If you think about Russia and a few of the things the country is most well-known for, vodka, blini and caviar might come to mind. But do games belong on that list, too? A media preview event at the Russian consulate in San Francisco aimed to help answer that burning question. 1C Co., a major Russian game developer and publisher, showcased a few of its upcoming games at the reception. 1C had plenty to show, with 19 games to be launched between 2010 and 2011. While we can’t share the adult beverages, the traditional Russian food experience or the fuzzy ushankas hats, we can tell you about a few of the games we tried.
Captain Blood is a much-anticipated adventure game by of the swashbuckling variety. As a pirate in this game, you adventure your way through various stages based on the Spanish Main region in the 17th century, and you aren’t going in empty-handed. Swords, guns, knives and old-school incendiary devices are a pirate’s best friend in this game. If that’s not enough firepower for some situations, you can take on masted ships from behind a cannon. Captain Blood will feel familiar to some, if they’ve played games with hordes of attackers swarming on them, and like their combat maneuvers a dose of graceful ferocity that cuts like a hot knife through the butter of their ranks. As agile and creative as the main character is, there’s curiously no jumping allowed. Captain Blood already feels like one of those games in which it’s easy to lose track of time in button-mashing fun, until a blister is already making itself at home on the thumb. Look for this title on the Xbox 360 and PC by Q3 2010.
This visually handsome off-road racing simulation with SUVs and trucks will feature comprehensive vehicle-tuning options, international courses and diverse terrain and environments, including swamps, rocks, sand and more. What really distinguishes this title is its comprehensive physics engine, which affects your truck and the environment. For example, a car can sink its tires in dirt and stones can spit out from under the tires and kick back and do damage to other vehicles behind you. When playing Off-Road Drive, it becomes apparent this game is designed to be enjoyed by the simulation purist. Handling is demanding, and it seems like it’s all too possible for a truck to get jammed, stuck and jimmied into a corner or rut it can’t get out of. At least you have a winch if you run out of all other options! But hey, that’s life — or a simulation of it. Off-Road Drive is scheduled for a Q4 2010 release for the Xbox 360 and PC.
Crossworlds is a massive standalone addition to the fantasy turn-based tactical strategy game King’s Bounty: The Legend, which also adds plenty of new content for King’s Bounty: Armored Princess, another expansion to the series. Two new campaigns are included, as well as new units, spells, abilities, quests, enemies, item sets and seven new quests. The icing on this cake is the game editor for Armored Princess. If you love a polished turn-based strategy game as I do — and especially if you already own King’s Bounty — this is an expansion worth watching. King’s Bounty will be released for PC September 2010.
In the midst of the Cold War in the early 1960s, Soviet forces are maneuvering their chess pieces across a global playing field, and the game series’ lead character, Captain Strogov, is one of those leading pieces in play. Strogov is accompanied by two comrades each with their own skills and abilities, all three of whom can be switched to when needed. Just like in chess, expect to use strategy and subtlety to achieve objectives. Running into situations, like a protected interrogation room, with guns blazing is sure a way to be dropped by prepared enemies. Expect to encounter gameplay objectives as diverse as the environment in which you play, including rescues, assassinations, minigames and more. Death to Spies 3 takes places in theatres in North America, Europe and Cuba. One of the game’s strong points immediately evident is the beautiful, detailed and lush visuals represented by the graphics engine with a tightly focused view of the game’s character in the classic style of many familiar third-person adventure games. With a unique point of view and a polished presentation, Death to Spies 3, as it looks already, has the potential to join other luminary titles in the stealth action/adventure genre. Expect to see Death to Spies 3 available before the end of the year.