E3 2011: 505 Games Booth Tour

We were fortunate enough to be invited to the private booth for 505 Games, a relatively new publisher, but one that is making a splash…  literally this year, as they were showing off their new Michael Phelps: Push the Limit for the Xbox 360 Kinect.  Along side the swimming sensation, 505 Games was showing off a number of new games, but we got our hands directly on Supremacy MMA, a new 1-on-1 MMA fighter game and Backbreaker Vengeance, an addictive football skills games.  After a few minutes with each game, it was pretty clear which would be on our wish list.  We’ll start with the highlight – Backbreaker Vengeance.  Expanding on the original Backbreaker title, Vengeance’s tag line is “It’s takedown or touchdown!” – and that is exactly what you’ll be doing.  On offense you have one goal – score a touchdown.  Anything less is failure.  On defense you’re looking for the big hit and to stop the touchdown.  With three modes (each with its own online multiplayer leaderboard), the strength of Vengeance is that there is no down time.  Get tackled short of the goal line and you are immediately thrown back to the 20 yard line to try your skills again at spinning, jumping or just bulldozing your way back to the endzone.  With virtually no loading time between attempts, the game has an addictive quality to it.  The graphics are very nice, and the game uses a physics based character system such that no two tackles are the same – and they all looked great.  If you’re a fan of football and want to focus on a skills-type play where big hits, touchdowns and showboating are your goal, Backbreaker Vengeance is for you.

Next up was Supremacy MMA – which is, to some extent, what you would expect – a one-on-one streetfighter-esq MMA fighting game.  The title features 10 different characters, each with their own MMA styles, a story mode, and full online support.  While the fighting styles strive for authenticity, the locales are more interesting than an official MMA stadium setting – so you can choose to fight in a prison or an underground fighting hall, among others.  The gameplay features the ability to target specific weakened body parts on your opponent and then focus on that weakened body part for a critical-hit type take down or knock-out.  Good graphics and a wide variety of fighting styles and techniques will make for a very nice fighter game for those who like the genre.

Last up was Michael Phelps: Push the Limit.  Perhaps we didn’t give this a full chance, or perhaps we are not the target audience, but this game seemed rather shallow in its gameplay.  The races consist of pumping up the crowd, bending over to “get set” and diving into the water at the gun.  There are four strokes available, but the reality is that you are going back and forth in an Olympic-sized pool, generally making the same motions the whole time.  While the ability to do that consistently and quickly in reality is part of what makes swimming exciting and what makes Phelps incredible to watch, it doesn’t really translate to a video game.