The Showdown Effect PAX East 2012 Impressions

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Posted April 7, 2012 - By Jake Gaskill

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The Showdown Effect PAX East 2012 Impressions

Part Shadow Complex, part head-to-head, eight-on-eight multiplayer mayhem, part mash-up of over-the-top 90’s action flicks, The Showdown Effect, from Arrowhead Game Studio and Paradox Interactive, is a 2.5D shooter that puts you in the grizzled shoes of a John McClaine-esque action hero, and your only job is to blast, blowup, and bloody up other players in a competitive multiplayer setting.

While the game supports up to eight players, it was only playable against one other person on the show floor. Still, the matches I played did a fair job of showing off the various acrobatic combat maneuvers at your disposal once the bullets start to fly. Not only can your tiny hero pull off the always appreciated dive and shoot move, he can also grab ledges to pull himself up to higher levels, slide down walls, and even do cartwheels and backflips Matrix-style, to avoid incoming rounds.

The level on display was a multi-floored city setting, compete with a subway running through an underground station on the lowest level to rooftops at the top. Each floor has an elevator that allows you to quick travel between floors and get the jump on your opponent. Rather than showing you where other players are on a mini-map, the game gives you a grey arrow indicator of their position relative to you.

The Showdown Effect PAX East 2012 Impressions

In a cool twist, you won’t be able to actually see them on the map unless you have line of sight on them. Since each floor has doors that can be opened and shut and plenty of barricades to hide behind, this adds a nice of strategy and tension to the standard running and gunning gameplay. There were countless times during my playthrough where both my opponent and myself thought we had the drop on the other one, only to be caught totally by surprise when we reached the other’s location only to find that we couldn’t see them, resulting in our unfortunate death.

While things like taking a rocket to the kisser will ensure a quick and painful death, bullets can also cause bleed out damage over time too. So getting off a few rounds to wound your foe and then hightailing it across the map and letting the poor bastard drain his precious bodily fluids as he tries to track you down becomes a fun mini-game in itself. In addition to a plethora of typical weapons (pistols, machine guns, rocket launchers, etc.), you can also pick up objects in the world like pool cues and bottles to skewer and bludgeon your opponent to your heart’s content.

There were some noticeable issues with aiming and hit detection, with bullets flying well above my reticle, and the gun reloads take a bit longer than they should, but the game is still in its early stages, and isn’t expected to release until later in the year, so there’s plenty of time to tweak before launch.

The Showdown Effect PAX East 2012 Impressions


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