... but wait, there's more! GameTrailers has posted another new Wing Commander Arena video. It's called "Galactic Battle Gameplay" and shows off some hardcore action on the 'Proving Grounds' map. It's not as long as the earlier video updates, but it still manages to reveal some fantastic details - including a classic 'box target' system and another fighter, the Rapier II Cavalier. "Galactic Battle Gameplay" is available in two different formats:
This day just keeps getting better: GameSpot has posted three more High Definition video previews of Wing Commander Arena! The first shows off the Space Station map, the second is melee combat in the Boneyard and the third is capship combat. There are some huge surprises here, including a lineup of F/A-76 Longbow bombers parked at the Space Station and a big Kilrathi face carved into an asteroid in the Boneyard! No Wing Commander continuity, eh? You can find all three online here.
Another one bites the dust: GamersInfo.net has posted yet another hands-on preview of Wing Commander Arena. This article is very well done; it divides the game into specific areas (sound, controls, graphics, etc.). The word is good:
Wing Commander: Arena picks up the franchise and moves it into a new direction, away from a space sim to a space shooter. EA did a great job in carefully including as much of the old as they move forward with the new, and in the end it looks like they succeeded. I know I’m eagerly anticipating the release of this game.
See it all here.
"Edgy" gaming news site Kotaku has posted their impressions of Wing Commander Arena. As with the GameSpy preview this morning, they were disappointed that it "wasn't Wing Commander"... but they were pleased with the game itself. While their criticism is somewhat understandable, it should be clear to everyone reading this that Electronic Arts has gone to extreme lengths to make sure Arena incorporates many elements of the Wing Commander continuity -- and I will personally guarantee that you'll be seeing a lot more in the coming weeks. Read the whole thing here.
I asked one of the EA guys about that and he told me that the cockpit view just didn't fit with this version of the game. Mostly, he said, because the game is so fast-paced and can have up to 15 others in the game dog-fighting with you. He also said it' a view that can make you motion sick... and I know what that's like.
The best thing to come from this article are a pair of photos from the preview event, one of which shows the control layout:
IGN joins the fray with even more exciting Wing Commander Arena content -- an all-new preview and two High Definition gameplay videos! They have to be seen to be believed! You can watch the videos here and read the entire preview here. From the Preview:
Your choice of craft also determines what types of special maneuvers are available. All can be piloted with the two thumbsticks, but the two lighter models are capable of performing forward and backward loops, hops, 180 degree turns, and barrel rolls. The heavier ships turn much more slowly and can't perform such acrobatics, instead relying on their thicker armor and more powerful weaponry and gadgets. The game maps all four of your ships weapons to the triggers and bumpers, all of which can be fired simultaneously. Assuming you can get on someone's tail, they go down pretty quickly. Pressing Y activates the more specialized gadgets, which include flares, cloaks, and sonar.
Electronic Arts held their "Summer Preview 2007" last night, which included a demo of Wing Commander Arena for the press. As such, we expect to see several previews in the next few days... and the first up is GameSpy:
- Video #1 - "Shoot Those Missiles" (43.9 MB, .WMV)
- Video #2 - "Do a Barrel Roll" (48.7 MB, .WMV)
Wing Commander Arena seems to evoke Subspace's hectic vibe brilliantly. While there is a single-player component, the game is all about the multiplayer. 16 players can battle it out on a variety of different maps -- some of which are wide-open, while others more "mazey" -- in either free-for-all battles, or team matches. The action takes place on a 2D plane, with a few key concessions that utilize the Z-axis, evasive maneuvers like loops and barrel rolls and. Attacks are mapped to your triggers and shoulder buttons, with each one deploying a different weapon.
You can read the entire article here. Their primary complaint is that the game doesn't have any depth of mythology, and I can say from personal experience that that ain't so. We're going to see some neat continuity material before this is over...
Here's a closer look at this month's OXM preview of Wing Commander Arena. The transcript was posted earlier. It's great to see the game in print, though the author is oddly focused on the Wing Commander movie. Despite this conspicuous digression, the magazine is very positive about Arena and its imminent success on XBox Live.
Fortunately, we're not just talking about Asteroids with the Wing Commander name slapped on it. Famous ships (18 in total) from both the Terran and Kilrathi sides are available in different classes -- bombers, fighters, and so on... Four single-player modes are included, but it's the 16-player online play that distinguishes Arena from the pack.