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June 19, 2005
Darkwatch - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
6/10/2005UbisoftHigh Moon Studios1, 8 $99.95

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Expect plenty of scares.
Darkwatch isn't a game I would have expected many to hear about prior to this years E3 show but the announcement that Capcom would be publishing the game in America certainly piqued a lot of interest. Only weeks after the show Ubisoft announced that they would be publishing and distributing the title in Europe and Australia. Developed by newcomers High Moon Studios the game initially looks like your standard First Person Shooter. Dig deeper and you soon discover a game which includes many interesting themes involving demons and the wild west. An interesting combination that should provide some unique moments for sure.

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That's one ugle mother...
Perhaps the most engrossing part of Darkwatch announced to date is the story which is as follows: They grind their enemies for fuel, fashion their skin into protective cloaks and create weapons designed to exterminate en masse, and they're the good guys! They are the Darkwatch, a mysterious secret society that has protected humanity from evil since the dawn of civilization. Their newest and most deadly agent is Jericho Cross, an outlaw gunslinger pulled into their ranks by an unfortunate close encounter with a vampire lord.

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Driving in the vehicle.
Jericho's only chance of regaining his stolen humanity is to pursue the vampire through an American frontier overrun by evil minions. Along the way he relies on his deadly gun-fighting skills and advanced weapons and vehicles created by the Darkwatch, owing as much to sorcery as to technology. As a half-vampire, his superhuman abilities allow him to move, see and take damage as no living man could. When he's in a tight spot, or needs an extra burst of speed, he can summon his demonic horse from the very ground he stands on, firing his weapons from horse-back or crushing the rotten skulls of undead opponents with flailing hooves. To fight a monster, one must become a monster. Jericho Cross had no choice…but only he can save the West and his own soul from eternal damnation.

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Graphics look pretty nice.
So this is essentially a First Person Shooter. The story seems solid enough, but let's face it. When it comes to FPS's we want action, and action is what we're about to get. One of the games unique features is the 'Judgement system' which allows your character to turn from the side of good, to the side of evil or vice versa. An example of this: at some points you may come across people that have been infected. It's your choice, do you suck the infection out of them or do you use them as a quick snack? Your decisions will alter the path you take in the game. Set during the 1800's one concern we had were the weapons available. Fortunately the developers will be including 'futuristic' tweaks to the weapons to make them more powerful and more exciting for the game. Weapons confirmed to date include a revolver, shotgun, sniper rifle, crossbows, grenades, dynamite and a guided rocket launcher (OK, we honestly don't know how this fits into the time period!). In worst cases it will also be possible to switch to melee attack.

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Out in the old west.
There are two more features to be excited about in this game. The first is vehicles. As you can see in these pics there is one point where you can jump into a mechanical vehicle of some kind to start up some mayhem although the developers haven't discussed details of what this vehicle is. In fact the only one they have discussed is Shadow - Jerico's horse. Rather then simply being a vehicle to ride around on the horse has his own AI routines to defend himself if attacked. The second feature is online gameplay. While still being decided this was actually the first part of the game the development team worked on and we can expect, at the least, support for 8-players on Playstation 2. A 2-player split screen mode is also promised. This really is a wonderful looking title. The setting in the wild west with vampires is unique and should have gamers drooling at the prospect.