E3 Quick Play: March of Heroes - iPad

A tablet is for checking emails and surfing the web right? Okay maybe if you’re lucky a couple of retro games with graphics that would make the Sega Dreamcast look like the greatest thing you’ve ever seen? Wrong, and Gameloft are out to prove it.

March of Heroes is the company’s latest efforts in proving to us that the iPad is not only a great gaming platform, but one that is coming after your console, in a big way.

We caught up with the guys from the company at a behind closed doors briefing at this year’s E3 to get a glimpse of the new game in action and have a play for ourselves.

Name

March of Heroes

What platform is it on?

iPad

When's it due out?

Autumn 2011

What other game is it like?

Any other First Person Shooter set in World War II

Does it use any new tech like 3D, PlayStation Move, or Kinect for Xbox 360?

No – it’s on the iPad

The pitch

March of Heroes is a first person shooter powered by the unreal engine. The title features an extensive single player campaign and up to 10-player multiplayer across five game modes and five maps. The game also features a licensed soundtrack with songs such as David Bowie "The Man Who Sold The World", Jefferson Airplanes "Volunteers" and Fleetwood Mac "Black Magic Woman". March of Heroes is in development for iPhone, iPad (including iPad 2 optimisation) and Android devices, with a release date expected in Q3.

The storyline

Set during the Cold War, Vietnam and Afghanistan you're a soldier battling the forces of evil.

Trailers, demoes, and video


Our first impressions

Eager to play, we quickly kicked off our demo dude (well the PR Manager for the company) and started up March of Heroes for the iPad. Using the Unreal engine from Epic, which if you’re keen enough you can see in action in a free demo called Epic Citadel in the App Store, the first thing you’ll notice is that the graphics look, for the iPad, amazing.

We played it on an iPad 2 and noticed zero lag in our brief play. How that fairs with performance on the original iPad we couldn’t say, but it’s a given that it’s not going to be as quick.

As we take out enemy troops one by one, it’s clear this is pushing the tablet to it’s maximum. There are vistas, there are trees, and there is blood splattering. It’s pretty impressive stuff and something we weren’t expecting to see this early in the iPad 2’s life cycle.

If a relatively small company like Gameloft can do this just wait until the likes of EA, Activision and Ubisoft get involved.

Graphics is one thing, but what about gameplay? After all if it’s a dog, or the AI’s rubbish you’ll soon get disappointed.

While we nowhere near played enough to rate whether the campaign level has legs, or whether the multiplayer is all that Gameloft says it’s cracked up to be, we can say that the enemies we tried to take out were vicious buggers.

Controls are similar to previous Gameloft games and to some will come across as slightly confusing to begin with.

Your left hand controls basic movement, while your right is left to control line of sight as well as firing, sights, grenades, and other weapon choices. At times other action buttons will appear elsewhere on the screen and you can also opt to crouch or laydown – there’s a button for that too.

As you can imagine trying to emulate an Xbox 360 or PS3 controller on screen is hard and Gameloft really are doing the best they can.

Our first attempt failed, so did our second, but by the third we had cracked it.

Based on the time we spent with March of Heroes, it looks to promise hardcore gamers what they are looking for – a decent FPS for the iPad with the graphics to match.

Of course, if Apple would allow third party controller support like Google’s Honeycomb OS we would be in for a real treat.

Please note

The E3 games convention is a fantastic chance to see the latest games due out over the coming year, as well as, letting us get a glimpse into what is going to be the big titles and the ones to avoid like the plague.

The big problem however is that for most of the titles that glimpse is, well, just that. At the show you'll get to play a level here or a multiplayer map there or even have a product manager walk you through a specific level.

So with that in mind we present you with our Quick Play.

What we've done is broken down the key facts you need to know and then given you our first impressions based on around 15 minutes of gaming. For us that 15 minutes isn't enough to do a First Look review or even a review. How can you rate a game that offers over 30 hours of gaming on just 15 minutes of play? However it should hopefully give you an idea, a feeling, a notion, of what to expect come launch day.