27/06 – 03/07/11

 

 

Backbreaker Vengeance

Whereas most rational people would eagerly avoid head-butting another human being at high-speed, Backbreaker starred grown men who liked nothing more than disregarding their own physical wellbeing and doing just that. It was a game in tune with those high-school days when someone would shout “bundle!” on the field and two dozen seemingly intelligent people proceeded to hurl themselves on top of one poor, unsuspecting idiot. Ten minutes later the paramedics were lifting Jimmy’s crumpled corpse into an ambulance and everyone was asking: “who’s stupid idea was that?”

Anyway Backbreaker first appeared a year or so back as a retail release in Europe, which made about as much sense as taunting hungry bears with a blow-up hammer doused in human blood. It flopped, unsurprisingly, but buried beneath all the boring American Football stuff was a game mode named Tackle Alley. In Tackle Alley you began at one end of an American Football pitch and had to make your way to the other, avoiding tackles, obstacles and showboating along the way. It was a score attack mode and possibly the best score attack game since, I don’t know, Geometry Wars.

Having finally realised that Tackle Alley lended itself 100% perfectly to the digital marketplace, this week saw 505 Games’ Backbreaker: Vengeance rock up on XBLA and PSN at the stupid, stupid price of 1200 points. Again, no one seems to give a shit because a game that, from the outside at least, appears to champion American Football has limited appeal in the land of soccer-ball.

Which is criminal because as this trailer so aptly demonstrates, Tackle Alley is bona fide brilliance and has very little to do with the rules and actual game part of American Football. It owes its excellence almost entirely to the Euphoria Engine which manages to capture every tackle like it’s the end of the world. It’s hilarious, and dodging these tackles is oddly poetic, but I’ll let the trailer do the talking. Remember: nothing to do with American Football, everything to do with people hurting themselves.

 

Rage

This is more of a developer’s diary than a trailer and by developer’s diary I mean bumper trumpet blowing session. But when you’re directly accountable for pioneering the first person shooter genre through titles like the cult-classic DOOM, indie-hit Wolfenstein and semi-popular multiplayer franchise Quake, you’ve probably earned yourself the right to 5 minutes of telling the world how great you are.

I haven’t included this Rage trailer for a light-speed lesson in self-fellating though. In between id’s figureheads chatting about the pedigree of the company is a boatload of footage for Rage and boy, it looks impressive. Expansive outdoor environments that don’t suffer from Borderland’s empty-space syndrome, festering apocalyptic ruins and enough mutilations to make Robocop squeamish. Later on Carmack and co. begin championing the id Tech 5.0 powering all this which, you know, is mighty impressive (Rage itself looks the puzzlingly attractive child of Fallout and Borderlands), but little is mentioned regarding the actual playing part.

As for the game part then, it seems fairly orthodox. Even masked beneath those ridiculously detailed floors and individually crafted grains of sand it looks a whole lot like Borderlands in photo-realistic mode (the opening line of the trailer doesn’t exactly throw water on that notion). With id Software in the driver’s seat there’s almost no doubt that the shooting will be grand but ideally that shooting will have some backbone.

I like the music best, but I’m a sucker for twangy guitars.

 

Journey

Again, not a trailer, but in the post-E3 climate there’s really not that much going on. You’ll also have to depart from these shores to view it as I can’t embed Kotaku’s precious videos.

The video documents 6 and a half minutes of multiplayer beta footage from ThatGameCompany’s upcoming Journey. Those familiar with either flOw or Flower won’t be shocked to hear that Journey follows faithfully in the company’s renowned style of thoughtfully poetic, meandering and lonely games. No skull-shattering bullets to the temple, MVP awards or in-your-face AC-130s here then but the footage gives absolutely no indication of how the multiplayer’s going to work. Maybe that’s the point.

You’ll either love it for its pensiveness or hate it for it but one thing you can’t deny is Stephen Totilo’s assertion that this is one ravishing game. It’s stunning but as with all ThatGameCompany’s mesmerising games, it’s the soundtrack that gets me.

To view the 6 minutes of Journey footage you’ll have to travel here. It’s worth it. Enjoy.

 

You can view all previous The Week in Trailers features by clicking on the features bar at the top of this page and navigating to the conveniently titled “The Week in Trailers” menu. 

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