Games might be the only medium where an incomplete product can be successfully marketed to the public. It’s with that in mind that a game like "Epsilon" can offer an interesting type of fun in teasing the promise of a completed product.
Developed by Seattle-based indie gaming outfit Serellan, "Epsilon" is a first-person shooter with a tactical bent. Those active in late-’90s PC gaming will instantly be reminded of the first few "Rainbow Six" installments, which emphasized careful planning as much as they did gun fights.
Before an assault, the player surveys a map of the location, selecting waypoints in which a four-person squad will travel. Security cameras grant the player a look inside, as well as the ability to note enemy locations and routes.
After years of games largely dedicated to running and gunning, "Epsilon" offers a return to the thinking man’s shooter.
Those inclined to simply storm the gates and blast away will find themselves in a place of failure, as the brass frowns upon dead hostages. Not only that, the damage inflicted by an enemy’s rifle is comparable to real life — which is to say death can come easily.
A few minutes of careful planning pays dividends once the action starts. Squad commands are limited but likely to be expanded as development continues.
Of course, a lack of polish is to be expected for a game at this stage. As of now, the player only has access to one level and a handful of weapons, with more to be added as development progresses. Enemy AI is still wobbly, with opposition forces occasionally making glaringly idiotic decisions. Graphics have a slick, glossy sheen, the result of a near-future setting and comic book cutscenes that tell the story, which involves battling human traffickers and terrorist groups.
Since early adopters will receive additional content for free, $8 seems like a wise investment for the interested gamer as the retail price inevitably climbs.
Epsilon has a long way to go, but it’s an indie title with some big potential.