SAN FRANCISCO–THQ, which is best known for kids games based on Hollywood franchises like “Cars,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” and “Jimmy Neutron,” has jumped into the new generation of game consoles with some pretty impressive games for older guys. The company had an assortment of titles playable at a recent press event and I was able to give them a test drive.
One of the games that really stood out was “Frontlines: Fuel of War,” a PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC combat game that looks as impressive as Ubisoft’s “Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter” in the visual department, but brings a whole different fighting mentality to the table. Like real warfare, this game is all about positioning on the frontline, which will move forward or backward depending on how you fight. While the single-player mode has its own merit, it’s the multiplayer mode that truly impressed me. There were 50 players engaged in combat, both on foot and in tanks and vehicles in an active battlefield. Players were based out of New York, Los Angeles and at the San Francisco event and there was nary a lag to complain about. Factor in this is a game that won’t ship for months, and things are looking good.
Atari crashed and burned with the last “Stuntman” game for PS2, but THQ has resurrected the franchise for PS3 and Xbox 360 and these machines look to give it the mileage it needs for a fun ride. The game sends you through Hollywood sets that require all type of driving stunts. How fast you achieve these objectives gives you points. There are a variety of game modes, many of which rush by, that will give this game long life. It reminded me of the original “Driver,” which had so many options on PlayStation that it never grew old. “Stuntman,” which was created by the same developer at Atari, was plagued by a steep learning curve. This new incarnation is plug-and-play fun.
Anyone wondering how mass market Xbox 360 has become needs only to look at “Ratatouille,” the latest Disney/Pixar game from THQ. There are Wii, Xbox 360 and even PS3 versions of this game shipping this summer with the film’s release. And like “Cars,” the entire cast of the film is on board for this game. The Wii game was built separately from the rest, and the Xbox 360 and PS3 games were also done differently, which should make for unique experiences on every platform.