E3 2008: Gamecock

While not part of the E3 exhibition grounds, Gamecock had some titles showcased at the Hotel Figueroa. We stopped by to follow up on Legendary and check out the adventures of Violette Summer in Velvet Assassin.

Velvet Assassin (X360, PC)

Velvet Assassin is a story-driven stealth/action game where you play as the British secret agent Violette Summer, a character inspired by a real heroine, Violette Szabo.

The game takes place during WWII, so everything you see in the game is based on real places and small events. Violette is in a coma, and the missions you play relate to her life, while reviving her memories.

The demo took us around the Warsaw ghetto, with Violette attempting to reach the Gestapo prison in order to deliver cianide to a prisoner. Basically, the cianide is the alternative to him being tortured to death and more than likely revealing secrets.

The game takes a minimalistic approach to what normally composes a HUD, so basically all you see is a health indicator and morphine vials. A map is accessible but not on your interface at all times.

Violette uses shadows and objects to move around undetected. Stealth is achieved by either hiding in the shadows or being out of line of sight. While in stealth mode, she is surrounded by a purple haze. Hiding behind vehicles, walls, crates or even in tall grass gives her advantage over the enemy. You can also drag and hide bodies so they don't alert other guards to your presence.

Violette's main weapon is a knife, which she uses to execute those unaware of her presence. But this lady is also skilled with firearms, which in some cases will be necessary. There are over 50 different close kill animations, which are randomly picked from a pool pertaining to the type of weapon being used (hand-to-hand included). For example, for the knife executions, we saw Violette going straight for the jugular, stabbing at the kidneys, and in a few cases, at a guard's testicles.

Picking up the collectibles placed throughout the stages will give you experience points, which adds an RPG element to the game. With the points you can improve your attributes, such as stealth, combat or more morphine charges.

Morphine vials that you encounter can be used as a second chance for situations when death is a certainty. When you activate a dose of morphine, time stands still and Violette will appear in her nightgown, in what looks like a dream state, and you can change the event that would result in certain death. Think of it as a "continue", but not really.

Velvet Assassin is due this Holiday season for Xbox 360 and PC.


Legendary (X360, PC)

When we looked at Legendary last year, it was still a very early build, but impressive nonetheless. For those who aren't up to speed, Legendary's story is based on Pandora's Box. Charles Deckard, our main character, is a thief hired to steal this artifact, and as he opens it, a horde of mythical beasts is unleashed. He is also the only one who is able to seal the Box again, so Deckard will join forces with a secret society in order to achieve his goal.

Griffons, werewolves, titans and other creatures are loose and destroying cities all over the world, as you watch buildings collapse, crowds panic and run, and vehicles being tossed in the air. In last year's demo, we saw how werewolves climbed walls and dangled on chandeliers, using the environment to get to you. We also saw Griffons causing all kinds of destruction. This time, we got to look at a few other creatures, one of them being the Nari.

The Nari are something like pixies, but not really. They are creatures created from souls of dead children and can't be touched unless they materialize. They have a thing for possessing objects and use them against you.

Another impressive creature is the Golem, which is actually made of pieces of debris from the collapsed buildings and destroyed vehicles from the streets. Fire drakes populated the subway station, obviously water being the logical choice to get rid of them.

You will be caught between opposing factions who are both trying to get ahold of the Box, the Black Order and the Council of 98. These have both been at war for ages, the first trying to control its powers, the second trying to seal it. The battles between the two groups, and those of them against monsters will be a constant throughout the game. In occasions where three-way battles are taking place, these "soldiers" will try to determine who is the biggest threat to them, Deckard or the mythical creatures, and they will act according to their decision. You can intervene and attack the monsters, risking being attacked by both factions, or sit back and watch them fight and at the same time, and not be a target for either.

This sure adds a lot more to the gameplay than we had initially seen before, since the multiplayer modes will build upon this concept: opposing players attack each other, while monsters try to get at everyone.

Legendary is near completion and expecting a Fall release for Xbox 360 and PS3, followed by a PC release a few months later.