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Procedural Cyberpunk CorpWars: Hollowpoint

1-4 player co-op

Hollowpoint is a cooperative shooter (supporting solo play or up to 4 teamchums) set in a future where everything has gone horribly wrong. First there's life extension. That sounds like a good thing but it's only for the rich. Throw AI and advanced robotics into the mix, and the poor end up with no jobs, no security and lives that are nastier, more brutish and shorter than ever (relatively speaking). Then there's a big old war, a bunch of smaller civil wars, a whole load of destructive storms and - BAM! Megacorps rule the world. Tale as old as time.

You'll build a team of operatives who work for those Megacorps, performing dynamic missions in procedurally generated levels. Control is third person on a 2d plane, shooting into the screen. There's a story trailer below, with some in-game footage at the end.

The developers are Dundee-based Ruffian Games, made up of former Realtime Worlds staff. You may remember Realtime for APB and the rather lovely Crackdown. Ruffian were responsible for Crackdown 2 and Hollowpoint will be their first original release.

I saw it in action at the Paradox Convention earlier this year (Paradox are publishing) but decided to hold off saying too much until I'd had a chance to play it for myself. While I'm still waiting for a hands-on opportunity, seeing this new trailer spurred me into writing, mostly because the video doesn't really capture the game's appeal. I'm not having a pop at the video, let's be clear, but it's a voiceover and some fabulous pictures of destruction and future-cities.

What I saw of the game reminded me of the action in Shadow Complex. The players can use cover at the front of the screen but every area has depth that they can't move into - that's where the enemies live. They'll use cover and have various forms of attack. They come in different shapes and sizes as well, from regular footsoldiers to mech-like menaces.

Levels are stitched together from a huge number of pre-built rooms and missions are randomised to an extent. You might have to move through a series of rooms to collect something, mapping the area as you go, or be asked to kill a specific number of a certain enemy type. Success translates into experience and skill points that can be used to enhance your operatives experience and skillsets. Ruffian reckon there's plenty of scope for long-term progression - there are no classes so there's room for experimentation but it will be best to specialise.

And that's where the co-op comes in. While you can play alone, switching between operatives to access their weaponry and abilities, the difficulty will increase as you go. Eventually, it'll be tough to continue without human allies. The game's coming to PC (Steam only as far as I know) and PS4, and while I'm not sure if there'll be any cross-platform play, you'll be able to team up with people online rather than piling them around your monitor. What I saw of Hollowpoint made it seem well-suited to local play since its levels appear to be short bursts, but it should be easy enough to play with strangers since minimal communication is required.

I don't expect it to set the world alight but it's definitely possible to make a squad of garishly attired cybermercs with preposterously large rocket launchers and neon pink rifles. That might be enough.

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