Aztecs versus E3: Day Three with Jordan Pollock

by Jordan Pollock

Courtesy of Entertainment Software Association
Courtesy of Entertainment Software Association

“Murdered: Soul Suspect”

            Creative Director Yosuke Shiokawa of Airtight Games wondered “what if John McClane died during Die Hard but continued to fight anyway as a ghost.” I’m going to let that settle with you for a minute. You good? Alright. “Murdered: Soul Suspect” is about a recently deceased detective, Ronan O’Connor, who needs to solve his own murder before his spirit can move on.

            In the fifteen minute demo that was shown at E3, we got to see some of Detective O’Connor’s newly acquired ghostly abilities. Since he’s a ghost, Detective O’Connor can now pass through just about any physical object that is in the human realm. As such he can’t manually pick up a piece of evidence and examine it himself. Instead he can possess any living person and either influence them to do what he needs them to do, or read their minds.  Detective O’Connor’s ghost abilities also allow him to view psychic imprints of memories left by certain people, or relive his own memories.

            “Murdered” is a mix of detective drama, the supernatural, and creepiness set in the city of Salem. With its rich history of the occult, Salem was a great choice to set the events of “Murdered” in. Scattered throughout the town are the wondering spirits who have yet to complete their unfinished business and are doomed to wander around the city until they do. But they aren’t the only ones that haunt the many structures in Salem. “Murdered” has a combat system that involves sneaking up and dispatching demonic spirits that roam the streets, homes, and buildings of Salem. These demonic spirits were once normal ghosts who have been corrupted by their extended stay in the human world. They seek out other ghosts and consume them in hopes of returning to the way they once were.

            “Murdered: Soul Suspect” is an interesting new IP (intellectual property) out of Airtight Games and is sure to get more attention once it nears it’s release date. For fans of the supernatural, I recommend follow this game. It’s slated to haunt your PS3, Xbox 360, and PC in early 2014.


Dying Light

            Dying Light is the newest open-world zombie survival game out of Techland, the developer of the Dead Island series. Dying Light is essentially the game that Dead Island should have been, and it is quite clear that many ideas have been taken and implemented from Dead Island. However, the main thing that sets Dying Light apart from Dead Island is the free-running system and the Day/Night cycles.

            Dead Island was a game all about killing zombies and surviving. Much of that is also true about Dying Light, but the difference is that in Dying Light, running away is often the better option and it is encouraged. Taking a page out of Mirror’s Edge, players can now easily vault over objects in their path, or slide under them depending on the context. The free-running system is something that just fits very well in a zombie survival game and is sure to make the game even more enjoyable than Dead Island.

            But if you do want to fight, you will find various items lying around the ruined city that you can collect and maybe even craft into more effective weapons. But the weapons just don’t seem to be as good as they were in Dead Island. Although despite the sound of it, this is actually a good thing. Rather than being able to swing a bat and knock down three zombies in front of you, Dying Light has a more realistic effective. With blunt weapons you can swing at a single enemy, and if it connects then your weapon will bounce off of the enemy as it would in real life, rather than cleaving through them like a bladed weapon.

            The most interesting aspect of the game, however, comes from the Day/Night cycle. Daytime is the safest part of the day, zombies are easier to see, and well it’s broad daylight. But when night falls, something even scarier than a pack of zombies comes out at night, Volatiles. These are mutated zombies that only come out at night. They are as fast as you, and they can traverse the landscape like you. What’s worse is that if one sees you, they’ll all come for you. Fighting these things are not recommended though. Running is the only option or you will be eaten. And it will not be pretty.

            Dying Light shuffles onto shelves for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, and PC in 2014.


“The Evil Within”

            Shiji Mikami, the creator of “Resident Evil,” has returned to make a survival horror game that is proving to be truly terrifying. “The Evil Within” puts you in the shoes of hardened Detective Sebastian who is knocked unconscious while investigating a grisly mass murder at a mental asylum. He awakes to find himself in what appears to be a meat locker, and strung up by his ankles. What happens next makes him being to start questioning reality.

            The Evil Within is a third-person survival horror game in the vein of “Resident Evil 4″ but with a much more disgusting and downright creepy vibe. At one point during the developer walk-through, Detective Sebastian was being attacked by a swarm of mad men with many sharp objects sticking of them when suddenly his attackers all disappeared in the blink of an eye. Thinking everything was hunky-dory Sebastian walked towards a door at the end of a hallway but before he could get to it, the hallway extended by around twenty feet. To make matters worse, as Sebastian walked towards it the door opened and out came a flood of what appeared to be blood. But as Sebastian was engulfed by the flood the entire area snapped into a clean boiler room hallway that was bathed in sweet sweet light. But of course, when Sebastian got to the end of the hall, he was attacked by a multi-armed woman and right before she landed the killing blow the demo was over.

            Now when it comes to scary movies, I’m rarely even close to being startled by anything that happens on screen. But in video games, it’s much different. In fact, there are videos of me almost crying as I played a scary video game. In any case, The Evil Within looks to be a truly harrowing experience. And it seems as though Shinji Mikami is once again making the kind of game he’s good at. The kind that leaves you sleeping with the light on, if you can bear to keep your eyes closed long enough.

            No pun here, “The Evil Within” comes out for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC in 2014.