Please Unleash Me Now… – Demo Roundup!

3 09 2008

Finally, a batch of demos worth playing is on Xbox LIVE. By that I mean…not sports games! šŸ™‚ First off, before we get any further, let me just say Castle Crashers is a must play. I’m going to write a review for that soon, but even the demo can show you how sweet the game is. It’s hard to believe that puppy is only an Arcade game.

So we’ve heard about it for a year, I’ve put posts about it on the blog, and talked about it on the podcast. Finally, The Force Unleashed demo is here! Except…I’m not that impressed.

Seriously, I’m not. I expected this to be a great game, but instead I am left with a stale taste of mediocrity. So what’s not cool about it? Well, quite frankly, the Force! As I loaded up the game, the first thing I noticed was that everything seemed way too dark. Even after adjusting the brightness I couldn’t help but think the darkness was there to hide the so-so graphics the game has. But that’s just visuals. If the game is good enough we can all get past that. However, it’s really not. Wave after wave of enemies are exactly the same. Picking them up with the force? They make the exact same movements. Hit them multiple times with a lightsaber? They still all react the same. (Speaking of lightsabers, why in the world can’t you cut limbs off)

The one point where the demo starts to look up is when you get a “chargeable” force push. Now standing behind a pile of crates you feel powerful as hell. Watch as Stormtroopers start racing down the hallway, you release the force charging button, and every crate around you goes flying at them. That’s cool! You can also use this ability to blast through doors which react, surprisingly, far more different than the enemies do. You might be able to get through your first door with only one Force push, while the next one might take two or three. So basically the charge Force push saves the whole demo. As you move on you come across the ol’ Chicken Walker (AT-ST). This is your first, and only, mini boss you get to face in the demo. Just like with every other enemy in the game, you run up and start bashing away switching between the buttons for lightning and saber attack. However, do you remember those QTEs/Timed button presses I’ve talked about before? Well they’re there all right and they show up mid-bash. So in other words, they pop up and you instantly miss it unless you’re going quite slow.

It’s not as bad as I thought though. One tap of the force lightning button will get you right back to the QTE, and, once you successfully complete it, will do something pretty darn cool. So no Bourne Conspiracy crap here. Whew! So all in all, this demo is good. Just not the great I was really really hoping it would be. That always seems to be the way things go though. The more you want something to be great, the harder and closer you look at it, and the worse it seems. I’ll probably wait until Christmas to pick this one up, but everyone should at least try the demo. Every Star Wars game is fun even if they royally suck! (Not saying this one does or anything :-D)

Moving on! Soul Caliber IV! Wow, this is the first fighting game demo I’ve played that I actually wanted to replay multiple times. This is a marvelous fighter which, thankfully, is quite forgiving to button mashers like myself.

The arenas look very very nice. I mean, play Face Breaker and then play this. Would you rather be fighting in a trailer park or one wicked looking castle? Even more than that though, the moves look fantastic! I have yet to see a kick that doesn’t hit the opponent realistically. Even when a gargantuan demon hurls his sword forward in a dashing uppercut it still looks fluid and amazing.

Breaking an enemies armor is unbelievably satisfying, and occasionally having a team mate back you up when you’re down really makes this game special. The only thing I can say that’s negative is the fact that the story is a little lack luster. But that’s to be expected in fighters.* You really can’t give too much reason for beating 30 dudes up, but when the fighting is cool and the games is a fighter, well, that’s good enough for me! I’m seriously considering picking this game up once I finish Castle Crashers. I’m usually not a fighting fan, but this will be the first fighting game good enough to make me pick it up since…ever.

So there you have it! Two demos worth the download. Have fun, and leave some comments if you have them.

*Look! A foot note! This is new indeed. Seriously though, if you want to play a bad fighter download Face Breaker. It may not be 100% horrible, but I did not enjoy getting the crap kicked out of me by a fat guy in a trailer park.

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