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A Single-Player/Multiplayer Hybrid - Mindjack Preview
One of the most intriguing titles at the Square Enix booth at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo was Mindjack. The game is something of a hybrid single-player/multiplayer third-person shooter. As you play through the game’s campaign, you can allow other players to join in for some online multiplayer action. It’s an undoubtedly different and interesting premise, and although the controls and mechanics were a bit finicky when I played the demo at E3, developer FeelPlus has confirmed that the game plays a lot better now that it’s closing in on its launch.
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It Is the Year 2031
Minjack takes place in the year 2031. Technology has reached a massive milestone, and non-government groups have decided to use these advancements for their own questionable acts. You play as Jim Corbin, a federal agent who’s in charge of protecting a woman by the name of Rebecca Weiss. An organization known as the NERKAS is your main threat, and it is your job to survive this group’s onslaught.
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Previously, NERKAS had created a headset that could be used to turn on TVs, microwave ovens, and other such electronic devices with nothing more than a single thought. This technology quickly fell into the wrong hands and was then being used to take control of people’s minds. Luckily, Jim can use this technology to his advantage and literally take over anyone on the map as he battles his enemies (similarly to Driver: San Francisco).
Hacking into someone’s mind is as easy as pressing down on both analog sticks. After doing this you float around the map and search for people, robots, or apes to hack into. This adds an intriguing depth to the game, and jumping from body to body is a key element in succeeding in the game. You can also turn other characters into allies. By slave hacking, you can make up to three characters fight by your side.
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Shooting Gameplay and Earning Experience
Hacking aside, Mindjack is a futuristic third-person shooter at its core. Like Gears of War before it, Mindjack requires you to take on large groups of enemies that will fire at you and throw projectiles at you in order to impede your progress. Enemies are ridiculously strong, and they require a lot of hits in order to go down. This can be troublesome, but if you strategically hack from person to person, disposing of your foes should make for a very entertaining time.
One of the game’s more tedious aspects during my demo session was its cover system. While other shooters have taken full advantage of this mechanic, it wasn’t always effective during my time with Mindjack. If FeelPlus was able to fine-tune it in time for the game’s January launch, though, it shouldn’t pose much of a problem.
As you progress through your adventure you gain experience points. This experience can be used to enhance arts, or special abilities that serve a number of different purposes. Arts range from increasing your health to allowing easier access to your hosts’ bodies. It’s an easy-to-grasp element, and one that should be used to its full potential by serious players.
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It would be impossible to talk about Mindjack without bringing up the game’s multiplayer component. One of the things that makes this title unique is it fusion of offline and online modes, something that is also being seen in Test Drive Unlimited 2. The game is split up into 15 levels, and while you can take on the entire campaign on your own, the game is really all about the multiplayer. You can jump into another player’s game at any moment and either aid them in their adventure by joining up with them or impair their progression by taking arms against them.
Two teams of three players take on one another in Mindjack’s multiplayer mode. As previously stated, you can complete the game’s 10-hour campaign on your own, but FeelPlus is really promoting the multiplayer aspect of Mindjack. If you’d much rather take on the entire story mode by playing with others, you can do that, and according to the developers, that’s the best way to play this game.
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Mindjack Preview - Hack Some Minds in January 2011
Mindjack’s release is right around the corner. Though the controls and cover mechanics were a bit clunky at E3, the package as a whole showed a lot of potential. If you’re interested in this game’s hybrid gameplay, you won’t need to wait much longer. Mindjack is coming to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on January 18.