During our meeting with Microsoft, we had a chance to get our hands on Tao Feng. Even though representatives said that the game was only 50 percent completed, the game looked very good and had many of their signature features already implemented. The environmental interaction system was probably the most intriguing aspect of the game. The ability of doing special moves off of items, walls, and poles add another level of interaction unseen in fighting games. The character damage system was fully functional and looked great. Between and at the end of rounds, the camera panned around the character, showing cuts, bruises and slashed clothing. The environmental damage system was in a limited form in the version we saw; nonetheless, if Studio Gigante can fully implement their vision of arenas being trashed and destroyed by each battle, Tao Feng will be revolutionary in the graphics department.
With respect to gameplay, Tao Feng shares a few Killer Instinct overtones. While we won’t see 20 or 30 hit KI-style combos, the combo system is similar with respect to the emphasis on timing hits in a somewhat rhythmic style. Combos cannot be executed by just pressing the sequence quickly like in most fighters. Players have to pay attention to the animation of their character throughout the sequence in order to notice clues on when to execute the next hit.
In addition to the combos system, the life meters and round system are similar to KI. When one fighter’s life meter is extinguished, the game cuts to a scene of the character collapsing to the ground. Once the fighter gets up, the game refills that fighter’s life meter and readies the two fighters to continue, while the other fighter maintains whatever life they had. For example, one character could be at 50 percent of his first life meter while the other character is at 70 percent of their second life meter. In the build of the game we played, the number of life meters was set to three; however, that number can be set in the options menu.
The game still has about ten months left in development and still has few more features to be added like the ability to transition battles into a new arena by breaking through walls or doors. The team still has a significant time to tweak and improve anything and everything. But from what we saw and played, Tao Feng is shaping up to be a very impressive title.
Check out more details in the GameSpot article, including details on 'chi' attacks and limb breaks.