View Full Version : Duality

05-20-2002, 02:00 PM
May 16, 2002 - I remember riding my bike home at full speed when Neuromancer came out for the PC, dreaming of "online personas" and "hacking systems" before the Internet came to the fore... or a good sound card, for that matter. The sticker on the front pronounced that Devo had done the theme song, and I was wondering how they were going to get vocals out of my knock-off Soundblaster card. Times have changed, baby, and now all your cyberpunk dreams can be fully realized, at least in game form. Duality will put you above and inside of the virtual world with three different character types, tons of paranoia and intrigue, and of course, lots of hacking into the seedy underworld of the shiny future.
The cyberpunk tale comes to you thanks to Korean publisher Phantagram, and the Blue 3.0 Engine, the vessel to deliver your futuristic adventure. Unlike the classic Neuromancer, you won't play as one central character, but as three different characters, each with different goals and motives, but with an intertwining storyline. A Mercenary, a Hacker, and a Virtual Being all tell different tales, but the design choice also creates the opportunity for the developer Trilobyte Graphics to give gamers three different gameplay styles to go with the storylines.

You begin the game as the Mercenary named Travis who's in charge for security for a large company. A competing company is trying to steal the blueprints for a product that your company has created, and you're there to prevent it from being snapped up. Too bad you're knocked out when the raid actually happens. You awake to find the product stolen -- but how did the raiders get through the security system? That's not your problem. You've got to worry about getting it back, and saving your neck. As you progress through the game you'll meet the other major characters in the game, including a hacker named Sam and a virtual entity named Cube that are related to the incident. As I've mentioned earlier, you'll experience the game three different ways as you play the three characters:

Mercenary: His goal is to earn money by fulfilling clients requests, no matter how gruesome. You'll use the money to upgrade yourself with better weapons and implants, as well as jammers, sensors, armor, and optic camouflage.

Hacker: Her goal is to break into systems, and rule the online world. Your aiming isn't as good as the Mercenary, who auto-targets opponents, but your sensors are better, and you'll be able to use traps. Find a terminal, and the world's yours. Of course, your physical body is in danger while you're hacking, so you'll have to set traps and sensors around yourself to keep you protected. You'll also be able to use your Program Bible in cyberspace as a sort of spell book, matching up programs, building more complex combinations, and leveling up in your skills and program speed.

Virtual Being: The most metaphysical of characters, you're actually looking for your identity as a Virtual Being, while trying to figure out why you keep getting attacked by apparent strangers. While you were originally a scientist in the real world, you were transferred to cyberspace by accident, and remember nothing. As you level up, you start to realize your true origins and god-like cyberspace power.
Phantagram likens the game to Metal Gear Solid with more options, so you expect that you'll be focusing on action, despite the leveling abilities and hacking involved. The structure is incredible RPG however, even going so far as giving you PC style quest freedom. You'll be able to take on quests as you see fit, and as you feel you're able. The normal universe has Resident Evil style control, with the Mercenary able to auto-aim while the Hacker must manually aim her gun at enemies. Combat will include up to five enemies at once, each reacting differently to the battle. As a whole however the enemies have group AI, meaning that they'll react to you depending on how they fare as a team against you, rather just displaying pack or individual behavior. Since it's the future, you can expect metal to be your biggest foe, in all its forms. Machines, humanoids and cybernetic entities, virtual entities you'll encounter in cyberspace, and "transformers" -- somehow we don't think there's any relation to the toy line -- will all be out for your blood. Phantagram has even mentioned that there's multiplayer deathmatch planned for the game as well.

The screens we've got so far look to be mainly art, renders, and snaps of the CG in the game, but Pyro promises bump mapping, inverse kinematics for more realistic physical reactions, dynamic shadowing and light (a requisite for the Xbox nowadays), with character models of around 2,000 polys each, with a big poly boost for close ups and cutscenes. The models in cutscenes are said to be particularly detailed, with separate teeth and lips, eyeball movements and full facial expressions.

Pyro is so bold as to just come out tell us that they expect gamers to spend 20-40 minutes on each quest and they're going to be loading 30-40 quests into the game for us. Math isn't our strong point, but that adds up to a hell of a lot of game. Pretty gaming at that. The wide open branching storylines probably mean that we won't be seing all that Duality has to offer the first time through.

The intention is to get us to run through the game as each of the different characters and understand the story from their individual perspectives. We're even going to encounter the other two characters, as enemies no less, as we progress through each scenario. The overall big picture will become apparent as we complete each character's scenario. We're not sure if you noticed or not, but there is no life bar or energy meter of any kind. The developers got rid of any kind of head up display in favor of conveying all of the important information through the character model. Damage, energy and everything will be apparent by your character's appearance.

Our media section is chock full of images and movies so we'll allow the graphics and beauty to speak for themselves. But for those Insiders who want to see what Duality is really about we present the first gameplay move of Duality. It's a 25MB whopper but it will answer all of your questions and doubts.
Outlook:We want this to be good. We want this to be really good. It's been a long, long time since anyone's seriously attempted a cyberpunk game where you'll truly explore the cyberspace side of things, and we can't think of a genre that's more suited to bring back from the dead in our next-generation days.
-- IGN



05-20-2002, 06:32 PM
This game looks well umm, well what can i say apart from i need new underpants..
excuse me..............