Sometimes at shows like PAX, you catch games that aren’t quite ready for the spotlight. That often comes with pretense from the developer or publisher. You’ll know as you walk into the booth that the game is “very alpha” or “not quite ready for the public eye.”
As you’d expect, games like this are a mixed bag. In the case of Bruce, we have a title with potential that’s cornered by rough edges.
In Bruce, you play a detective looking for a girl? Maybe solving a murder? Honestly, I’m not sure, and that’s sort of where the trouble starts.
The game is a 2.5D shooter and brawler that’s an odd mix of Gunpoint with light hacking and Mark of the Ninja with environment exploration. It’s moody, dark, rainy and stinks of that fantastic cyberpunk detective style that I love.
The issue is right now that not a lot of it works too well. Bruce himself is stiff, often moving in slow and grueling motions that never feel consequential. The shooting has no impact, and enemies sort of drop as you pop five rounds into them with a slow crumple. The game has an assassination system that activates when you’re close enough to press Y on an enemy. They’ll die as you zoom in on the moment’s silhouette.
The level I played moved from left to right with spots missing action or objectives that lacked UI signaling. The rep moving me through the demo had to tell me where to go and what to do, often saying that something wasn’t ready or not there yet.
Everything about the experience feels extremely “in development.” The issue is that it was announced back in 2012, went quiet for a while and recently resurrected.
I’d say you should maybe keep an eye on Bruce if you’re into the genre, but I’m not sure this will shape out to be a great game. It’s a genre concept that I love, but the execution in its current state is mixed at best. It’s in the making, and it was a risk bringing the game to the show as it is today. That sort of showed.