Occasionally I see some concept art for a game’s urban environment and get excited by its dramatic architecture and vibrant colours. Inevitably I see an actual screenshot for the game shortly thereafter and am immediately disappointed by the failure to translate that concept art into the actual game. I have no idea whether Tokyo 42 [official site] ever had concept art, but if it did I wonder if it was drab and plain and boring. Maybe that would explain why the game’s implementation of a city has ended up so vibrant and creatively designed.
There’s a new trailer for the isometric shooter below which walks and talks through the different ways you can approach the game’s combat.
The trailer shows two primary modes of approach: stealth and all-out attack. In the former you can sneak a bit, use melee attacks to quietly dispatch foes, and change your appearance in order to lose any heat you attract by accident. In the latter you can use your arsenal of machineguns, rocket launchers, sniper rifles and grenades to simply blow apart your enemies, causing the milling population of harmless NPCs to flee. You can mix and match approaches and in either case you’ll have to think about positioning and sight lines if you’re going to survive for long.
It looks… OK. As interesting as the art style is, I’ve yet to see anything as imaginative or satisfying in terms of what you can do. The perspective puts you at such a large remove from the action that the weaponry seems to lack impact, and while the same perspective gives you a view of a large area and a lot of crowds, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of ways to manipulate the environment or those crowds towards interesting outcomes. Compare and contrast with Heat Signature, which is similarly about the murder of tiny men but gives you options such as teleportation, slow motion, destructible ships and smashable windows that suck everything into the vacuum of space.
Tokyo 42 is due for release this year, is being developed by SMAC Games and published by Frozen Synapse developer Mode 7, and may yet prove to be more interesting or satisfying than it appears. These are just my feelings based on the trailers I’ve seen. And either way: look at that art!