The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
Instagram

Guildhall Game Corner

Video games to watch for in 2005

After the hype of last year’s big-name releases (Halo 2, Half-Life 2, Doom 3, etc.), along with the surprise hit of Katamari Damacy (Playstation 2), what could this year possibly hold for the gaming community?

Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict (Epic, Xbox)

Over the past few years, the Unreal franchise has been immensely popular – Unreal and Unreal 2 for the single player, and all the iterations of multiplayer Unreal Tournament. However, much of the Unreal frenzy has been located on the PC platform, restricting the available audience. This begins to change with Unreal Championship 2 (UC2).

Many people are familiar with the Unreal style of play (first-person perspective, shoot anything that moves), and this is where UC2 begins to differentiate itself from previous versions. The game is a mixture of first-person and third-person (over the shoulder) viewpoints, combined with an almost fighting-game styling; you control characters who have “special moves” (such as self-healing or super-speed) and a set arsenal of weapons. This means that you can really learn a character and how it plays, you can develop a fighting style that is all your own.

For those people who like to duke it out, a Skaarj equipped with melee claws allows you to go toe-to-toe with opponents; for those who like to dodge and hide, other characters are equipped with rocket launchers or sniper rifles. Ammunition is handled differently than in existing games — you can pick up “explosive ammunition” that feeds whichever explosive weapon you are carrying.

Great features from other games also make an appearance in UC2, from Unreal’s double-jump move (allowing you to reach high places) to Prince of Persia’s wall-running move.

Set to be released in March, this could be the next generation of Epic’s successes and spawn a new iteration on a somewhat tired and clichéd genre.

Kessen III (Koei, PS2)

One of last year’s successful games was Rome: Total War, combining elements of the board game Risk with elements of real-time strategy gameplay. Kessen builds on this idea while simplifying and removing some of the issues Rome had.

You play Nobunaga, a soldier in feudal Japan, and you control him through a series of scenarios. You have an immense amount of control over every single member of your army, directing individual soldiers or entire legions with a simple point-and-click interface. Every unit is customizable (the soldiers have about 450 types of weapons and equipment to choose from), and every unit has a Primary and Secondary officer you can command in various ways.

Although this sounds very complex and quite intimidating at first, there are 13 chapters and over 50 battles to complete (as well as various training missions) and you can develop your own tactics, your own style of play, to complete the game. Kessen III looks as though it will be very enjoyable to play, with beautiful real-time interaction and control. This one is on my “buy” list.

Resident Evil 4 (Capcom, GameCube)

Although just released in January 2005, this could be one of the long-lasting hits for Capcom. The GameCube console has suffered from a lack of really gripping and exciting titles since its release (although this is slowly changing), and RE4 could well be the title to kick start the console into the mainstream.

Previous incarnations of the Resident Evil series have placed you (as the protagonist) fighting hordes of zombies and the feared Umbrella Corporation. RE4 veers away from this theme, instead pitting you against crazed villagers and deadly monsters. The game starts with you playing Leon Kennedy, sent to rescue the president’s kidnapped daughter. A fairly standard (and some might say, a fairly boring) storyline.

But where the game really starts to shine is in the graphics, the environments that the player passes through during the game. There are environmental effects galore here — real-time mist, rain, all manner of weather effects. Previous Resident Evil games have used static backgrounds that the player couldn’t interact with in any way; this has been changed for RE4, with the player entering a fully-interactive 3D world. You are able to enter buildings, break open crates (although you should be careful as there may be snakes lurking inside), vault over railings, climb walls, jump through windows, even fight hand-to-hand.

Capcom has outdone itself with the animations used in RE4, everything feels realistic and smooth. The game features Resident Evil’s almost-obligatory cut scenes but in RE4 they actually make sense, propelling the player through the storyline and pulling the player deeper into the game. An extensive reward system is available with a huge amount of unlockable content, further adding to replay value.

Removing the Umbrella Corporation was initially seen as a bad idea, many thought that Capcom would be removing the essence of the game — not so. RE4 has reinvented a tried-and-successful genre in innovative ways; it is an incredible game, with gorgeous graphics and superb gameplay, and it is easily the best ever in the Resident Evil series of titles. It may even beat Silent Hill’s latest incarnation (The Room) — but only just.

The Guildhall at SMU is an intense 18-month certificate program in digital game development. The curriculum was designed by expert teachers working with leaders in the gaming industry to provide students with a solid foundation in game development. For more information, visit http://guildhall.smu.edu.

More to Discover