Bat­tle-crazed col­leagues and berserk ro­bots in the world’s most hos­tile work en­vi­ron­ment

XBox: The Official Magazine - - START - Ben Grif­fin

Morally murky tech­nol­ogy gi­ant CREO prob­a­bly didn’t en­vis­age its industrial equip­ment be­ing used in deadly melee throw­downs, but it turns out a drill the size of a post­box is quite good for hit­ting peo­ple with. And you’ll need all the tools you can get in this steely sci-fi RPG from the minds be­hind 2014’s Lords Of The Fallen.

It’s all self-de­fence, of course. We, as CREO em­ployee War­ren, wake up groggy in an exo-skele­ton with no idea why our for­mer col­leagues – many of whom are mal­func­tion­ing ma­chines – have gone all mur­dery. A stretch of metal re­bar is our only de­fence against buzzing util­ity drones swoop­ing at us in the con­struc­tion yard. Com­bat’s stamina-based, all about care­fully tim­ing strikes while leav­ing enough green in the me­ter to block and dodge. We dis­patch them and push through to the med­bay.

Here’s where to up­grade weapons, craft new ones and raise your power level. That all re­quires tech scrap, a farmable re­source dropped by en­e­mies who respawn when you die. The next area, lit­tered with hol­low shells of grounded air­planes, is where we get to grips with War­ren’s limb-tar­get­ing abil­ity. You can aim at spe­cific body parts by click­ing the Right Stick then flick­ing it in the rel­e­vant di­rec­tion. Our hu­man op­po­nents aren’t wear­ing hel­mets and we pun­ish them for it with a se­ries of nog­gin smashes. Moves do feel lim­ited, just light and heavy at­tacks on RT and RB, and there are pauses be­tween each slow swing, but we’ll chalk that down to our mea­gre stamina bar (upgrad­able), and be­gin­ner weapon (change­able).

Cut the dope

This is the fun part: to get new equip­ment you lit­er­ally chop it off foes. We tar­get the left arm of one exo-suited dude and in­flict enough dam­age to trig­ger a killing blow where War­ren binds him in an arm lock and vi­ciously sep­a­rates ap­pendage from body. This drops a nasty ser­rated blade called the Vi­bro-Cut­ter. Fur­ther into the game lie hy­draulic jack­ham­mers, im­per­vi­ous pick­axes and a pump-type thing orig­i­nally built to clean haz­ardous waste spills.

Mod­u­lar cus­tomi­sa­tion op­tions, mean­while, give War­ren en­vi­able access to asym­met­ri­cal style. We rock a mas­sive yel­low Rhino paul­dron on the right shoul­der, ac­cented by a chunky Lynx-ar­moured right leg. Okay, so aes­thet­i­cally we’re a lit­tle lop­sided, but get­ting to as­sign gear for the head, chest and limbs of­fers greater pre­ci­sion over de­fence val­ues ver­sus ov­er­en­cum­ber­ance. In other words, look­ing like a leggy bull­dozer in a suit of ad­vanced load-bear­ing ap­pa­ra­tus will make you move like one.

Deeper into the fa­cil­ity’s eerie con­fines we come to a set of thick metal doors con­trolled by a ter­mi­nal de­mand­ing a power level rat­ing of ten to en­ter. These overt gat­ing mech­a­nisms pre­vent you wan­der­ing into a danger­ous area too early, and can also hide se­cret item caches and cheeky short­cuts. We do a quick farm­ing run, bank our tech scrap in the med­bay and rank up. What’s in­side? Six dis­grun­tled work­ers with crack­ling elec­tri­fied staffs in hand. Yeah, we’ll come back later.

In­deed, this in­ter­con­nected world is about tak­ing your time, de­ci­pher­ing at­tack pat­terns and grow­ing stronger bolt by grafted-on bolt un­til you’re pow­er­ful enough to take on an an­gry ex­ca­va­tor. A bad day at work for War­ren; a good day for you.

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