First Impressions: Combining the planning, precision and punishment of the Hitman series with a dash of GTA and a little hint of Shenmue? interesting?
With the launch of the Xbox 360 fast approaching, many consumers are finalizing the list of games that they want to purchase alongside the system on November 22. With 18-20 titles looking like they are the final picks to launch with the console, it is easy to forget that another dozen or so titles will be making their way to store shelves between November 22 and the end of the year. If development stays on target, Namco's Frame City Killer
looks to be one of those ?early launch window? titles.
Set in the year 2047, you will assume the role of Crow, a sunglasses-wearing hitman who has to infiltrate Frame City in order to take out a drug-dealing kingpin named Khan. In this near-future setting (think Blade Runner crossed with the Matrix), Crow has to work his way up the hierarchy of scum in the city by taking out lowly thugs, mid-level bosses, and big-time leaders. Linking this network of evildoers is the new drug Visual Acid, which has permeated the streets of Frame City.
The aforementioned Hitman
seems to have inspired this game a great deal, as you will be encouraged to ?case? your targets before you kill them. Mapping out what your target does in a day is meant to serve as part of the gameplay; you'll be able to keep tabs on his/her activities and then decide when and how you want to make the hit. You'll be able to tackle a mark in a variety of ways, both in how you approach the killing and how you actually go through with it. Some ways that you may take out your target include: bombing their home or cars, sniping them from afar, taking them out with up-close-and-personal melee combat, and even hit-and-run tactics with many vehicles within Frame City.
-like aspects of this game come from its large city environment that let you have a great deal of freedom before, during, and after your hits. You'll be able to go to various locations throughout the city when gathering information or finding weapons, and you'll be able to do so in many different vehicles. Namco hasn't spoken explicitly about any side missions, but it seems safe to assume supplementary tasks will be available for Crow to undertake (especially with such a large city environment).
appears to have inspired Frame City Killer
in several ways including its J-Pop soundtrack, graphical style, information-gathering tasks, use of day and night, and the dash of kung fu that appears to have been throw in for good measure. Crow makes his way through Frame City much like how Ryo Hazuki traversed his Japanese hometown. Crow will have to do a lot of information gathering and intimidation ? much like Ryo ? and it will play out differently based on what time of day it is. The melee fighting actually looks quite a bit like the kung fu elements of Shenmue
, but with some added visual flair and bullet-time effects.
The characters and city environments look reasonably next-gen at this stage, but nothing particularly sets itself apart from the pack in any meaningful way. As said, the Shenmue
art style is in effect, as you'll see grand city buildings and exaggerated characters who populate them. Many of the locations use neon lighting for signage or giant video billboards for advertising, and you will also see a great deal of people walking about the streets. To make all of this detail come to life, Frame City Killer
will use the Unreal 3 engine. Even with this technology in place, the game could use some touch ups on certain texture details and effects before it hits the store shelves.
Namco has said that Frame City Killer
will have some level of Xbox Live support, but whether this means content download, scoreboards (coolest kill?) or something more remains to be seen.