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Are you going to buy an Xbox One X This Holiday Season?

Hope to Receive it as a Gift

Game Profile
Metro 3D
Zetha gameZ
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1-4
Not Rated
 Written by Alex Fitzgerald  on October 07, 2003

First Impressions: Another potential title to become part of your GameZ collection.

All right children, let's play a quick round of Name That Game. This title was originally a Dreamcast title, but then was slated to come out on next generation systems. The game was a futuristic title, using artwork that was very reminiscent of the movie Tron. The game's title also ended with a Z.

If you guessed Rez, you're wrong. The game I was looking for here is the new title known as Dronez. The game, which was announced for the Dreamcast four years ago, has had an interesting history. After coming out on the PC quietly Zetha GameZ has made plans to release the title for the Xbox with a slew of new features. At this time, preview builds of the game are looking solid, all though there is still quite a few things to clean up and fix before the game's release.

The game's premise is like a bleaker .hack. In the future, society has begun to mirror the sick worlds that Ray Bradbury conveyed in Fahrenheit 451. All has been lost to an abundance of neglect, greed, pollution, and crime. In order to escape this troubling reality, people plug into a virtual world known as V-Space. All is well until system programs start keeping people from disconnecting, thus trapping them in V-Space. In the game you will play as several characters, some caught in the virtual reality, some still outside of it, but all wanting to see the system fall (you can almost hear Rage Against The Machine playing can't you?)

One of the characteristics that stands out in DroneZ is the game's art style. Taking obvious nods from the movie Tron, Dronez portrays a retro-futuristic world that is as large as it is foreboding. To keep the futuristic illusion going, DroneZ developers have made sure that there is never enough action to cause the framerate to stutter, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.

Of course, graphics are just toppings, and as with all game's the main dish is the game's gameplay. Using a mixture of puzzles and action that many adventure games have used before, DroneZ has you going through 17 levels doing everything you can to bring the system down that surrounds you.

The combat system is interesting, even if it isn't really anything original. While you have the basic attacks to aid you in getting past the enemy, you also have another weapon known as ZNRG. ZNRG is a form of data within the virtual world that can be used as a weapon and a shield. Though this gives the battle system some originality, as aiming spraying data is certainly interesting, the targeting reticule can be hard to maneuver when battles get really fierce, which may prove to be a serious problem when the game is released.

The game's puzzles are also pretty traditional, even if they are set in a futuristic setting. Throughout each one of the game's levels you will come in contact with a bevy of switches, buttons, and levers that will need to be manipulated in a precise way in order to get you past the countless barriers the game will throw in front of you.

Beyond the story mode, you can also engage in DroneZ other modes. There are several multiplayer events you can partake in, all though the two main ones (known as Sumo and Race) are more reminiscent to games you would play on a party game than a futuristic action adventure title. There is also an Xbox Live Deathmatch mode being added to the game for the port, all though it's going to probably have a hard time standing up to the Return To Castle Wolfensteins and Unreal Tournaments of the world. There is also a Time Attack mode that players can engage in, where you'll have to clear levels in a certain amount of time (a definite treat for the hardcore).

Final Thoughts
From what's been seen so far it's hard to tell how DroneZ is going to end up. Though the game contains some solid conventions, the lack of variety really plagued the PC version of the title, and chances are an online Deathmatch mode will do little to change that. Still, Dronez still has time before it's released, so there is still hope for this promising title to be totally realized.

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