Welcome to another edition of Gamers.com's "Vendor Visits." Here in the Ziff Davis Game Group offices we have visits from tons of game publishers all throughout the year. They come by showing off the latest builds of their games and give us a preview of what to expect when they are finished and ready to hit the shelves. Read our impressions below.
<b>John Davison, Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine:</b>
Milky hasn't stopped raving about this since he got back from TGS last year. When I saw the screen shots early on I knew it was going to be something special, but now I've seen it in action I'm really pumped for it.
A lot of people are going to go crazy about the whole StarCraft universe thing, but I don't want that to put anyone off. Yes, it does make use of all the cool stuff in the classic PC game - but you don't have to be intimately aware of the Zerg, Protoss and their acoutrements to feel like you're in geek heaven with this thing. Aside from anything else, it's absolutely stunning to look at. Easily on a par with Splinter Cell visually on the Xbox it sports some of the funkiest ambient lighting effects I've ever seen, and there's a real sense of solidity to everything that's incredibly convincing even now. Given that the game is still at least 10 months away from release, I can only imagine that this stuff is going to get better.
The levels that Blizzard showed us gave some indication of the scope of the game and if I had to compare it to other games I'd have to say it gave off a vibe that was part Metroid Prime, part Perfect Dark with a sprinkling of Splinter Cell. Interiors are dark and claustrophobic, while outdoor arenas provide a suitable sense of scale both in terms of just sheer visual "wow" factor, as well as the sense of involvement in the gigantic battles that ensue. Remember that part in Starship Troopers when the bugs are attacking the compound? There's a battle in the demo we saw that gives that kind of vibe, only with Terran Marines fighting off Zerglings as they pound on the walls of a bunker. Awesome stuff, I can't wait. It's coming to all systems - but for me, this is a something the Xbox was made for.
<b>Paul Byrnes, Electronic Gaming Monthly:</b>
Blizzard's first title for next-gen consoles, StarCraft: Ghost, has a lot going for it. Not least among its assets is the rabid anticipation of fans, many of whom still consider StarCraft the gold standard among RTS games even now, years after its release.
From seeing Ghost in action and hearing Bill Roper's comments, it's clear that Blizzard is taking utmost care to faithfully translate StarCraft's rich atmosphere and story into a third-person action title. Every unit from StarCraft will be in Ghost, fighting and dying in 3D in real-time. We had a chance to see hordes of Zerglings being mowed down by Terran Marines in a bunker. We saw a Goliath, a Hydralisk, a gargantuan Ultralisk, and of course Nova, the eponymous Ghost. We saw her call down a nuclear strike, and as you might expect, it was quite a crowd-pleaser. Make no mistake: this is definitely a StarCraft game.
<b>Carrie Shepherd, GameNOW:</b>
Back when StarCraft: Ghost was first announced for consoles, there were cries of horror from the PC folks, fearing that this premier franchise was abandoning them. Instead they should definitely look into buying a console to expand their Starcraft experience. Skeptics' fears will be erased as soon as they get a look at the amount of detail in the 3D world of the Protoss, Zerg, and Terran. The translation from RTS to shooter feels akin to a book coming to life–which I felt most strongly seeing the main character, Nova, face the giant Zerg boss. Yikes.
The gameplay combines speed, stealth, and, of course, an array of deadly weapons and Nova's psionic powers–and you'll be able to do stuff like blast enemies while gripped under a beam, and sneak around while using invisibility power. Blizzard VP Bill Roper says that players will be rewarded for thinking outside the box and trying crazy stuff, which always makes a game more fun. So far, it's looking good.
<b>Evan Shamoon, Xbox Nation:</b>
StarCraft: Ghost looks spectacular. This is perhaps the cleanest transition I have seen a developer make in moving from PC to console games, thanks in no small part to the fine work Nihilistic has done on the game's engine. The entire world created for Ghost looks spectacularly solid; from the main character to the environments that she inhabits, this is already one of the most impressive games I've seen since Halo…and it's got another nine months of development to boot. Expect big things.
<b>Tim Butler, Art Director, Gamers.com:</b>
The overwhelming impression that I had after seeing 10-15 minutes of Ghost being played is the exquisite, nearly unnecessary attention to detail that's been put into the game. Any artist would love to work on a project like this where you'd get to polish your work to the greatest degree possible. It's readily apparent that there was an immense amount of creative love poured into this title, and I'm not just talking about the remarkable graphics. The evidence is everywhere… in the interface, in the sound effects, and in the character design and animation. All of these elements contribute to make the StarCraft world wonderfully rich and cool beyond words. Not surprising, really, for a Blizzard title. I just hope you can play a Zerg in multiplayer! http://www.gamers.com/