MindJack

MindJack Preview for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3
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MindJack screenshot
MindJack screenshot

It seems that there's a growing trend for studios trying to break down the wall between single-player and multiplayer gaming. 2K's Borderlands was the first title in recent memory to have a pop, allowing players to drop-in and out of each other's loot-obsessed romps. The thing is, Borderlands only supported a maximum of four players; it didn't really break down the wall, it only dented it with a small hammer. Then there's Brink, the as-yet released FPS title from Splash Damage, where the single-player campaign and multiplayer deathmatch are one and the same. We don't know how much damage that'll do yet, but it certainly talks a good game. It's like your lazy brother standing in the yard with a sledgehammer. "Oh yeah, I can knock that wall down!" he says. "But not until some point next year."

And now there's MindJack, the new third-person shooter from Square Enix and feelplus Inc. I'm not quite sure what MindJack would do to our metaphorical wall, but I bet it would do something pretty weird - like turning all the bricks into warm, sweaty cheese. At any rate, I certainly know what it's done to me: it's made me very confused. Strangely, I'm quite happy about this. In these innovation-wary times, mainstream oddities like this are comparatively rare.

Now, let me see if I can get this straight. As the game's gloriously cheesy E3 video explains, MindJack is set in the year 2031. The world's governments have apparently "lost their sovereignty" (i.e. they've gone down the toilet) due to the appearance of The Mindhackers - people who have the ability to possess pretty much any person or machine they desire. How they precisely do this isn't clear, but I think it involves the manipulation of some kind of Matrix-like super Internet and/or electronic ghosts (which, as we all know, are the best kind). The bottom line is that The Mindhackers can play with what they like. If they want to take your gran for a test drive, they will; if they decide to possess your blender at the exact moment you're loading it with papaya… well, let's just say that gloves won't feature highly in your winter wardrobe.

The future, as it turns out, is blue and shiny. Some kind of conspiracy is erupting, big evil corporations are to blame, and the only man who can save us is Jim Corbin - a clean-cut hero in the style typical of Japanese action titles (Western heroes, lest we forget, are ugly and balding). In feelplus' E3 demo, Jim and his nubile partner Rebecca are found at an airport, trading bullets with heavily-armoured soldiers. There's a cover-to-cover system, a recharging health mechanic, and a satisfying set of melee attacks when someone gets too close. So far, so generic - but here's the thing about MindJack: as you play, you have the ability to possess pretty much any NPC or enemy you can find. Not only that, but other players can "hack" into your game and also join in the corporeal-kidnap tomfoolery - either as a friend, or as a foe. (See? I hadn't forgotten about our wall. It just took me a while to explain.)

Here's how it works. At one moment you're Jim Corbin, a heroic Chris Redfield clone with a pistol in your hand. Someone starts shooting at you, but you don't fancy poking your head out of cover - so you jump out of your skin and start roaming the level as a sort of sci-fi spectre. At this point the action switches to a first-person perspective, distorted with a pronounced fish-eye lens effect. You float around the map, invisible and free from danger, until you find a suitable host - perhaps an enemy soldier. You assume control of your meat puppet, and suddenly you can make him run about and blast his buddies. When he gets killed, or when you get bored, you can possess someone else: a floating robot drone maybe, or a balding tourist in a Hawaiian shirt.

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Roland_D11's Avatar

Roland_D11@ mydeaddog

Oh, ok. It is a long shot, but I like to think that some designers still put little hints or easter-eggs in their games. It is sad that stuff like that has almost gone away from games.

And yes, a great film. Actually, it was the very first DVD ever released in germany, I still have that edition.
Posted 11:11 on 08 July 2010
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

Ah, right! Well, there is a balding man in a Hawaiian shirt in the level, so maybe that's what they're going for. Bit of a long shot though.

Amazing film, at any rate.
Posted 10:45 on 08 July 2010
draytone's Avatar

draytone

Bruce is popping over to VG towers tomorrow so maybe that's why he referenced it...
Posted 10:14 on 08 July 2010
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

I can see so many ways for this to become cliched and constrained - I hope it doesn't, mind - but I nee to see more before I make up my mind over it. Nice preview though, Neon.
Posted 10:11 on 08 July 2010
Roland_D11's Avatar

Roland_D11@ mydeaddog

I thought the 'balding tourist in a Hawaiian shirt' was a reference to it. Although my mind could have put Bruce Willis of today in a Hawaiian shirt and got things mixed up.
Posted 10:05 on 08 July 2010
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

Did I reference 12 Monkeys? I don't remember consciously doing so, but it's a favourite film of mine so maybe something slipped in...
Posted 09:36 on 08 July 2010
Roland_D11's Avatar

Roland_D11

Sounds interesting, but still very mysterious. But it should come in october, so the mysteries should be cleared then.

Mind control in games seems to be having a revival, doesn't it? The last game I remember that did this was the mentioned Messiah by Shiny (a decade ago?), now we have MindJack and in some way the new Driver game. And 3rd Birthday will do it as well, if I recall correctly.

PS. Nice 12 Monkeys reference, Neon.
Posted 09:22 on 08 July 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

I agree Neon. the mysteriousness is awesome.
I haven't ever heard of it until right now, and I'm really intrigued now.
Hmmm... Definitely worth keeping an eye on :)
I like surprises :)
Posted 08:22 on 08 July 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 21/01/2011
Developer: Feelplus
Publisher: Square-Enix Co
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-6
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 11,886 31
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