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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Demopalooza Part 1

I was bored last weekend so I decided to download a whole boatload of demos for my XBox360 that I never use. Most of these games I had no intention of ever actually buying, so my rating for each one will simply be either Very favorable, favorable, indifferent, unfavorable, or very unfavorable. I'm going to try to go in order of when I downloaded them but I've played so many I might forget the order.

Fable III
My roommate during my Freshman year of college actually bought and beat Fable II. There were quite a few kinks in the adventure but for the most part, it looked like fun (I never actually played it). I figured I might as well give Fable III a try. Much like in Fable II, you play as a hero in the making who, after facing tragedy, must set out on a quest for justice. In Fable II, the tragedy involving yourself as a child seeing your sister killed by a vicious ruler. In Fable III, you are a prince. The tragedy actually unfolds depending on our choices. You have to choose who will die: your girlfriend or a bunch of innocent strangers. I picked the girlfriend. Now, at any other time in the adventure this would be a big decision but this game decides to throw it at you 10 minutes into the game. Therefore, you have no attachment to any of the characters making your decision...well, not that important. Also, her "death" is handled in a terribly emotionless way. She just says "you made the right choice", they take her away and you swear you'll "never forgive you for this!"...and that's it. You don't see her die, you don't have a scene saying "oh, she's dead." Hell, you don't even really regret it. It just kind of ends.

Which brings me to another point. In Fable II, your character is mute. In Fable III, he's got full voice acting. I kind of thought this was a poor choice. Fable is supposed to be about you crafting your own hero through your actions. He has the voice you imagine for him. Here, he (or she) already has a voice and a personality.

Anyhoo, going on to gameplay, after a good 25 minutes, you finally learn how to cast a fire spell before going through a spacious underground cave filled with bats. Lots and lots of bats. Every 10 feet, you have a flock of bats attack you (although I don't think they actually do damage). Each time, you just mash the B button to shoot fire at them. If this sounds repetitive, that's only because it is. Seriously, the game even "punishes" you for trying to break it up. Every time I though "let's just charge up my fire spell", a bat would hit me and break the charge.

After all of this, you get to interact with villagers. This complex system involves either giving them money, shaking their hand, or grabbing their hand and taking them with you. The last one they will do even if they don't know you which just makes it incredibly weird. There's also a guide system to guide you to your next objective. In Fable II, it sucked. It would sometimes disappear without warning or suddenly tell you to do a 180 and go back. hasn't improved. Neither has my dog companion who is supposed to bark when he's found treasure. 90% of the time, he started barking, I'd follow him and we'd find...nothing. Good job, boy.

Finally, we get to fight some actual monsters with guns and swords in an underground cave that looks identical to the underground cave earlier. The sword is almost immediately rendered useless. After the first few foes, you get the gun and the game proceeds to fill each room with so many skeletons that trying to head into the group with a sword only results in them knocking you around. Therefore, each fight basically amounted to me running away, turning periodically to fire my gun/cast fire spells. It all felt very repetitive.

However, I could see potential in the game. If Fable II was anything to go by, once you get more spells and find more towns and meet more people, the adventure would get really fun. I could get a sense of that here but the limitations of the beginning of the adventure hindered that.

Overall, it was a lengthy demo that wasn't really enough fun to make me want the game, but the bad points weren't quite bad enough to make me hate it.

Length of Demo: About 1 hour
Overall opinion: indifferent

Dead Rising
Here's the Dead Rising demo in a nutshell. You start the game. It loads. You see a cutscene that has no relevancy because it's not from the beginning of the game and you have no idea what's going on. You are given a mission. You spawn in an atrium in the mall with quite a few zombies. You go one of several directions. A cutscene plays. The end.

I guess the point of the demo is to show you...Um...the weapons? The zombies? I don't know. All I know is it only lets you attack a bunch of generic zombies with 3 weapons. The fun lasted about 1 minute and then it was pure boredom. For some reason, this took up 1GB of space on my hard drive. The Fable III demo took up 2GB. 2 times the size, 12 times the gameplay. That means this piece of shit took me about 2 hours to download.

Length of Demo: About 5 minutes
Overall opinion: Very unfavorable

Coming up next time: Mass Effect 2 and Tomb Raider Legacy

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