I review a bunch of demos that I downloaded in a fit of madness. Twitter Style.

Final Fantasy VII PC

Crashes. I do get to hear some nice menu music and see a Square-Enix logo though. 7mb download.

Metal Gear Solid PC

Cannot detect my graphics card and announces it will restart in software rendering mode before exiting to the desktop. Does this whenever launched.  49mb.

Guilty Gear X PC

Has one chatacter matchup that can be played on one difficulty and no control explanation. I couldn’t for the life of me find how to move.  34mb.

Wolfenstien

It has a cool action sequence in decent video quality to start with. The demo never comes close to matching the cutscene’s appeal. The demo’s at it’s best when gravity is occasionally and inexplicably disabled.  Not sure if that reflects well or poorly on the game.  650 mb.

ARMA II

Worst presentation layer I’ve ever seen. Appalling voice work and a disconcerting head bob.  The gunplay was unsatisfying and the core movement felt frustrating in some way I can’t articulate. I got bored and quit before anything cool happened. Who uses the enter key as “use”? 2GB.

Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising

Much like ARMA II, the gunplay and movement were both frustrating although in a different manner. Squad command seemed interesting enough, a lot of options that were easy to access in a radial menu.  Looks really bad.  My squad was more than enough for the enemies offered, so I felt pretty useless in combat. Quit the demo when I had to call in fire support and couldn’t find how to do this. A nice amount of military sounding chatter between squadmates but it looped too quickly. 1.4GB

Diablo 2

Controlled really well and loot felt satisfying in a way that neither Titan Quest nor Torchlight felt for me. It was a lot scarcer. Gold felt special because I got it every 5 enemies instead of every enemy.  Low item durability meant I had to switch weapons pretty often, which was also a nice change from the above two titles.  Might get annoying at high level if there’s no easy repair functionality. Environments quite amazingly bland. Will probably pick up if I see it at GameStop. 125mb.

Call of Duty

Compared to the later titles, weapon handling feels really unsatisfying. Other than that, it’s really Call of Duty.  Grenades also have a weird throwing animation where they don’t appear until after you’ve thrown them.  Feels pretty dated.  So do most WW2 games now. Couldn’t make it all the way through the demo, lost interest. 180mb.

Dark Void

Opens with a flying level, which feels awful to control on the mouse. Unresponsive and imprecise. Couldn’t get the hang of the combat and died three times in quick succession, killing my interest. Nolan North isn’t a magic fix for an uninteresting script. Also, couldn’t up the resolution from 640*480 until I was actually in the demo. 1GB.

Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse

Controlling Stubbs feels awful, totally confusing narrative in the demo alongside  enemies which stulocked me in the air to death. Flatulence is the height of this game’s humour. Strongest film grain effect I’ve ever seen in a game.  236mb.

Galactic Civilisations

I was destroyed by the interface. 50mb.

Brothers in Arms: Highway to Hill 30

Neither the enemies nor the weapons react to shooting very well, the tactical stuff didn’t grab me. Interesting RTS style camera view available, cool in concept. Start of the demo establishes you as the squad leader but you spend the game following orders from your subordinates for some reason. Can’t navigate over knee high fence syndrome. At one point the game leads you on a two minute walkabout to get to the other side of a knee high fence.  384mb.

Dungeon Siege

Got me all nostalgic for my primary school days. Five stars. 200mb. (Actual game is pretty awful, although it had a nice leveling system)

Penny Arcade Adventures Ep 2

Damn fine writing. Quit the demo when it presented me with ten fights in a row, with the sneaking suspicion that after those fights I’d have to pay to get the narrative payoff. 317mb

Machinarium

Amazing until it crashed. Also the inability to right click in an adventure game is infuriating. 32mb

Jedi Knight 2: Dark Forces

The game opens with a Star Wars scrolling text explaining that Kyle Katarn has forsaken the force and the Jedi order, then proceeds to dump you halfway into the narrative with all of his Jedi-ness restored. Aside from that frustrating note, a fun Star Wars skinned Quake 3 engine shooter. Also, why is the recticle in the Jedi Knight series always so weird and floaty? 68mb.

House of the Dead 3

I assume the real game is short, because the demo lasted maybe 3 minutes. Sort of fun shooting zombies with pin-point mouse accuracy though, would probably pick it up if I saw it in GameStop one day.  Pretty bad in terms of everything, mind you. 50mb.

Far Cry

Quite a bit of fun. Graphics are still pretty passable although it has a Call of Duty 1 esque grenade hidden until thrown animation. Same happened in Wolfenstien too.  Would pick up on sale on Steam. Permanent health seems to really complement the vulnerable predator feel in Crytek games. It’d be interesting to see Crysis with it. Quite hard on the normal difficulty.  500mb.

There’s all the games which weren’t terribly interesting, stay tuned for seperate posts on Splinter Cell, Max Payne, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic and Indigo Prophecy, which were all interesting demos.

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