Previewed by Burt Carver
Xenus – First Impressions
At E3 one of the more unique titles I had a chance to view was Xenus from Deep Shadows, a developer out of the Ukraine. The game, at first blush, is a first person shooter that is reminiscent of Soldier of Fortune. The premise of the game is that your sister has been kidnapped and is somewhere in Colombia, and your mission is to find her.
What makes this game special? Well, for starters, if you use one weapon more than others you will get more proficient with your use of the weapon. Sniper reticles move slower, accuracy of machine guns is improved and the list goes on. Another key feature is the use of vehicles in the game. Most of the game is spent ‘in the trenches’ so to speak, but occasionally you get to jump in a helo for a ride. This isn’t the typical “take me to my drop point” ride, this is a weapon selectable, ‘blow up other helicopters’ type flight. Other vehicles are also available and enhance gameplay. Another interesting feature of the game is the different factions in the game. There are Drug Barons, Federales, Officials, Indians and Guerilla’s. Each faction has a role in the game, and your character can interact with each faction. You can take missions from the Drug Barons in exchange for cash, and that allows you to buy information on your sister or upgrade your weapons. However, if you side exclusively with the Drug Barons then the locals and the federales will turn against you. Obviously the faction interaction adds a new dimension to the gameplay, and I foresee excellent replayability based on how you side with factions.
At E3 I had a chance to play a level of the game in a guerilla camp. The colours in the game are over-saturated, but this is by intent. The developers wanted the jungles of Columbia to be lush. Also, this is a title under development so the visual tweaks have not been done yet.
The gameplay is intense, and the AI is intelligent. Hide in a building and expect grenades through the windows. The walking motion can be disconcerting, as the walking simulates real, jarring walking. So don’t expect fluid, floating motion. Russobit was going for realism and they have achieved it. Even the weapon models are quite accurate, down to some stains on the gun.
I am looking forward to this game with anticipation as I think it will be one of the sleeper titles of 03.