E3 2014 – CounterSpy Hands-On Impressions

There’s was no shaking the feeling of déjà vu when I first approached CounterSpy at Sony’s booth at E3. It shares the same running and gunning ‘2.5D’ side scrolling mechanics that Shadow Complex featured, but the similarities stood aside for how CounterSpy sets itself apart when the action began and I started playing.

CounterSpy is all about being an infiltrator. Getting in and out without much alarm. That proves to be a difficult conceit, since well, you are tasked with doing some dangerous assignments. Stealing documents, planting bombs and hacking computers are just a few of the things I managed to partake in in the limited time I spent with the game during the demo.

counterspy_3Visually, CounterSpy is very stylized – contrasting colors set the mood between the two butting factions, although the game is far from being saturated. The Incredibles inspired cartoony approach given to CounterSpy would otherwise tone down the seriousness of the overall setting in the game, but thankfully the presentation is so well done that I couldn’t help but try to stick around and see as much of that demo as possible.

Sadly, the game didn’t agree with me. Okay, that’s not true. I just sucked at it. Granted, the demo itself wasn’t particularly difficult – I was just just playing horribly. Stealth in CounterSpy felt very approachable and forgiving. Knocking out enemies is quick and painless, as it is to engage in gun fights with enemies in the background. Much akin to the aforementioned Chair developed Shadow Complex, you can shoot towards the back of the level, taking cover between shots and getting the chance to aim in the general area of your target when your character is protecting himself.

All missions seem to build towards a points tally between the game’s factions, in what’s called the Defcon system. It wasn’t particularly clear how exactly you would influence the confllict outside of helping just one side, but I’d expect some sort of intrigue and double spying in the final game.

CounterSpy is set for release later this year on all Sony platforms.

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