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Outland Hits PSN This Spring With Co-Op, Arcade Modes

Sid Shuman's Avatar + Posted by Sid Shuman on Mar 17, 2011 // Senior Manager, Social Media

Outland for PS3 (PSN)

Last fall I was introduced to Outland, a side-scrolling PSN action game that casts you as an urban nobody turned spiritual warrior. The dreamlike visuals, acrobatic platforming and sharp swordplay showed plenty of promise. Since then, developer Housemarque (creators of Dead Nation and Super Stardust HD) has fleshed out the game with a more fluid feel and gameplay depth that will make fans of the classic 2D side-scroller Castlevania: Symphony of the Night beam with delight.

A gorgeous introductory cinematic introduces you to the protagonist’s plight. As a nameless, faceless modern-day city dweller, you’re haunted by visions of a vast wheel endlessly turning. Maddened by the hallucinations, you seek out a shaman who guides you on a path of spiritual awakening and an uncomfortable truth: You’ve been chosen to fight in a timeless, cyclical battle with a pair of god-like Sisters who created the world and now seek to destroy it. Lucky you! “The Sisters are the final bosses in the game,” Producer Adam Sarasohn confirms. “They are the ones causing this conflict.” You’ll learn this firsthand in the opening moments of the game when you dive into a playable vision set 30,000 years in the past. Re-living the conflict as an ancient hero, your spiritual predecessor, this short flashback sets up the final struggle against the Sisters but cuts away just as the ominous battle begins.

Outland for PS3 (PSN)Outland for PS3 (PSN)

Outland for PS3 (PSN)

Outland’s sword-based action, fluid acrobatics and free-roaming exploration will strike a chord with fans of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, but there’s a twist: You can shift between blue and red energy alignments with a quick tap of the L2 button. In the blue form, you’re immune to blue projectiles and enemies but vulnerable to red threats, and vice-versa. You’ll need sharp eyes and keen timing to best Outland’s most challenging moments, which flood the screen with dizzying color-coded projectile patterns complete with enemies and platforms to negotiate.

Luckily, your protagonist runs, jumps, and climbs with limber grace and swings a sword like he means it. Over time, his abilities evolve to include a sliding attack (also useful for accessing secret crawlspaces), a stone-shattering stomp, extended wall-hanging stamina and and more. These skills will be especially valuable during the game’s massive boss battles, such as one epic encounter that pits you against a telekinetic High Priestess who attacks by hurling pieces of the surrounding environment at you. “After a while,” Sarasohn teases, “the entire room breaks apart and starts falling, and you’re jumping up pieces of rubble while you fight her in mid-air.”

Outland for PS3 (PSN): UnderWorld

In addition to its single-player quest, Outland includes an Arcade mode that challenges experts to speed-run through scenarios with the highest score possible. But at PAX East, Sarasohn also revealed that Outland includes online two-player cooperative play that comes in two distinct flavors: Story Co-op and Co-op Challenge rooms. While playing the Story mode with a friend, you’ll occasionally find and unlock a Co-op Challenge room that warps the established gameplay rules. One example tasks you with controlling the color of your partner and yourself — a tall order when the air is thick with red-and-blue projectiles and you’re only worried about saving your own skin. Then, in a sadistic twist halfway through this particular Co-op Challenge, your partner assumes color control. Gulp!

If you’re wondering why Outland’s co-op modes are limited to online play, Sarasohn says it’s for a good reason. Split-screen co-op was definitely not an option. “We wanted each player to have a full screen so they can see all the puzzles and not have to make blind jumps.” And though developer Housemarque had experimented with a co-op mode that constrained both players to one screen, they ultimately abandoned the concept because it proved too frustrating.

Outland for PS3 (PSN)Outland for PS3 (PSN)

Outland is scheduled to hit PSN in late April or May. Have questions about the play style? Confused by the co-op features? Shocked by Housemarque’s departure from dual-stick shooters? Let us know in the comments.

//Add Your Own

67 Comments   8 Replies

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51

+ zacchi on March 17th, 2011 at 10:16 pm said:

there’s a new trailer here

http://www.siliconera.com/2011/03/17/outland-is-an-action-platformer-with-a-touch-of-ikaruga/


52

+ PhantomOfPanton on March 18th, 2011 at 12:18 am said:

I would probably buy if it were a PSN exclusive, as I love supporting exclusives! But multiplatforms need the love too! This looks pretty beautiful! Stunning :)

Maybe I’ll pick it up!


53

+ blakseed on March 18th, 2011 at 12:18 am said:

Mattsta001

Good thing Sony doesn’t need 3rd party exclusives to hold the PSN up. I’m sure they have better things to do with their money like securing true exclusives.


54

+ Christian399 on March 18th, 2011 at 1:58 am said:

@48 Ha! Like WKC 2/ PSP which releases in just over a month (in Europe) and yet we haven’t seen a single promotion, trailer, screen-shot or announcement of it’s (North American) existence.

I’m starting to get the feeling that unless its a shooter or AAA action game, Sony doesn’t care.


55

+ sNsKid on March 18th, 2011 at 2:02 am said:

Looks interesting. Much like Q-Games, anything Housemarque releases I’ll buy. lol


56

+ sNsKid on March 18th, 2011 at 2:05 am said:

Didn’t realize this was going to be on 360 as well. Debut trailer [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYmfcTnroBc]


57

+ blakseed on March 18th, 2011 at 2:54 am said:

@49

I think you missed the point I was trying to make.


58

+ WhiteF8ng on March 18th, 2011 at 5:37 am said:

Looks like they borrowed the light and dark switching from Castlevania:LOS or is it vice versa?


59

+ nerdmanwhippy on March 18th, 2011 at 8:11 am said:

Man this looks awesome. Probably going to have to wait a long time for it to go on sale though. So busy with too many other games, and knowing these guys it’ll be $14.99 which there’s nothing wrong with that, except that there’s probably at least 50 other great games on the network for $9.99 or under. Not to mention since I picked up dead nation I’ve only played 1 level so far, and not cause it’s bad, just because I don’t have time for all the games I have right now lol.


60

+ reson8er on March 18th, 2011 at 9:00 am said:

This looks really interesting. I can’t wait to see gameplay videos, or better yet play a demo. Love the work Housemarque puts out.


61

+ wilflare on March 18th, 2011 at 9:24 am said:

@57
hmm which point?


62

+ Arcadian_Rebel on March 18th, 2011 at 1:04 pm said:

Looks decent. Not a fan of 2D games though.


63

+ plaztiksyke on March 18th, 2011 at 1:05 pm said:

lack of local co-op is a bit of a turn-off, but I *love* the art style. Most 2.5D games forego decent lighting/casting/shader effects for some reason, but this looks beautiful. Hopefully the character animations are a little more dynamic than in Dead Nation (stomp/swipe never seemed to adjust for collisions, etc).

Will it render in 1080p natively? Who’s doing the music? HD audio?


64

+ XenoNative on March 18th, 2011 at 10:11 pm said:

ooooooooo pretty


65

+ digiboy123 on March 18th, 2011 at 11:51 pm said:

I love side-scrolling games: Trine, Klonoa, Crash Commando as a few examples.

I’d love to see some gameplay of this.


66

+ Enigma777 on March 19th, 2011 at 8:07 pm said:

Ikaruga meets Prince of Persia? I’m all over this!


67

+ Zeer0id on March 20th, 2011 at 4:36 am said:

This looks gorgeous and the gameplay seems to be right up my alley. And Housemarque. Brimming with excitement!


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