jump to navigation

inFamous Demo Impression May 18, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Demo, PS3.
Tags:
4 comments

InFamous

A bit of an interesting one, this. A sandbox game that has seen a lot of comparisons to Crackdown. The demo doesn’t give too much of the story away, but you play as a man called Cole caught up in an explosion that tears through the city. He awakes from a coma two weeks later to find that he has gained special powers – the ability to manipulate electricity. Rather generously, the demo gifts you with some of these powers to start with.

The first mission in the demo is to free a group of citizens being held prisoner on a train and requires you to power up and move the train using your newly acquired abilities. You will be periodically stopped along the way and forced to fight and this basically serves as a tutorial. When you switch to combat mode the camera changes to an over-the-shoulder-style perspective in which you can rapidly fire bolts of electricity. Other attacks include an electricity grenade and something similar to the force push from Force Unleashed. The enemies were rather disappointing and amounted to nothing more than generic thugs, although they do put up a fair fight and this is where things start to get annoying. It can often seem like Cole takes far too much damage at times and the enemies have pinpoint accuracy from great distances which becomes very irritating.

After that mission is completed, the demo gives you a taste of the karma system which changes depending on your actions, and also alters your abilities. For example, a plague has spread across the city and if you find an infected citizen you can heal them with your powers for good karma, or sap their energy for negative karma. In the next mission (fixing a contaminated water supply) your karma is automatically set to evil and in doing so, your powers become much more explosive and destructive.

The platform elements, while not as fun or tight as Crackdown, are still pretty decent. It feels a lot more similar to Assassin’s Creed or Prince of Persia in the way that you scale the buildings. Pretty much every ledge, pole and wall is scalable in some way and used to your advantage during a fight. or another and Grinding on telephone wires and railway tracks is also fun.

I was already planning on getting the game, but this demo has sold me on the game a little more. There were a few negatives I noticed. The framerate can drop quite a bit when there is a lot going on, and the draw distance and amount of jaggies are disappointing. It also doesn’t warn you if you stray too far from your mission area, and instead instantly fails you and restarts from the last checkpoint. Also, there were a few occasions during a mission where, after a cutscene, it started me of in a pre-determined position regardless of where I was before. This resulted in me being showered with bullets and dying on one occasion. However, despite all that I am still looking forward to this. I liked the dark, gritty feeling of the city and the potential for a unique take on the traditional superhero story. Shaping up to be a promising sandbox game, InFamous is out on May 29th.

Killzone 2 Demo Impressions February 7, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Demo, Feature, PS3.
Tags:
1 comment so far

killzone2_1

I’m not going to beat around the bush, this demo left me unimpressed. I never get drawn into hype when it comes to big game releases so I was left scratching my head after a few playthroughs of the demo. The visuals have been highly praised but, while I did find them impressive and very atmospheric, I can thing of a few more that have wowed me more recently – Gears of War 2 immediately springs to mind.  I liked the shooting mechanics, the weapons all have a nice, weighty feel to the way they fire but the cover system felt rather out of place – almost like an afterthought. Also, throughout the whole demo I couldn’t stop thinking about Haze, but that’s probably because the dialogue was on par with it. The demo only contains two short sections and lasts for around 10 minutes. Since the multiplayer is going to be a big focus I would have liked the opportunity to give it a try but that wasn’t included.

I never like comparing demos to the full game but if this is representative of the finished product then I will be slightly disappointed. I have read a few reviews from “big” sites and I saw nothing in this demo that showed it has potential to be in the same league as triple-A shooters such as Halo 3, Half-Life 2 and COD4. It’s almost as if Killzone 2 is receiving special treatment. I won’t be cancelling my preorder or anything drastic like that like that (can’t pass up a special edition steelbook) but my anticipation has lessened after this.

