E3 2015 – Hollowpoint Hands-On Preview: 2D Evolved
Since the introduction of 3D environments the number of titles pushing the envelope of what is possible on a 2D plane has been drastically decreasing over time, but thankfully, it has not been completely forgotten. While at E3 2015 I was able to get my hands on an interesting game called Hollowpoint, that uses a mixture of standard horizontal combat combined with the ability to aim into the background to give it one of the most interesting takes on 2.5D gameplay I have seen in some time.
To understand the combat in Hollowpoint you will have to imagine a completely linear game that works like any standard 2D shooter. With little more than the ability to move left or right, you are able to aim at enemies that are on your plane of existence, making Hollowpoint look very basic at first. While you can aim up and down, you are generally locked into your plane, but if you click in the aim button, your character will turn to face the background and your controls now allow you to shoot anything that could be rushing you from that direction.
The combination of combat switching between multiple axis’ is an interesting concept, especially since the whole demo retained the feeling as if it was a side-scrolling shooter, but with enough elements to keep things interesting. The biggest advantage I noticed from the start was that there was less of a reliance of multiple enemies coming in from the margins of the screen, as you can see them enter combat through doors in the backdrop, use cover and keep you pinned down in a much more natural way that you would normally only see in a 3D title.
From Every Angle
While the multidimensional aspect of Hollowpoint is interesting, it wouldn’t be much if it didn’t have a strong foundation of mechanics to push its gameplay. Supporting up to four simultaneous players playing at the same time, each soldier is fully upgradable with a variety of weapons, armor sets and power-ups to help them get through missions. While enemy fire will be coming from every angle, this doesn’t mean that players will not have the ability to play at different paces if they choose, as no one is locked to their teammates location. During my hands-on time, I was able to mix between using a dash ability to flank around enemies, as well as hiding behind cover so that I could be both aggressive and defensive depending on the situation.
On top of the already discussed mechanics, the other aspect that will really make Hollowpoint an interesting addition to the world of 2D shooters, is that it uses procedurally generated levels and missions. Before a mission starts, rooms are spliced together to create a map for players to work their way through, but as they progress, missions will be dynamically generated to keep things interesting. For example, one of the missions that I saw required us to save a prisoner, who was locked behind a security gate that we needed to find the key to unlock, but then later on, a new area was flooded with enemy soldiers and would need to be handled, which kept the pacing of moving from one task to another pretty solid.
While Hollowpoint is still early in development, a number of the aspects which were shown off during this event performed quite well, leaving me to think that if everything stays on track, this is going to be a great title for anyone looking for a fun 2D shooter to play around in with some friends. So, make sure to stay tuned to PlayStation LifeStyle for more news and updates regarding this title and many others as we wait for it to launch sometime in 2015.