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    Impressions of a Fallen Frontier

    After hearing about Fallen Frontier just recently, I was stoked to spend some time with it on the PAX East show floor. While still an early build, I would be hard pressed to find many flaws with what I was able to play.

    Right off the bat, what caught my eye about Fallen Frontier is the awesome way it handles split-screen co-op. Players exist on the same screen until one ventures off too far, at which point the screen is bisected in whichever direction the wanderer has moved off to. For example, if the first player is at the right of the screen, and the second moves off screen to the left, a split-screen line will divide the screen vertically. As the players move around independently, the split screen adjusts to track them. When the players come back together, the screen is once again whole, without a beat missed. It's hard to describe, you can see what I mean in the trailer attached below, but wow, why has no one ever thought of this before? It's really brilliantly simple.

    Adding to the co-op experience is the fact that the second player is said to be more than just a throw in to accommodate a bored friend. Player one plays a human who sets out from Earth on a personal mission of revenge. Player two controls an augmented human, which looks kind of like a cyborg. The idea here is rather than terraforming planets to create suitable living conditions for humans, it was the people who are adjusted to inhabit to the conditions of their home world.

    Your character can hold any two weapons as well as grenades, in addition to using a couple of secondary abilities to spice things up. This build featured a grappling hook -- with no cooldown -- which allowed our slow moving heroes to zip around the environment with relative ease and increased speed. It has uses in battle as well, such as the pleasing combination of pulling an unsuspecting enemy into a cloud of fresh buckshot. The grappling hook makes the shotgun a viable long range weapon of sorts. There was also a forcefield pushback, which knocked back everything in your immediate area, be it enemies or grenades. Helpful in a pinch if you become swarmed or need to clear a grenade with a short fuse. More abilities will be available in the final release of the game, but these two were the only ones we were able to see.

    The developers stated much inspiration was drawn from Blade Runner, and it shows. Not only because of the mesh of organics and robotics, and no, your character doesn't look like Harrison Ford, but mostly due to the bright-yet-dreary beauty, in similar style to Blade Runner's futuristic world. The backdrops are startlingly lovely, akin to concept art used in production, and executed very well. The character models are crisp, animated well, and generally look great.

    Unfortunately, we're going to have to wait until 2012 for Fallen Frontier, which is shocking considering how tight the build I played was. A true testament to its development process and the pedigree of those working on it.

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