War of the Worlds
Ocean Interactive's upcoming War of the Worlds eschews many of the elements of Steven Spielberg's 2005 film of the same name, including both heavy action and color, trading them for a more subdued, stealth-based game. Our own Allistair Pinsof was nonplussed by what he saw.
Read Allistair's full preview of War of the Worlds here. The game will be available this summer on the PSN.
The demo takes place during a London alien invasion, in which the protagonist must hide in the shadows as alien ships annihilate soldiers in the open.
The game has a distinct black & white art direction that will draw immediate comparisons to Limbo. Both games are inspired by classic B&W films: Limbo took inspiration from expressionist films of the 30s, while Ocean Interactive looked toward Hollywood films of the 50s'(War of the Worlds being one of them). Flashes of explosions fill scrolling parallax layers, while waves of fog block sections of the battlefield from time-to-time. The lighting effects are impressive, especially in one scene where the player must climb a large alien machine while a blinding glare sporadically whites-out the screen. The game uses color exclusively for enemy fire and the main character, which helps keep the player's eye on the action.
The animation and characters, however, don't look quite as good as the backdrop. Despite rotoscoping actors for the animation, characters have an odd look to them that doesn't have that Flashback detail or charm. Even the elements of the game that look good are endlessly repeated throughout the demo, making for a mundane presentation despite its ten minute running time. The audio was equally dull and monotonous, putting me into sleep-state. Patrick Stewart's soothing voice over narration didn't help matters, even if it is a good performance.
I don't doubt that Ocean Interactive are pouring their heart into this project. The developer has their head in the right place conceptually , but in execution the game seems sluggish, unpolished and not the least bit fun or original. In its current state, it looks like an iPad game you'd pick up and dismiss after spending a couple minutes with it.