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E3 2011: Toy Soldiers Cold War Hands-On

by on06/09/2011
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Last year Signal Studios captured the inner child of gamers young and old with the game Toy Soldiers. Now the team is back for some more toy warfare with Toy Soldiers: Cold War. The game moves from its World War time frame to the 80s. If you loved the first game you are going to love this game.

The team at Signal dug in and listened to user feedback to further the fun and action of Toy Soldiers. For example, they revamped the game’s destruction. Now the entire environment can be ripped apart during your battles. Buildings and trees split and crumble much more realistically when getting bombarded. But don’t worry. There are many more awesome changes besides the new destruction.

There is also a new “barrage” specials which will be awarded to players after raking up enough chained kills. But in order to chain the kills, you need to be controlling one of your units. The carnage specials range from large mortar bombardments, to the muscle commando wrecking havoc. The next change to gameplay are the vehicles on the maps. Now each vehicle has a power meter, and as you use them you lose power, but there will be batteries placed on the maps allowing you to extend their life. Once they run out of juice, though, they re-spawn after some time, but the batteries won’t.

The different units and vehicles have obviously been updated with the times, and have some neat upgrades including secondary attacks. My favorite is the max level mortar which is now a missile truck that can release a barrage of missiles destroying a large swath of enemy. So far my favorite vehicle is the helicopter which has lock-on missiles and a chain gun. It’s very helpful in many situations.

There is also a neat rewind type feature which will allow you to replay the final waves before you lose instead of having to replay the entire mission. This should help those who would play for 20 minutes just to have a bad set-up going into the boss wave.

The other changes being made to Toy Soldiers come in the game;s modes. Co-op and split-screen multiplayer are available now. Now you can play on the same couch or via Xbox Live with your friends. There has also been some major adjustments made to the survival mode, the difficulty has been smoothed out a bit and now the mode is much more fun and less frustrating. But the real replay time consumer will be the new mini-games. These mini-games are scored and will each have a leaderboard giving you a chance to make a name for yourself. The mini-games range from having to shoot lots of enemies with different power weapons, to controlling a shell through various spinning wheels with holes in them. The mini-games are quick pick-up-and-play games that will become very addicting.

Toy Soldiers: Cold War is an amazing sequel to one of my favorite XBLA games of 2010. The folks at Signal Studios have an amazing drive and desire to deliver a fun experience. All the changes being made to the game, from the modes to the mechanics, are amazing and will be welcomed by many. The team is already planning DLC but won’t say what, and they will be bringing the original Toy Soldiers to PC. They even hinted at a possible port to the Windows Phone. If you loved Toy Soldiers last year, you are in for a big treat this summer when the game launches as part of Xbox 360′s Summer of Arcade.

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