MindJack Hands-On Preview


The idea established in Gamecube’s Geist takes a new host on the PS3 and 360 in Square Enix’s just-announced title, MindJack. The game features a full campaign mode, though only the multiplayer was available for demo at E3 this year, but this is where it gets weird. Essentially, you play as a disembodied brain. Seriously, the main character in multiplayer and single-player is an immaterial brain that takes shape only when it possesses a wide variety of hosts (in third person), ranging from strippers to bodybuilders to soldier to cops to drones to cybernetic gorillas. Intrigued?

The multiplayer rounds unfolded in three parts, beginning with a limited scope of available characters and expanding based on the environments. Unfortunately, the controls involve an extremely steep learning curve. Though the buttons are all mapped in a fairly intuitive manner, the aiming system feels a little off-center for an over-the-shoulder third person shooter, making for some messy lined-up shots, especially with the sniper rifle and rocket launcher. The rolling and cover systems are fairly similar to Gears of War, though this multiplayer build featured more of a click-to-release mechanic than in the Gears games.

The really interesting aspect of a game involving body-snatching, especially for multiplayer, will undoubtedly be balance. Of course, with the variety of character types (some only available on certain teams), it’s easy to see how an imbalance could bring about a quick and unsatisfying end to the multiplayer experience. Thankfully, each team is only afforded a certain number of weapon types, in addition to limited ammo for the characters involved. And the larger class characters like the gorilla run out of health fairly quickly, causing players to switch often between available hosts. The strategy behind host rotation is the real focus for this game (which can be done in search mode with a simple push of the right trigger), so knowing where your allies and opponents are holds greater weight than their individual abilities.

Ultimately, with some refinement of the mechanics behind the third-person aiming and shooting, and perhaps a more seamless method of host transition, MindJack offers some real promise for Square Enix to continue strongly in the shooter genre when it hits shelves this October.


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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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