I’ve played a bit, and am impressed by the dark clarity of the graphics, the ability to blow up lots of stuff, some fairly cool scripted events and the between-mission poker games (success in which boosts your power and ammo in the next mission).
However, I’m put off by the no-in-game-saves policy, and I’m not even a save-anywhere guy. Hand doesn’t even have checkpoints or the ability to earn saves, a la Daikatana (one of the few things that game did right). You have to finish the mission, and then your game is automatically saved.
Sorry. Think Outlaws. It’s an inexpensive ($20) but hi-gloss western shooter from Atari–created by Human Head (whose previous credits include Rune and the Blair Witch Vol. 2; as I recall, they were also rumored to be doing Daikatana 2 until the Daikatana franchise was, um, uninvented). You’ve been left for dead by your gang, and you take off for the ghost town where they’re hiding out to settle the score.
I like it. The no save is a pain but the levels are short enough to not really matter. Graphics are very western (read: brown) but sweet for all that. I like the pseudo-physics that result in a lot of exagerrated Western style fall-out-of-a-saloon death shots. For $20, it’s more than worth it.
What does that mean, exactly? I like enormous over-the-top explosions. I like everything burning, flying around and breaking. For example, I enjoyed Otogi because everything could be broken and you can actually smash a hole in the ground. I am currently playing Metal Arms and I really appreciate the exaggerated way the robots explode in a fountain of tiny burning bits.
So if you say you can blow up lots of stuff, I’m interested. How does it look?
Let me just say it’s substantially better than the Xbox version, based on having played through five levels or so of the PC version thus far. It runs smoothly, you hit where the aiming reticle is pointed, and loading times aren’t as bad, so that’s three major plusses right there. It also looks a lot better, relatively speaking, though I’m sorry to say it’s no Far Cry. Haven’t found anyone playing multiplayer yet.
The game looks super, but from what I’ve seen so far, Dead Man’s hand isn’t up to that level of destruction. Only certain types of objects can be destroyed or thrown around by explosions. But there are a good number of black-powder barrels lying around and they can be rolled around so that, if they can’t do much damage where you find them, you can coax them into a position where they can. (It’s also worth noting that, the more you destroy in fancy ways, the more points you get toward unlocking trick shots.)