When I headed to Rubicon’s booth at E3, I really didn’t know what to expect. After all, Rubicon was a fairly unknown developer and I hadn’t heard about either of their titles.
However, after checking out Narcoterror and Miner War 2081, it looks like the company has a few interesting titles on its hands.
The first game I saw, Narcoterror, feels like homage to some classic NES games.
The plot itself seems like an old action movie. Your family is threatened by a drug cartel and your daughter is kidnapped, so you’re out for rescuing and revenge.
The game itself has three different forms, the first, the twin-stick shooter, was a very responsive game that reminded me a bit of Commando. The top-down view worked great and it was a breeze blazing through enemies and picking weapons and grenades up off the ground to use.
Narcoterror loves to keep the points and multipliers coming, and makes sure you can always see the score and what’s going on. Some areas in particular are key to raising your multiplier as high as possible for scores with the amount of explosives around. It was simple fun, but enjoyable.
There are also a few areas in the game where players will find minibosses, like a helicopter, or bosses to fight as well.
The second area was reminiscent of Choplifter, as you fly a helicopter from area to area dodging missiles and trying to drop off freed hostages.
Finally, the game jumps to a scrolling plane level like 1942. All the modes played great and already show good polish. In addition, I was also told there will be tank levels as well, but didn’t get to see any of those.
While I didn’t get to check it out, I was also told there will be two-player drop-in, drop-out co-op in the full game as well. The game is set to release on XBLA, PSN and PC this fall. Rubicon said the price point looks to be about $15 for consoles, and possibly a bit more on PC if the team decides to add in more content for that version.
Miner War 2081
The second title I was shown, Miner War 2081, shows a bit more promise in the long term scheme of things.
Narcoterror offered fun now for short bursts. However, Miner War’s biggest feature will not be out until late 2013.
The game was similar to Descent. You control a spaceship as you choose which faction you’ll help gain control of minerals in space. The controls were fairly easier to pick up and reminded me of FPS controls on the PC.
The biggest draw to the game may actually be the editor available using a custom-made Voxel Rage Engine. The engine lets anything made, except things needed for story missions, be destroyed. In faction, when I went through one level, I made a shortcut by just burrowing through a meteor with missiles to get to the other side.
The editor itself lets players drag and drop what they want into the huge creator (I was told it takes 15 minutes to get from one side of the creator to the other). Pieces can be placed into each other, like a base inside a meteor, and ore can be added inside things to mine as well.
Full missions can be set up in the creator, including enemy ships. The ships can even be customized as to what faction they belong to, how their AI function, etc.
Overall, the creator features 21 sectors to build in. After that, you can keep building if you want, but you’ll be building in someone else’s sector when you do it.
Getting back to the gameplay, players will also be able to mine if they want to, and some factions will do mainly just that as they’re more peaceful. Each faction also has blueprints for different kinds of ships, so branching out to try new factions is encouraged.
There are also quite a few weapons in the game, including interesting bioweapons. The bioweapons let you kill only the people inside enemy ships and not the ship itself. By doing this, you can loot empty ships and take their parts.
When the game releases in early 2013, it will only feature competitive multiplayer, as the team is mainly focused on the single player for now and the creator. However, later in 2013, a MMO version of the game will be released. That version will let players take on missions together and explore the player created universes with other gamers.
It was noted that, while players can download maps in the original game, they can never full change or destroy what you originally made. However, in the MMO version, damage done to a player-created sector will be persistent.
Overall, I was told the single-player game will be between 10-20 hours, depending on how many sidequests are done. Look for the game on PC early next year.