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News: Trenched tower defense details

Posted on : 09-03-2011 | By : | In : News

Hardware:

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G4 has a cool breakdown on Double Fine’s upcoming XBLA game Trenched. Whilst there is a very obviously a third person action component, the main setup in the game is actually based around tower defense. For those that played BrĂ¼tal Legend, there were a fair few RTS nods throughout and it’s well known that Tim Schafer is a fan of the Technosoft classic Herzog Zwei on the Mega Drive. The latter being especially notable as it seamlessly linked a top down shooter with RTS elements way back in 1989, pre-dating the likes of Westwood’s seminal Dune II by a good four years. In many ways, Trenched sounds a bit similar to Herzog Zwei but supplanting the top down view for something more contemporary.

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Comments (8)

Darn, I was hoping this would be a competitive third person shooter. Lol, I haven’t tried any tower defense games but if I get a 360 this holiday season, maybe I’ll pick this up and give it a try.

Thanks Cacophanus for the overview on past games this might be inspired from. It’s very informative, though again, I’m not particularly interested in this genre, but others are probably.

Though, I wouldn’t think many console gamers would be fond of RTS games. On the mech side of things I had a lot of fun with Metal Fatigue.

You can’t imagine how excited I am for Trenched. After playing Brutal Legend and seeing how well it emulated the Herzog Zwei formula, I immediately wanted Double Fine to make a mecha game with a similar concept. I thought their next two games, Costume Quest and Stacking, meant they were moving away from “badass” territory towards something more casual (although it must be noted that both of those games have been held in high regard), but then they come along and announced exactly what I wanted: a mecha shooter/strategy game.

If you haven’t, I suggest picking up Brutal Legend; I got my copy for $15 so it should be cheap. I’m not going to pretend that the game doesn’t have some major flaws, but it’s the sort of flaw that only occurs because the game had so much scope. I’m willing to tolerate the occasionally strange combat physics and story-crunch at the end of the game if it means I can play a game set inside one of the ubiquitous 80s metal album cover art landscapes (complete with women in leather riding giant bears with lightning and lava in the background) and if I can control an army of literal Headbangers as I fly above the battlefield on demonic wings, swooping down occasionally to play a sweet-ass guitar solo to inspire my men and (again, literally) melt faces with my riffs.

With Armored Core V’s Operator/Commander and now Entrenched bringing us mechanized trench warfare, it seems like the vein of mecha gold Herzog Zwei uncovered may finally be tapped. It seems East and West are heading in the same direction towards not only using mecha correctly, but also using them as player avatars in a larger war effort. Suitably fitting, as the Real Robot side of things always liked to place the machines as one part in a massive military-industrial complex, and the only thing better than kicking ass in a giant robot is kicking ass in a giant robot in command of ten more.

My biggest issue with Brutal Legend was that the open world feel seemed to write a check that he campaign length couldn’t cash. It just felt so much shorter than it should have. The strategy element was really good, and I’m hoping that this game gives a bit more of a strategic feel from the get-go.

I am glad to see that they are going with a plodding, mobile-turret kind of mech. It works well for a concept like tower defense, adding mobility while still maintaining the value of setting up shop at a strategic location. Also, plodding mechs are the ones that the West tends to get right, due to the history of things like Battletech. Scheffer is really good at making something interesting out of familiar material, as well, so I’m expecting this game to be interesting and funny, even if the final gameplay ends up flawed or more (or less) limited than I hoped.

Thanks for the recommendation, though I’m not really a fan of the genre, if I see Brutal Legends for cheap I’ll pick it up.

“It seems East and West are heading in the same direction towards not only using mecha correctly, but also using them as player avatars in a larger war effort.”

When I think of a mech game, I’m really talking about a simulator. A mech game to me is one where you can’t reskin the models and it would still work and make sense. Games to me that aren’t true mech games but used them are turn based titles like Mytran Wars and action titles like Transformers War for Cybetron, and the mechs in Killzone 3, Planetside and Fear. It’s on that level that Trench doesn’t interest me, because it’s not a real mech game.

Having said that, I don’t think the West has really gone anywhere with mech games. The reason being there aren’t any real serious attempts at mech sims around. The last I can think of is Mechwarrior 2 released more than a decade ago.

I wish the west had some kind of series like Armored Core which has a consistent studio behind it.

The mech genre has no appeal to the western audience unless its Transformers and even that goes to the atrocity which is Bayformers.When you come down to it, quality is not the issue but consumer taste.In Japan Killzone 3 which,while not interesting to me, is well made game was throughly beaten by iDOLM@STER 2 on its launch day.If Bandai tried to release that here the exact opposite would happen and it goes to show that different regions want different things.

Greg:

Don’t forget that despite the abomination that is the Transformers movies that mechs are still very popular in Western media. Not only do American movies seem to enjoy putting what we might easily call Real Robots in their movies, but they often seem to play them further to the “Real” end of the scale than even the Japanese typically do. The mechs in Avatar and District 9, if they starred in their own Japanese series, would easily be amazing mecha in their own right.

We don’t need to make Westerners like robots; rather, we just need to create a discussion on their merits, when they seem to work well, and WHY they work well. Everyone I know knocks the Transformers movies while they remember the Power Loader from Aliens fondly, but there’s not (yet) a vocabulary to describe while the Power Loader felt so “right.” The Japanese are the current masters of mecha, but that doesn’t mean Westerners are uninterested in the concept.

I’m not saying that we need to make Westerners like them,I’m just saying that they don’t really like them to begin with.You mentioned the Power Loader and the Avatar suit and I want you to compare them to Big O or a Gundam.The Japanese don’t seem to mind giant robots that have noses or even lips just for the hell of it but have you ever seen that in a western mech?Have you ever seen a Western mech as colorful as a Gundam?The kind of mechs America wants can best be summarized by those in Battletech,something rugged,industrial, and generally lacking a head.The mechs Japan is churning out just aren’t what Americans want.

I don’t think mecha games need to be simulators. Rather, a game is a mecha game if the robots in it operate on a principle that make them fundamentally different from human analogues. The mecha in Trenched seem to have the proper amount of weight to them and operate differently from a standard third-person shooter character, therefore I would classify it as a mecha game. The gameplay might not be based entirely around the mecha itself, but I don’t believe that undermines the fact that the mecha is the “main character” of sorts.

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