Hands On: Megaton Rainfall

Blowing shit up is a lot of fun. It’s an enormous amount of fun, in fact, which makes it strange that it’s so rarely offered in gaming. Destructible environments must be a royal pain in the arse for so many not to include them, meaning we need to hark back to the Red Faction series to remember the last time it was properly enjoyable. Step forward Megaton Rainfall [official site], which offers literally worlds filled with cities to damage. All in the name of thwarting an alien attack, obviously. I’ve had a play, and can confirm it’s looking like something pretty special.

You’re a superhero. That’s not just a little motivational speech for you, but also the case in the game – a flying hero who is attempting to prevent an alien invasion of Earth by blasting extra-terrestrial gubbins out of the sky. But your blasting powers are pretty darned strong, and miss anything and you’ll spectacularly rip chunks out the side of skyscrapers, demolish sections of road, and send pedestrians screaming in terror. Tee hee.

The demo I played was running on Oculus Rift, so it was hard to get a good impression of the true fidelity on offer in the game. But even in the fuzzy, laggy nonsense of primitive VR, it was genuinely surprising to note that this vast city in which I flew offered minute details of individual (albeit simple, blocky) cars on the roads, a sense of a moving, living urbania.

The game started with my floating above the Earth’s atmosphere, and developer Alfonso del Cerro assured me it was possible to fly to anywhere on the planet to find cities and missions. A huge claim. We’ll see. In this build, however, a UFO was causing trouble in one particular location, so it was to there I descended, to begin my dubious heroics.

The UFO released a series of attacks; smaller ships, peculiar bomb things, and an enormous laser canon creation that required meticulous attacks to remove, before taking on the massive mothership itself. Cause or allow too much destruction and you’d be restarted at the beginning of the most recent wave. Win and be rewarded with more to blow up.

Enemies have weak points that need to be targeted, which means mastering the flying controls – something that wasn’t too simple in 3D VR-o-vision. Targeting was done by looking, but movement required both analogues on a 360 pad, which didn’t lead to a comfortable play. I’m pretty sure that a good-old-fashioned flat screen would serve Megaton a lot more favourably.

The potential for this, when let loose of a tech demo and into a mission-driven, world conquering hero-fest, is so enormous. The tech on display is already extraordinary, buildings splintering and rupturing in glorious bursts, alien vessels feeling powerful and threatening.

And yet, it might be far more than world-conquering. del Cerro explained that he intends for players to be able to fly away from Earth and go and deal with missions and sidequests taking place on other planets in the solar system. Goodness. If he can genuinely achieve this scale, then what a thing this could be.

Very early to make any solid calls, but it’s already a lot of fun to muck around in. My hope is that it can become a little more lenient in the destruction it allows, perhaps incorporating some sort of measure of your heroics as a result of the harm you do or don’t cause, rather than putting in resets when you over-step the limits. Because why implement such excellent shit-up-blowing if you’re not going to let people revel in it? As my grandmother always said.

Megaton Rainfall has no fixed released date at this point, but will hopefully appear some time next year.

From this site

16 Comments

  1. zeep says:

    The destruction looks very nice! Seeing those tall buildings collapse into each other made me smile :)

  2. Napalm Sushi says:

    Hm… as you touch on in that last paragraph, I still find it really weird that this game’s central selling point is something you’re tasked with preventing. Did you not find yourself wishing for a mode in which your character is less Superman, more Zod?

    • Urthman says:

      I like the idea of a game where failure is more entertaining and rewarding than success. Tune the difficulty so you’ll probably have to try several times to defeat an alien attack, but have every failure be a different, amazing display of aliens blowing up the city. Tune it so you’ll probably be able to win before you get tired of watching the aliens win. Winning lets you move on to a new stage with new destruction.

      • DelrueOfDetroit says:

        But then you can wind up in Burnout territory where the frustration of failure makes you resent the nifty physics tricks on display.

  3. MrStones says:

    What’s that old saying?

    When the only tool you have is superpowers, everything starts to look like a satellite :P

  4. PoulWrist says:

    So Michael Bay; the game?

  5. AbsoluteShower says:

    The BF:Bad Company series had great destruction too, it’s a shame it got neutered by BF3

  6. harley9699 says:

    “…more lenient in the destruction it allows, perhaps incorporating some sort of measure of your heroics as a result of the harm you do or don’t cause, rather than putting in resets when you over-step the limits. ”

    This. Having to restart each time you go over the damage ‘limit’ would be an instant turnoff (probably uninstall after a few times) for me. Needs to be more of a ratings system or something. Plus, obviously the ability to replay that part if you want a better grade/score/medal/promotion, whatever you gain from beating that particular part. Or, replay it because you just want to. Other than the restrictions, the game looks cool indeed.

  7. harley9699 says:

    Maybe your score/grade should be based on how much survived—how much stuff wasn’t blown up.

    • April March says:

      Fail enough and you start to switch from Golden Era comics to 90’s grimdark comics. The ultimate mark of your incompetence will be your character growing a mullet.

  8. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Well at least we have a game engine should they ever decide to make an Invincible game.

    One can hope right?

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  10. Asurmen says:

    Could you explain why the targeting and movement didn’t work together with VR in more detail?