Demo: Dragon Age 2 (PS3)

I have no intention of picking up a copy of Dragon Age 2 when it releases next Tuesday – the buggy Dragon Age: Awakening saw to that – however I still intend on picking up a copy in a few months after it has a chance to get patched up a bit, and the price drops a few dollars.  Although I played the original Dragon Age on the PC, I have been seriously considering purchasing the sequel fir the PS3 so that I can play it with my wife.  After a few days of hyping her up on the game, [... read the rest ...]

Downloadable is where it's at

It truly amazes me how quickly small downloadable titles have come to be so prevalent in the gaming industry.  With the robust success of PSN, Steam, and the Xbox Live Arcade, suddenly it doesn’t take a huge publisher and a multimillion dollar budget to get a game to market and make a bundle. Most of these small time developers are smart too:  they know how to put together a compelling demo that both offers a taste of their wares as well as tempts the player to open their wallet.  Here are five recent examples from Steam. Zeit2 Originally released on [... read the rest ...]

Feb 052011
The demos, they're endless!

I’m a focused gamer.  I don’t like to have many games on the go concurrently – usually one handheld and one sit-down title – and I don’t like stopping a game before I have completed it.  In the same breath, I love trying out as many of the Steam and PSN demos as possible, and that ends up leading to a demo backlog that rivals my pile of shame.  Over the past couple of days I have polished off a few PS3 demos, and I’ll hopefully nail the other fourteen over the next couple of weeks (not to mention the [... read the rest ...]

Jan 282011
Demo: Winter Voices

Winter Voices is an episodic title by indie developer Beyond the Pillars.  The game, of which the first three parts are available for download on Steam for $4.99 each, is a unique roleplaying game that is unlike anything that I have  played before. Players used to big budget titles may be more than a little put off by the graphics that Winter Voices offers:  while crisp and clean, they are distinctly grounded in a Flash-like aesthetic that feels more suited to a free gaming website like Kongregate than on a downloadable for-dollars service like Steam.  The game is old school [... read the rest ...]

Demo: Dead Space 2

Last summer I played through the original Dead Space, and had a blast being scared out of my wits.  With the pending (January 25th) release of the Dead Space 2, I decided to make sure that the magic was still there in the sequel.  Short story: oh hell yes it is. After treating you to a cinematic that recaps the original game, the Dead Space 2 demo throws you into the middle of a mission and layers a tight little tutorial over top of it in case you need a refresher (which I did).  It is immediately apparent that all [... read the rest ...]

Dec 222010
Once more into the breach

All of the year’s big video game releases may be out of the way, but that hasn’t stopped the smaller independent games studios from pushing demos onto the Steam store at a pace that is, frankly, overwhelming.  Over the past year I’ve sampled nearly all of the offerings that indie developers have made available, and to be honest more than half of the games are probably not worth the time that I invested in them.  Still, amongst the turds have been some true gems, and those rare beauties make the entire endeavor worthwhile. Protogalaxy A strange little spaceship game that [... read the rest ...]

Rapidfire PS3 demos

I have an enormous backlog of PS3 demos that I’d like to work my way through, however at the rate they get released it seems as if I’ll never catch up.  This latest batch of five was a complete mixed bag – a couple of the games were good, a couple sucked, and one was such a poorly designed demo that I was unable to form a proper opinion.  So, here we go: Yakuza 3 The third installment in a Japanese-themed gangster series, Yakuza is a strange blend of RPG and brawler that is unlike anything I have played before. [... read the rest ...]

Demo: ArcaniA - Gothic IV

ArcaniA – Gothic IV is the forth installment in a long running European RPG franchise that has had its fair share of ups and downs on this side of the ocean. You control a nameless hero on a quest to….. well, I’m not sure, it was never really explained in the demo.  The opening quests revolve around winning the hand of Ivy, your beloved, by running various errands around town (like an MMO) however the game also hints at a hidden destiny for your character, and the second half of the demo takes an unexpected and unexplained turn that is [... read the rest ...]

Four rules for making a good demo

Video game demos are promotional tools: they are designed to give a player a representative taste of the game that they are pitching, and make that player open their wallet and buy the full version.  It’s a simple concept, really, however it is one that countless developers fail to do well.  Take, for example, the four PS3 demos that I tried last night…. Demo: Split/Second Split/Second is a stunt racing game that puts you in the shoes of a competitor in what seems like a television reality show.  The game is a strange mix of realism and kart, with the [... read the rest ...]

Demo: Amnesia - The Dark Descent

Today, being Halloween, seems like the perfect time to discuss Amnesia: The Dark Descent, a horror game by indie developer Frictional Games.  I have been putting off playing the demo for this title, mostly because I’m a big wimp when it comes to horror, however I figured if I wasn’t going to give it a shot today then I never would. My point of comparison for Amnesia is Dead Space, the PS3 horror game that I enjoyed despite being on edge the entire time.  Playing Dead Space, I wrote, scared me so much because I always felt out of control; [... read the rest ...]

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