It’s very apparent at first sight that Ripout is absolutely in love with 80’s horror. Its retrofuture interiors and lumpy body horror should fire plenty of nostalgia neurons for fans of The Thing or Alien. But as its aesthetics are clearly in the past, the gameplay makes a valiant attempt at moving the co-op shooter into a newer, less crowded direction. Ripout chooses patient and deliberate room-sweeping over colorful and frantic bullet storms against waves of bad guys – a sort of Doom 3-esque experience, but with friends. And though I only had a small window of time to stalk its corridors, Ripout has the makings of a premier horror space shooter without notable contemporaries.

In Ripout, humanity made a bioweapon to fend off an alien invasion which backfired, creating a dangerous race of mutants that sent the human race barreling towards extinction. In the year 2084, Team Human is down bad and needs to do desperate and dangerous things to get a leg up on the enemy. Within the limits of the demo I took with the team at Pet Project Games, that meant flying out into a derelict freighter, shooting our way though fleshy bad guys to complete objectives, and getting out safely.

As an elite special forces-like operative, you never leave headquarters without your trusty pet gun, a byproduct of all this bioweapon experimentation. It’s a conventional shotgun, long gun, or assault weapon, with a little critter under slung. That little beast is most useful for hunting other small creatures that populate the field. After you sic your pet on them, they drag them back to you, giving you a new temporary ability like a sturdy shield or a powerful melee claw. It’s difficult to intentionally swipe power ups to min-max your loadout since they all appear randomly, but every pickup feels useful, so I didn’t feel any buyer’s remorse, or whatever the space-bug-assimilation equivalent would be.

After you sic your pet on them, they drag them back to you, giving you a new temporary ability like a sturdy shield or a powerful melee claw.

Enemies came in two basic forms in the demo: a quick dog-like minion and a bigger, humanoid brute with limbs of metal and flesh. They spawn from gore piles and bloody nests littered around the stage, pulling themselves free to tear you to pieces. They’re pretty easy to dispatch on their own, but like you, they can attach those smaller creatures to themselves to expand their own combat capabilities. Most can only attach one, but some can attach two or three, making them truly superior threats. When this happens, your pet can become more essential than bullets, as they can shear these new limbs off of enemies, distract them while you get to relative safety, or under certain circumstances, execute them outright. I really liked how dynamic this made every encounter, knowing that if given time, your enemies will adapt as necessary to defeat you.

Each mission in Ripout will be procedurally generated. What that meant in the few times I ran through the demo is that even if particular rooms are shaped mostly the same run to run, the locations of doors, roguelike style run-based power-ups, and enemies were mostly different. The sub-objectives – the stuff you’ll do to progress through the ship one locked chamber at a time – change each game as well. Tasks like opening X amount of crates or checking Y amount of corpses is never more than mundane and forgettable, but the atmosphere helps keep the trip tense. Besides not knowing which of the heaps of biomass will shutter to life or not, there’s also constant jump scares, like doors glitching out or vents bursting open. Most of the time they’re just to keep you on your toes, but every once in a while they become new spawn points for enemies. But mixed with the pretty excellent sound cues, there’s a great horror movie vibe throughout the deployment.

Mixed with the pretty excellent sound cues, there’s a great horror movie vibe throughout.

I would have loved to see this implemented more elaborately, but as it’s just a demo, there were limitations. Other things promised in the full release include a weapon mod and crafting system along with character classes and specializations, which could go a long way to adding variety and depth to the co-op experience. There’s admittedly not much to see here as it stands. But the Ripout demo serves as a great proof of concept for a new twist on the online shooter.

Source: IGN Video Games All

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