E3 2010: Hands-On With Mindjack

By Colin Tan on July 2, 2010, 4:24PM EDT

Square Enix had an interesting plethora of non Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts games at their E3 booth this year. From Kane & Lynch 2 to Deus Ex: Human Revolution and even Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. However, even among these well known franchises, Square Enix had set up a demo booth for a new and interesting take on the third person shooter genre called Mindjack. The concept is simple, hack into the minds of others and make them you allies in order to fight against a corrupt organization in a world where cybernetics have become so commonplace that it threatens to "destroy the very core of humanity."

If that sounds a bit like Ghost in the Shell to you, then you're not alone, because it really does sound and feel like the same concepts. It was the first thing that crept into our dusty minds when we saw the game and felt the urge to try it out.

The story goes as such; the year is 2031 and technology and cybernetics have advanced to the point where it no longer contributes to society. In fact, it's doing just the opposite. As the governing power collapses, corrupt organizations rise to power and take advantage of said technology. It's up to the heroes Jim Corbin and Rebecca to lead a rogue team of agents in their fight for survival.

Mindjack is very much a modern day third person shooter, complete with regenerative health and even a cover system. What makes it interesting and different is the mind hacking capabilities. As though taking cue from Ghost in the Shell, players are able hack into the minds of others, inheriting their weapons and skills - in a way, it's also quite similar to The 3rd Birthday. Square Enix only had the multiplayer demo available but it did provide an amusing experience. While the controls were a bit dodgy, the overall concept was an interesting one. Speaking of which, Mindjack looks to offer a unique online experience. Instead of simply splitting the single player and online multiplayer components, the game looks to merge the two. Players will be able to "hack" into the story campaigns of others and either assist or fight against them. This melding of modes is certainly unique and sounds like there is plenty of potential.

While the game touts to be a virtual playground that can be altered by anyone "one hack at a time," the overall game mechanics and controls could definitely use improvement before its October release. The demo featured not only these unique mechanics, but plenty of bugs as well. One noticeable bug was in regards to the melee system, which features the infamous Krav Maga close combat style. While it looks really bad ass to perform - the camera changes view for a more dramatic and epic take down - it gets a bit ridiculous when the enemy doesn't stay down, especially after feeding him plenty of lead and performing the melee attack at least three times prior. There were also occurrences of my avatar simply melee attacking thin air. There's still a couple of months before its release so hopefully these issues will be addressed before then.

Mindjack is an interesting concept and quite reminiscent of Ghost in the Shell - that's a good thing. While the shooting mechanics are pretty addictive and solid, the game still has a couple of bugs that need to be ironed out before release. Regardless, Mindjack is certainly a game that has potential and one to look out for in the coming months.

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