Picking apart the hype of new and classic video games.

New Mindjack ad campaign: more public urination, less robots

The mind hacker in Square's unusual pre-release trailer apparently needs to work on his technique.

Tomorrow marks the North American release of Square-Enix’s third-person, telepathic shooter Mindjack, however it appears the Japanese RPG-maker is struggling to explain the game concept with a straight face.

Last year Mindjack played prominently in Square’s 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo lineup with a poorly received trailer that combined all the hallmarks of a doomed Japanese IP – shoddily voiced exposition from the Time Crisis guy, giant hover mechs and only momentary glimpses of wonky gameplay footage.

The kick-you-in-the-shins crowd at Unskippable jumped on the trailer (jump to 3:40 the mark) almost immediately for its goofiness and the message seems to have hit home for Square’s marketing department, which released a bizarre new trailer on January 8 titled “Be careful what you jack,” featuring a 20-something mentally commanding his dog to walk itself, with comical results.

Butt sniffing jokes aside, the trailer is suspiciously devoid of any new clips from the game and viewers seem to be universally confused about the video.

The game itself sounds interesting, you fight through a series of Gears of War-style, chest high wall-centric firefights with the added ability to hijack the minds of enemies and turn them against their comrades in a battle against a shadowy government/giant technology company duo, adding a little strategy to the affair.

A recent IGN preview by editor Ryan Clements hints at an interesting online dynamic in which players can drop into your single player game as the opposing force, essentially “hacking” your experience, however none of the release information from Square shows that they are making much effort to publicize what could be the product’s most innovative feature.

Beyond the hacker/host gameplay, Clements seems unimpressed with Mindjack‘s “stubborn aiming” which makes moving through the environment a dicey proposition.

Mindhack marks the most recent attempt for Square-Enix to break out of the RPG market largely ignored this holiday season by American gamers and develop a profitable action IP stateside. Tomorrow we will follow the reviews as they roll in and see if the dog is worth a wag.

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