Capcom was on hand at Microsoft’s Games for Windows event to let the press get their hands on a playable demo of Bionic Commando running on the PC. The game will carry the Games for Windows label and as such, supports the Xbox 360 controller. I recommend using this to play the game if you are planning on the PC version.
The demo contained small pieces of a few levels and was designed to show off a few features of the game.
Hit the jump for my hands-on impressions of Bionic Commando from Capcom.
The Grappling Hook
Grappling hooks have always been a great gaming feature back from the days of Quake 2 CTF and you better believe it’s the major focus of Bionic Commando. Does it work?
This is one of those games where the mechanics are so good it’s a blast to just play around in the engine. It’s the same type of thrill that comes from Half-Life 2’s Gravity Gun or driving the Warthog in Halo. Swinging around in Bionic Commando is pure fun.
There are multiple pathways through the levels and the swinging can get pretty intense. There were several levels where falling means death. Swinging from a branch in a jungle and releasing into the air gets intense when you frantically search for the next branch as you plummet toward the water.
The grappling hook also yields some pretty unique and interesting level design. The game is very vertical and features some diverse environments. You’ll move from the roads of a bombed out city, to the rooftops, to a lush jungle… and that’s just what they’ve shown so far.
Okay… so the main feature of the game is great. What about the rest of the game?
The combat is crisp, fun, and presents a lot of options for dispatching enemies to the player. Gunplay is great and a quick click of the right thumbstick will zoom the crosshairs for Resident Evil 4 style aiming. It removes a lot of your mobility and cannot be used while grappling, but that just adds to the gameplay. Do you swing to safety while spraying bullets at your enemies or do you stand your ground and go for the carefully aimed headshot?
Or do you latch onto the enemy with your grappling hook? Do you then rocket yourself toward him for a two-footed kick or do you retract your arm and bring him to you? The latter will let you use the foe as a human shield and makes you feel badass.
Another great ability that opens up more options is kicking objects into the air. After the object is launched you can follow it into the air with a jump and spike it toward unsuspecting enemies. You will also be able to latch onto it with your grappling hook and follow it to its destination. This can also be done to enemy corpses… awesome.
I was able to test out the pistol, assault rifle, rocket launcher, shotgun, and grenades. The pistol and rifle perform like standard game guns. Nothing major to discuss with them. They feel good firing, but it’s important to note that the guns do not require reloading.
The rocket launcher will lock onto multiple targets while the fire button is held, which then deploy when the button is released. They will seek targets in all directions, which is very useful for tagging targets while swinging around.
The shotgun is powerful, brutal, and really fun to use, especially while swinging. My favorite combo was latching onto someone, rocketing toward them at high speed, but releasing before the kick only the replace my boots with a blast from the shotty.
Grenades can be thrown a very long distance and have a good-sized delay before exploding. They can be shot for a manual detonation, however.
Bionic Commando is definitely fun to play. There’s no denying that. The mechanics of the grappling and swinging are tight and satisfying. What remains to be seen is if Capcom can add a good story to go along with the gameplay. The addition of 10-player multiplayer is just the icing on this swinging cake.
I cannot wait to get my hands on the full version of Bionic Commando later this Holiday season. Capcom will be showing off new levels and bosses at E3 2008, so be sure to tune in to all of our coverage.
Feel free to ask any questions and I'll do my best to answer them.
X-Play's All Access: Bionic Commando