By Nathan Grayson on January 11th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.
Won’t somebody think of the children? That’s a pretty big social problem, I think: we’re always underestimating them and their grubby little minds. And then, before we know it, boom, the American Revolution happens. That’s the way Children of Liberty tells it anyway, by way of absolutely gorgeous-looking 2D/3D stealth, no less. Or at least, that’s the plan. There’s a free alpha demo up on Latana’s site right now, you see, and it, well, leaves a fair amount to be desired. But apparently, change is afoot.
On paper, Children of Liberty’s actually quite promising. The look is extremely unique and attractive, there’s apparently quite a lot of historical research involved, and switching between four different kids should (in theory) offer a decent amount of variety. Right now, though, ‘Murica of the Ninja this ain’t. What I played of the alpha demo was mostly kludgy platforming and very occasional, extremely unclear stealth. But, if nothing else, the team at Latana’s quite aware of its vertically challenged opus’ shortcomings.
“The biggest comment we got from last year’s PAX East was that the stealth did not feel prominent enough. In order to fix this, we have made enemies more deadly not just in terms of their attack power, but also in terms of how aware they are to your presence. You can now see their vision cones, which change color depending on their attitude (neutral [white], startled [yellow], or angry [red]). They are not only aware of you, but also of other enemies, and will wake them up if they see they’ve been knocked out (you can indeed use downed enemies to lure other enemies to you for a second takedown and, yes, it feels awesome).”
Also in the pipeline: takedowns that leverage shifts between 2D and 3D, dashes that help you keep out of sight, and a new UI. So there’s hope for this one yet, though it’s still got quite a ways to go.
My fingers are, however, crossed in a skull-crushing vice-like grip of hope. I wasn’t entirely kidding about the Mark of the Ninja thing, either. Klei proved that stealth can be bonkers incredible in 2D, and I really hope more developers try skulking around in its shadow. That’s not to say I want carbon copies, and Children of Liberty’s obviously multiple time periods, continents, and dimensions away from being one. But still, I like it when people do neat things with stealth. Here’s hoping this one manages to keep that torch aloft.