E3: War of the Worlds

E3: War of the Worlds

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Ocean Interactive's 2D-platformer adaptation of H.G. Well's novel is confident in visual design only.

Since the developer couldn't make a sequel to its DSi title Dark Void Zero, it turned to Paramount's film vault and dug for their next project. After fighting for a Barbarella adaptation, the developer settled on its second choice: A recreation of H.G. Well's seminal novel War of the Worlds.

One look at the game and it's immediately apparent that Ocean Interactive is inspired by the 1953 film adaptation, rather than Steven Spielberg's 2005 modern recreation. The game loosely follows the story and events of the 1953 film, but focuses on a new cast and story. 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.

The demo presented two main actions: climbing and waiting. If that sounds incredibly limiting and boring...well, yeah. In disbelief, I sat and watched the demo's driver move a couple feet forward in the game world and wait behind a tank, over and over and over. The idea is that you are hiding from the aliens in the shadows, running when they aren't looking and rolling across the ground when temporarily caught in an alien's spotlights.

Eventually, the player arrived at a giant alien machine he had to climb while evading moving laser. If my heart rate ever got racing during the demo, it was due to anticipation of what I would see later that day. Evading aliens only makes sense for a War of the Worlds game but Ocean Interactive's take on the material holds none of the urgency you'd want. Instead, it is a stealth game where all options are binary and painfully dull. The developer said the player would gain weapons near the end of the game, but it wouldn't suddenly turn into Contra.

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.

We'll have to wait and see if War of the Worlds has more to offer than rolling, climbing and waiting behind tanks, when it hits Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network later this summer.

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See all our coverage directly from the show floor.

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There going with the 1950's version? Well I'm not happy about that. The film was War of the Worlds in name only, I hate that movie. Why not try going with the Jeff Waynes musical version where the Tripods looked like actual tripods and no floating coat hangers (before someone points it out, you I know they're on invisible tripods which were probably done out of technical issues) I'd even settle for the 2005 design which were the closest we've got to the novels design.

That and why can't we just have them try and got with the time period in the novel, you know... set it in Surrey or even London... Ga'h I'm not happy about this. I love the War of the Worlds I just find it insulting to the novel that everyone always takes influence or adapts the 1950's movie.

I'll probably be buying it but I'm not happy about it. I mean.... WHY NOT GO WITH THE TRIPODS!!!? the tripods look scary, you could do quite a lot with that, even the silhouette can look frightening.

Sovvolf:
~Snip~

I was going to reply, but then I read your reply, and saw that it was pretty much how I was going to reply, so I decided to quote you instead.

And erm...

ULLAH!

allistairp:

One look at the game and it's immediately apparent that Ocean Interactive is inspired by the 1953 film adaptation...

This is bad...

allistairp:
...Rather than Steven Spielberg's 2005 modern recreation.

This however is good.

Why can NO ONE make a proper adaptation of this book? Tom Cruise killed all enthusiasm I have for someone actually making a GOOD film of it. All hail Jeff Wayne I say, the only man with TRUE vision for this project!

Sovvolf:
There going with the 1950's version? Well I'm not happy about that. The film was War of the Worlds in name only, I hate that movie. Why not try going with the Jeff Waynes musical version where the Tripods looked like actual tripods and no floating coat hangers (before someone points it out, you I know they're on invisible tripods which were probably done out of technical issues) I'd even settle for the 2005 design which were the closest we've got to the novels design.

That and why can't we just have them try and got with the time period in the novel, you know... set it in Surrey or even London... Ga'h I'm not happy about this. I love the War of the Worlds I just find it insulting to the novel that everyone always takes influence or adapts the 1950's movie.

I'll probably be buying it but I'm not happy about it. I mean.... WHY NOT GO WITH THE TRIPODS!!!? the tripods look scary, you could do quite a lot with that, even the silhouette can look frightening.

You, good sir, are so incredibly right in all aspects! I mean if this isn't the best design EVER then I don't know what is:

image

I mean just LOOK at it! That thing is terrifying.

Proverbial Jon:
image

I mean just LOOK at it! That thing is terrifying.

How did you get this!?!?

I didn't know they had cameras like that back in the 1890's!

And where was the photographer!?!? I made sure that there were no survivors!

