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About Brad Hilderbrand

I've been covering the various facets of gaming for the past five years and have been permanently indentured to WorthPlaying since I borrowed $20K from Rainier to pay off the Russian mob. When I'm not furiously writing reviews, I enjoy RPGs, rhythm games and casual titles that no one else on staff is willing to play. I'm also a staunch supporter of the PS3.


PS3/X360/PC Preview - 'Recoil: Retrograd'

by Brad Hilderbrand on March 1, 2008 @ 6:55 a.m. PST

Zeitguyz's Recoil: Retrograd, previously called Urban Mysteries, is an epic title incorporating an intense mix of action, adventure and strategy, powered by the Unreal Engine 3.

Recoil: Retrograd

Genre: Action Adventure
Publisher: Zeitguyz
Developer: Zeitguyz
Release Date: 2010

It's fairly rare that a new developer comes along and blows us all away with their very first game. Most studios use their first (or second, or third) game as a learning tool, something that will allow them to become more familiar with the hardware and build a reputation in the hopes of eventually scoring a hit. Well, the fellas at Zeitguyz have no time for that, and they're aiming to wow everyone with their new game, Recoil: Retrograd .

The story so far is this: In the near future, the world is utterly decimated by pandemics, terrorism and wars. Humanity is in shambles, and from the wreckage arise The Cardinals, mysterious figures who posses the power of time travel. The Cardinals go back and undo the causes of the destruction, but become so drunk with power in the process that they reshape the whole world specifically to their liking. Now, they are free to rule as they wish, as the sands of time have flowed in such a way that their leadership is unquestioned, and they wield supreme control.

What they didn't count on was someone sharing the same power, and that's where you come in. You also have the ability to travel through the fourth dimension, and you are tasked with returning to specific points in the past to undo The Cardinals' deeds. However, when you reach critical junctures, you must choose, and your decisions will have massive ramifications across all of time.

Recoil: Retrograd begins in the city of Retrograd in the year 2052. This area will act as your hub, and you'll be returning here between missions to see how your actions in the past have changed the present. Furthermore, as you travel back in time, your missions will all take place within the city, meaning that you'll be seeing Retrograd in its many states of splendor and decay. This promises to be an interesting dynamic, and it will be a definite challenge for the developers to keep the game feeling fresh when you are confined to the same general setting for the duration of the title. However, I'm sure Retrograd looks a lot different in 2052 than it did in 1450, so checking out the different epochs should be a lot of fun.

As you play, your character will develop new abilities that will help determine just what kind of leader you will be. Technical skills improve your tactical abilities, including damage and energy, while social skills increase your charisma. Basically, by the time it's all said and done, you'll be either a walking death machine or a leader of men, and it's up to you to figure out which play style suits you best.

In addition to a deep single-player campaign, the team is also putting together a multiplayer component that will center on attack and defense. The attacking team will have to overrun certain strongholds, while the defenders hold them at bay. Here's the kicker: Both teams may freely travel through time by locating portals around the map. It's unclear how exactly this will all come into play, but I'd imagine a clever team would be able to travel through the ages and set all manner of traps for their opponents, changing the rules of combat as they go.

The environments are striving for a gritty, steampunk feel, with danger and intrigue lurking around every corner. The demo at GDC showcased one particular area where the protagonist jumps into a giant machine to escape police pursuit. While he's able to elude the flatfoots, the machine itself is not much safer, with pistons and cogs firing in all directions and death mere inches away. Sometimes, navigating these deathtraps will be necessary in order to reach new areas, creating some rather exhilarating moments.

Recoil: Retrograd is shaping up to be a rather ambitious and original title, presenting an original story mixed with tried-and-true gameplay mechanics. Even though it's still early in development, what the team has already put together is shaping up to be an exceptionally buzzworthy title. While the same old, same old may be enough for a lot of new developers, it's not going to be enough for Zeitguyz, and it's that kind of attitude that creates great games.

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