E3 2011: The War of the Worlds

E3 2011: The War of the Worlds

Nearly 73 years ago, Orson Welles brought H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds to stunning life over the radio, creating a wave of panic throughout his unsuspecting listeners. Before the end of this year, nearly three-quarters of a century later, the narrative experience of The War of the Worlds is coming to both XBLA and PSN in the form of Other Ocean and Paramount Digital’s The War of the Worlds.

The War of the Worlds will be a 2D side-scrolling platformer with beautifully stylized graphics and backgrounds. The game is based on its predecessors in the War of the Worlds media entries, but is built as an original entry rather than a directly related entry. The best move Other Ocean made with War of the Worlds was in deciding to keep the narration element alive in their version of the story. Now, I sat there wearing my “Top 10 Reasons Kirk is Better than Picard” during the E3 appointment, when the narrator’s voice started. Sir Patrick Stewart did a wonderful job narrating War of the Worlds, as Sir Patrick Stewart is generally so good at doing.

Most of the gameplay consists of dodging alien drones intent on bringing you to your skeletal knees with fiery hot LASER death. The ally AI is incredibly useful, acting as both a distraction for the alien drones and as a way of telegraphing upcoming danger to you, the player. You will see many skeletal deaths of ally soldiers; pay attention, because seeing how they die will help you plan your way forward. There are times when you will be able to take over alien technology, and there will be various other gameplay mechanics involved, but none of these were detailed for us. There will be time trial leaderboards as well.

The game looked good, and seemed to play well. The beautiful background mixed with Sir Patrick Stewart’s masterful narration go a long way in making this an excellent homage to a classic story.

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