Watchmen: Hopes & Fears

Coming this Spring to the PSN (and XBLA), Watchmen: The End Is Nigh is an episodic beat-em-up which sees two of the characters from the graphic novel (and upcoming film) taking on the underworld.

The first episode is set to be released in the same week as the film and should offer a new dimension to the PSN, adding a violent brawler to the array of puzzles, top-down shooters and casual time-sinks.

Set before the timeline of the novel (and film) we take control of the action during the period when Rorschach (the guy with the long mac and propensity for unrestrained violence) is working with the second Nite Owl (the owly looking guy who has gadgets, a flying ship and martial arts skills). This partnership is mentioned in the original story but not really expanded on which makes it perfect for a video game off-shoot.

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Apparently the game has been worked up from prequel storyline pieces that were written by Alan Moore (writer of the novel) but never made it to publication.

We will see local co-op but no online (hopefully they will implement that later) and there are situations where each character’s different fighting styles will be almost essential to getting through the torrent of gang members that desperately need to be taught a harsh lesson about not going near men in long macs and leather masks.

Watchmen: TEIN is scheduled to have six to eight hours of playtime across all episodes so, whilst there are concerns that the precision brawling (think fight sequences in Assassins Creed rather than button mashing Heavenly Sword) might become tiresome, there should be plenty of punch for your pounds.

It is no secret that I love the Watchmen novel and I am stupidly excited about the possibilities of the movie. I am a little more cautious about the game though. Don’t get me wrong, the screens look awesome and the universe is sure to be as dark, deep and richly inhabited as the book deserves. I’m just not sure that a novel which is short on actual fighty action will translate well to a video game where fighting is all it has.

If there is a gaming deity looking down upon us I can only pray that Watchmen: TEIN is infused with the same gritty, downbeat sense of hope amongst fears that permeates the novel. Giving it feeling as well as the obvious technical excellence hinted at by the screens will be key to the game’s ability to stand with the novel.

One to look out for then but potentially a title that will make me (and a lot of other Watchmen fans) want to really hurt the people responsible.

Anticipation mixed with trepidation.

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