January 26, 2007 - Just a few days ago we broke the official news that Midway would be bringing the sequel to its 2005 first-person shooter Area 51 to next-gen consoles and the PC. Dubbed BlackSite: Area 51, the game is currently in production at Midway Studios - Austin and scheduled for release this summer.
We had a chance to play a very small section of the game on Thursday, and while the demo only lasted somewhere around five minutes or so, we were left wanting a whole lot more. The first game was a pretty fun and solid shooter, but BlackSite looks to outdo it in every way possible with some forward-thinking play mechanics, a chaotic and moody atmosphere and an extremely tight and solid control scheme.
The section was played was called Rachel, named after the town that you've been sent to. Alien creatures have taken over the town and have killed most of its inhabitants, so you're sent in to quell the uprising and find any survivors. Moving in through the back door of a gas station's warehouse, we moved through the small building and into the main lobby of the station's store. Through the windows we could see one of the tall and lanky aliens ravaging a vehicle and the driver inside it. Firing off a clip or two of ammo through the windows only seemed to pester it, so we moved to our right and outside to do a little more damage.
A handful of these aliens make their way to the scene. When they're taken down by normal gunfire, their bodies give way but what appears to be their upper portion sometimes remains alive and quickly scurries at you along the ground to get in a few more licks. Taking these creatures out with more firepower, like a grenade, tends to shut it down all with one fell swoop.
As we fight around the gas pumps, cars are pelted with gunfire and become mangled and bent, exploding and leaping into the air when pushed far enough. Likewise, pieces of the environment splinter and chip away as the battle goes on, removing cover that once kept us safe. BlackSite: Area 51 has borrowed a bit of the tech from another Midway title, John Woo Presents Stranglehold, and while BlackSite doesn't allow quite as much destructibility as the third-person shooter, it does allow for plenty of environmental damage.
After the first area is clear, we move down the road a bit and up a hill towards a tanker. A helicopter flies overhead and warns of us some movement ahead. Just then, a few tentacle-legged aliens crawl over the tanker and towards us. Standing naturally at about six feet tall, these aren't as strong or tall as the first aliens we encountered, but they're quicker and tended to swarm our squad, even in small numbers.
Thanks to IGN.com for sharing the news with us!