Hong Kong action figures and the demo that was run took place on a prison planet where a couple of guys (one with a rabbit head) were doing their best to get to a rocket… I think. As far as I could tell, the storyline was kind of less important in Gun Loco than was dropping you on a massive level and asking that you get from point A to point B destroying everything that moved – be it human or mechanical – that got in your way. The playable character we saw, Maddox, is able to do things lie slide under fences while firing his gun, drop kick bad guys, and generally wreak havoc.