Fatal Inertia EX Preview
Koei. What does that name ring in your head? Lots of Japanese games right? Dynasty Warriors, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Kessen, and to some, Gitaroo Man (the game *before* Guitar Hero). But would you ever associate the company with a game that's set to take on WipeOut? Probably not. Well it's best that you start now, because Koei's Fatal Inertia is fast approaching release and it's looking promising. With Koei's new studio in Canada, it looks like Fatal Inertia may be just one of a number of Westernized games to come from the brand.
Think of Fatal Inertia as WipeOut meets Twisted Metal and Need for Speed: Underground. But don't misunderstand, because Fatal Inertia isn't just a simple fusion of those three games, not at all. Fatal Inertia brings to the table something that no racer has done before; offering interaction between the aircraft and the environment. Want to crush an opponent of yours underneath thousands of tons worth of boulder rock? You can do it! Each environment in the game has its special purpose to aid you in attacking an opponent one way or another. The physics engine behind this work is powered by the third generation Unreal Engine, which allows for the execution to be quite robust, as you can imagine.
Additionally, physics properties don't end there. Even utilization of the game's weapons includes physics, too. Magnets are one of the prime offense items you'll be using during a race, but what makes their use unique is their placement on an opposing aircraft. If you shoot a magnet and it strikes the right wing of the craft, not only will the craft now begin to veer off to the right because of the added weight, but the magnet will also attract crafts that are flying too close to the struck opponent. Handling characteristics will be directly affected by the placement of a magnet and this will add quite a bit of strategy to the gameplay.
Including the Magnets, there are a total of 8 offensive/defensive items that can be picked up during a race, all with their unique traits. One of the cooler pickups is a smoke screen that you can exhaust out from the rear of your craft. Clearly the use of the screen would be ideal right before a sharp turn so as to blind your rival and send him crashing. The Time Dilator is a pick-up that slows time for everyone, but you, allowing you to gain momentum in the race. The EMP pick-up cripples the hovering capabilities of a ship, rendering it immobile briefly until the effect wears off. Then of course you have your sort of status quo pick-ups like the shield, a rocket and the Force Blast. Though the twist with the force blast is that not only does it give you boost, but the blast-wave also pushes back any rival trailing behind you. And although not a pick-up, the aircrafts feature a grapple-hook that can be used in a variety of ways, such as: 1) Takeing a sharp turn and 2) To attach to a rival and bring him down.
While it's not certain how many aircrafts are present in Fatal Inertia, the game will feature customization options that'll allow the gamer to completely overhaul the look of their preferred aircraft. Think Need for Speed: Underground and you've got the right idea. You'll be free to change everything from the fascia, the rear, sides/wings, add a spoiler, and so on. Likewise, performance tinkering should also find its way into the game.
Fatal Inertia was originally supposed to be a launch title but has since been pushed back to a February 14th release date. So far things are looking very promising, as Fatal Inertia has become quite the anticipated title. A lot of weight is riding on the game's shoulders -- and the weight only gets heavier as Fatal Inertia is also one of the prettiest PS3 games awaiting release. Let's hope that the gameplay can match the visuals.
1/6/2007 Arnold Katayev