The heroes are also able to possess or recruit any innocent civilians who may have wandered into the area. It doesn't seem particularly heroic when Corbijn takes over an air hostess and then uses her as a meat shield, but no doubt he'd just justify it as being "necessary collateral damage". Civilians will occasionally be found carrying a surprisingly powerful weapon, however, so don’t feel too bad about snatching away their self control. Besides, it's funny to try and beat people up as a killer British Airways attendant.
While human bodies make up the bulk of your potential hosts and allies, other options are also available. Sadly neither the Gorilla (sorry, Titan) nor the bonobos were available in my demo, but I did at least get some time with a few security droids. The flying ones obviously have the advantage of manoeuvrability, but personally I found more use for their ground-based cousins: they're small enough to avoid attention, and speedy enough to launch surprise hit-and-run raids on threats behind cover.
In truth, I suspect that these aggressive tactics probably weren't such a smart move on my part. For all its bells and whistles, MindJack is still very much a cover-to-cover shooter, and dashing into the fray will usually result in death for you or your host body. The seriousness of this occurrence is somewhat dependent on who else is playing, and what the current situation is. If your recently-mutilated corpse belonged to an enemy or a civilian, you'll simply need to assume control of someone else - you can do this manually, in floaty ghost fashion, or by using a shoulder button to skip to the nearest available vessel. If, on the other hand, it's Corbijn or Rebecca who's gone face down in a pool of blood, they'll need to be revived - and this is clearly only possible if you've got a human ally to help you out.
MindJack certainly succeeds in offering a rather original risk/reward dynamic. If you don't push forward and acquire new bodies to occupy, the enemy will overrun you - but by abandoning Corbijn's shell you automatically increase your chances of befalling disaster. It's an engaging mechanic, but while the basic shoot-and-hide controls are undeniably familiar, they lack the precision and fidelity we've come to expect from the genre. As I've said, the game's nature forces the player to act quickly and intelligently while under strain. It's a situation that demands reliable controller response, but too often I felt that it was the wooliness of the underlying design, rather than my own human error, that had led to my downfall.
With the game due for release in roughly two weeks, we'll soon know how serious a setback these issues actually are. Japanese developer feelplus has clearly tried to offer a new slant on an over-worked formula, but if they've slipped up on the basics, it'll be that much harder for the innovation to shine through. All the same, I'm not judging the game just yet - not till I've had a proper go on that gorilla, at any rate.
MindJack is due for release on Xbox 360 and PS3 on January 21.