Halo Wars Demo Impressions February 5, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Demo, Feature, Halo 3, Uncategorized, Xbox 360.
Tags:
3 comments

halo-wars-1355

I hadn’t really paid much attention to any previews or videos of this, mostly because I”m never usually interested in RTS games – Company of Heroes being the exception. I’m impressed as it’s a lot better than I expected. The control system is very basic and easy to get to grips with. You don’t have to click through menu after menu to select units/build bases etc. There are some nice touches with unit’s special powers such as the UNSC’s controlable orbital laserbeam o’ death. The graphics are pretty good, particularly the FMVs, although the framerate seems to suffer slightly when many units are on the screen. It has successfully nailed the whole Halo vibe, from the colour pallete to the music. I played throught the two tutorials and two of the missions, I got my arse kicked on the second one but I will give it another try later. I’ve not decided yet but this has gone from a game I’d let pass by to a potential purchase.

Resident Evil 5 Demo Impressions January 29, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Demo, Feature.
Tags:
9 comments

Resident Evil 5

In bullet point form because I can’t be arsed typing in paragraphs:

  • Controls initially felt awkward and clumsy.
  • Analogue stick aiming is nowhere near as accurate as the Wii remote in Resident Evil 4.
  • I don’t like the new “real-time” inventory system – being torn to pieces while fumbling about in a menu is never fun.
  • Graphics are very impressive.
  • Chris looks stupidly buff, his arms take up roughly three quarters of the screen.
  • Sheva, your partner, sometimes feels like more of a hindrance rather than help.
  • Babysitting co-op AI is never something I enjoy, I hope she isn’t with you for the whole game.
  • Some of the worst screen-tearing I have ever seen.
  • Very similar to Resi 4, all the “Resident Evil 4 HD” comments seem appropriate.
  • There really is no excuse for not being able to move and shoot at the same time anymore, you can strafe but not while shooting.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed – Demo Impressions August 23, 2008

Posted by Matthew in Demo.
Tags:
1 comment so far

The Force UnleashedThe demo takes place in a Imperial shipyard which Darth Vader orders you to infiltrate in order to kill a Jedi, along with any Rebels and Imperials you may encounter. There is a tutorial available before you play the demo mission but since there are on-screen hints telling you the controls it is not exactly mandatory. Click the jump for my summary of the demo.

The level’s interior is familiar if you have seen a Star Wars film before, with the usual droids wandering around, minding their own business. If (like me) you fancy being a little sadistic then you can play around with them using your force powers. Three main force powers are available; push, grip and lightning. After a few corridor sections you are required to blast open the locked door with force push, which is the first time you get to see the games impressive physics in action as the door bends and is thrown open.

Through the door is a hangar with a crashed Imperial Shuttle. You walk in on a battle between some Rebels and Stromtroopers which I quickly dealt with using the various crates and debris scattered around me. The main door out of this hangar is opened using your force grip to slide the horizontal and vertical locks into place. After a few more corridor sections the area opens up into some sort of TIE Fighter docking station. There are metal beams that can be bent outwards, blowing up any TIEs that fly past. After battling more Stormtroopers and Rebels here it leads on to a boss fight with an AT-ST. The objective here is to wear down its health enough using a combination of your lightsaber, force powers and whatever loose objects are at your disposal. Once you have dealt enough damage you then activate your finishing move via a quick-time event which results in the AT-ST being sliced vertically in half and here ends the demo with a little teaser trailer for the main game.

Most Star Wars tie-ins are hit-and-miss but I’ve had high hopes for this one ever since I witnessed the first trailer, and I’m a massive Star Wars fan. The combat in this can be described as “Jedi Knight-lite”. Since, unlike Jedi Knight, this is aimed solely at the console market combat has been toned down so it is a basic hack& slash. But its a Star Wars game so things aren’t that simple. With upgradable force powers and the amount of combat options these abilities give you, combat wont get boring too quickly. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is out on September 19th for everything apart from the PC and is definitely a day one purchase for me.