As had already be said. As soon as I read "inspired by the 1953 film..." I stopped. What a waste and an insult to such a great story. Perhaps one day someone with intelligence and foresight will make a game of the book.

Proverbial Jon:
I mean if this isn't the best design EVER then I don't know what is:

image

I mean just LOOK at it! That thing is terrifying.

I always preffered the oldschool version myself.
image

HankMan:

I always preffered the oldschool version myself.
image

It looks steampunk for some reason,

I love war of the worlds so it would be nice if this where good.

And yes thi


is way cooler.

Sovvolf:
(snip)

Yeah, pretty much that. Although I'm upset they didn't go with Barbarella ;)

I mean, it's not as if Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds hasn't been done before, well

I'm not going to even dignify Cruise/Spielberg.

HankMan:

I always preffered the oldschool version myself.
image

Noooooooo! Not Steampunk! Anything but Steampunk! It was just a phase! We've had 110 years to get over it!

MartianWarMachine:

Sovvolf:
~Snip~

I was going to reply, but then I read your reply, and saw that it was pretty much how I was going to reply, so I decided to quote you instead.

And erm...

ULLAH!

The six guns we have seen now fired simultaneously
decapitating a fighting machine
The Martion inside the hood was slain
splashed to the four winds
and the body nothing now but an intricate device of metal
went whirling to distruction
As the other monsters advanced people ran away blindly
the artillery man among them
But I jumped into the water and hid until forced up to breathe
Now the guns spoke again
but this time the Heat Ray sent them to oblivion!
(to those who haven't heard the Jeff Wayne musical... imagine those words with Richard Burtons voice in your head and appreciate the awesomeness)

Sovvolf:
There going with the 1950's version? Well I'm not happy about that. The film was War of the Worlds in name only, I hate that movie. Why not try going with the Jeff Waynes musical version where the Tripods looked like actual tripods and no floating coat hangers (before someone points it out, you I know they're on invisible tripods which were probably done out of technical issues) I'd even settle for the 2005 design which were the closest we've got to the novels design.

That and why can't we just have them try and got with the time period in the novel, you know... set it in Surrey or even London... Ga'h I'm not happy about this. I love the War of the Worlds I just find it insulting to the novel that everyone always takes influence or adapts the 1950's movie.

I'll probably be buying it but I'm not happy about it. I mean.... WHY NOT GO WITH THE TRIPODS!!!? the tripods look scary, you could do quite a lot with that, even the silhouette can look frightening.

Proverbial Jon:

allistairp:

One look at the game and it's immediately apparent that Ocean Interactive is inspired by the 1953 film adaptation...

This is bad...

allistairp:
...Rather than Steven Spielberg's 2005 modern recreation.

This however is good.

Why can NO ONE make a proper adaptation of this book? Tom Cruise killed all enthusiasm I have for someone actually making a GOOD film of it. All hail Jeff Wayne I say, the only man with TRUE vision for this project!

What's everyone's beef with the 50's adaptation? It's a great movie!! Yeah it doesn't follow the book very well, but it still makes connections, and those Martian machines, while not technically tripods, were absolutely badass!!

Although, I will agree with Jeff Wayne's musical adaptation > Every other adaptation. A masterpiece if there ever was one.

Double post, please ignore.

Jonny49:

What's everyone's beef with the 50's adaptation? It's a great movie!! Yeah it doesn't follow the book very well, but it still makes connections, and those Martian machines, while not technically tripods, were absolutely badass!!

Although, I will agree with Jeff Wayne's musical adaptation > Every other adaptation. A masterpiece if there ever was one.

Because its about as much of a War of the Worlds adaption as Independence day is. Is the film itself bad? Not really, its a good film for 1950's however as an adaption its extremely poor. They change just about everything from appearance, location, time setting and even game them a shield. Also I'm sure they don't use the black smoke.

When you get down to it there's very few similarities. It follows I think three things from the book, they came in cylinders, they have a heat ray and they die of bacteria. Otherwise...

Whats the beef? I wouldn't have beef if it wasn't for the fact that when people reference war of the worlds they reference the 1950's movie. This apparently according to the news article is an adaptation of the novel... yet its following the movie that had just about nothing to do with the novel.

