With just eight weeks on the schedule, a mind full of nostalgia, fingertips at the ready, and the powerful and very flexible Unreal Engine 4 ready and willing to do their bidding, a small team of students from the French-Candian École NAD in Quebec, Canada, put together a fantastic little showcase of what Contra 2028 could be like in the Unreal Engine 4. The best part yet? You can play it for yourself if you have a decent enough rig.
With just eight members on the team and the encouragement of their teachers Jocelyn Benoit and Marc-André Houde, the youngsters put their minds to work and began flexing the capabilities of the Unreal Engine 4 with a third-person, action-oriented concept of Contra 2028. You can see what their hard work in just two months looks like with the demo reel below, as spotted by DSO Gaming.
So, as you can see there is more to it than just run-and-gun mechanics. Unlike other third-person shooter games out there, the NAD students decided to do something more with the concept. They included things like backwards sliding, and slowing down time, as well as mid-air jumps, and a little bit of tower-defense gameplay by being able to apply turrets around the area.
Now, obviously there are a few things that betray the game’s student-made status. For instance, when cocking the shotgun we see that the animations are too snappy, and his body wasn’t properly animated to react to the kick from the pump, instead it’s just kind of quick and jerky.
Additionally, while I have to praise them for the very smoothly animated hero character – and props to them by the way for making him look like a real man, it’s something we don’t see often enough these days – I do have to point out that there are stop gaps between the animation transitions. It almost looks like they’re running the basic animation scripts without blending the frames before the start and finish ready states, so we have that ever-so-slight pause between jumping and landing, or running and shooting. It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but once they smooth that out with the Unreal Engine 4’s animation tree blending, I think it can look even smoother yet.
The actual atmosphere, though, looks good. There’s object-oriented motion blur, the particle ambiance is put too good use with falling speckles to give the abandoned station an old and nature-usurped look, and the character design is pretty cool; the gruff beard and bandana works.
Overall, if you want to check out the demo you can download it from over on Contra 2028 Itch.io page.