That and I'm sure a lot of fans (including myself) are always looking forward to hearing about a new War of the Worlds game coming out, we're just really disappointed that they went with this. Its a missed opportunity.

Okay so as a big fan of war of the world this both interests and depresses me... we'll see... we'll see...

Sovvolf:
~Snippidy snip snip~

The little steamer reached the misty horizon, and Carrie was safe.
But the Thunderchild had vanished forever, taking with her Man's last hope of victory.
The leaden sky was lit by green flashes, cylinder following cylinder,
And no-one and nothing was left now to fight them.

The Earth belonged to the Martians.

...

...

...

...

ULLAH!

MartianWarMachine:

HankMan:

I always preffered the oldschool version myself.
image

Noooooooo! Not Steampunk! Anything but Steampunk! It was just a phase! We've had 110 years to get over it!

Honestly the old school version... I always hated. I always thought it just looked really silly. Like a water tower with an eye. Its the eye that kills it too. I couldn't imagine being frightened by that. That being said I've seen much worse designs.

The Jeff Waynes design isn't exactly accurate to the stories description however... it just looks cool. It looks scary and that;s the image that pops into my head when I think of a Martian War Machine, Tripod or War of the Worlds, along with Burtons voice and the Eve of battle soundtrack.

I always had an idea for a War of the World game. Always wanted to play a War of the Worlds game in first person. Like an adventure game, not a shooter. Trying to escape the disasters around you. The explosions, the rubble, the devastation. The reason I'd like it in first person is because, I think it would be really scary to see those things in a first person perspective. Looking up at them. Watching them tower above buildings, watching them burning and destroying buildings in the distance. Standing there as one walks over you, nearly crushing you like an insect under its foot.

It would be an atmospheric experience. True fear, you can't fight them, you can't just pick up a rifle and start shooting at them. Your only option is to run and hide. Just pains me that such a game hasn't been made.

Imagine the sight, your walking over an hill, as you walk over the hill the city in the distance peels into your sight, you emerge at the top and look across to see the martian war machines blasting away. The city covered in fire and smoke, the bright flashes of the heat ray burning away, screams of villagers, cries of doom can be heard even from this distance. The martian war machines howling as they crush, blast and crash through buildings.

You hear the pounding of artillery, cannon fire tears through buildings and take manage to slay a martian, the husk falling and taking out another building. The artillerymen begin to reload their cannons and set them in the sights of the next martian. They fire again in order to judge range however, they've now caught the attention of a second machine which turns them into hash with its heat ray.

That's the kind of thing I'd like to see. That and imagine being at the harbor experiencing the battle between the Thunderchild and the martian.

Sovvolf:

Jonny49:

What's everyone's beef with the 50's adaptation? It's a great movie!! Yeah it doesn't follow the book very well, but it still makes connections, and those Martian machines, while not technically tripods, were absolutely badass!!

Although, I will agree with Jeff Wayne's musical adaptation > Every other adaptation. A masterpiece if there ever was one.

Because its about as much of a War of the Worlds adaption as Independence day is. Is the film itself bad? Not really, its a good film for 1950's however as an adaption its extremely poor. They change just about everything from appearance, location, time setting and even game them a shield. Also I'm sure they don't use the black smoke.

When you get down to it there's very few similarities. It follows I think three things from the book, they came in cylinders, they have a heat ray and they die of bacteria. Otherwise...

Whats the beef? I wouldn't have beef if it wasn't for the fact that when people reference war of the worlds they reference the 1950's movie. This apparently according to the news article is an adaptation of the novel... yet its following the movie that had just about nothing to do with the novel.

That and I'm sure a lot of fans (including myself) are always looking forward to hearing about a new War of the Worlds game coming out, we're just really disappointed that they went with this. Its a missed opportunity.

They did use black smoke, just only near the start if I remember correctly (I read the book when I was about 9 XD)

imnotparanoid:
They did use black smoke, just only near the start if I remember correctly (I read the book when I was about 9 XD)

The movie we talking about here or the book? if its the book, yeah I know Black Smoke is used (as a chemical weapon). However, I wasn't sure if they actually used it in the movie, if your confirming that it was used in the movie. Then thank you very much, wasn't quite sure if it was in there.

I read the book frequently. If you haven't figured out by now, I'm quite the fan :D.

 

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