Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Xbox Live Demos

So lately all I've been doing on my Xbox 360 is playing demos I've downloaded over LIVE. There are a lot of good ones out: Beautiful Katamari, Blue Dragon, Bioshock, Dynasty Warriors Gundam (aka "Gundam Musou"), Eternal Sonata, and Stranglehold just to name a few. While I haven't played every demo on the previous list, I have played enough of them to comment on a few.

Bioshock

This FPS totally has a Dues Ex feel, which shouldn't be surprising since this game is being touted as the "spiritual successor" to System Shock 2 and Thief 3. What surprised me the most about this game demo was how well it sucked you into the game world. The game takes place in a 1960s underwater city that has become a dystopia. There are a lot of creepy characters around and the lighting is pretty dim to invoke tension. You have both "magic" weapons due to altering your genes (shooting fire and electricity out of your hands) as well as more mundane weapons like a wrench or pistol. For some reason the pistol feels really solid and real to me. It's a lot of fun to fire. I also really like old school music in this game as well.

This is clearly a must buy game now. I'm glad it lived up to all the hype (for me at least).

Dynasty Warriors Gundam

There are really only two groups of people this game appeals to: those who enjoy Dynasty Warriors despite the massive, mindless repetition of slaughtering numerous virtual enemies, and those who are rabid Gundam otaku.

Unfortunately, I fall into BOTH categories. This demo isn't great in terms of graphics or game play and the music is pretty much non-existent. However, it has a cross section of some of the most popular Gundam characters (Char, Master Asia, Heero Yuy, etc.) and they are voiced pretty much by all their original voice actors. (Or at least this is the case when you select the Japanese language option.) This makes it a pretty legit game for a Gundam otaku.

I would advise about buying this game unless you are crazy about either franchise like I am. (If you look at my Gamer Card, the only game I have 1000/1000 in is Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires.) I'm looking forward to utilizing the custom soundtrack feature of the 360 to play songs from the various Gundam series/films during the game.

Stranglehold

You might as well call this Hard Boiled 2: The Game. From Midway, this 3rd-person Max Payne-esque action game has you controlling Tequila from Hard Boiled as he stars in an original story. Both John Woo and Chow-Yun Fat contributed to this game, meaning that you get Woo's style as well as CYF's likeness and voice for Tequila.

I didn't really enjoy the demo at first, but as you beat it you are rewarded with additional 'Tequila Bombs' (special moves) and difficulty levels. I think medium is too easy, while hard-boiled is pretty difficult in some sections. I enjoyed the stylish gun play and the interactive environment. I must say shooting people in Tequila Time (slow motion / Max Payne style) never gets old.


This game also features "standoffs" where Tequila will be surrounded by a bunch of enemies. You play a neat mini-game as you face off against each opponent in psuedo-slow motion. Tequila moves quickly (in real time) and has to dodge incoming fire by leaning left and right while shooting his gun. During standoff mode, all the bullets (including yours) fire slowly. Once you are done with one enemy, it moves to the another one and so on until either Tequila or everyone else is dead. (The order you move through the enemies is random so no memorizing!) You are heavily encouraged to use the environment to dispatch the enemies in these sequences.

Tequila also has 4 "Tequila Bombs". One heals him, another one kills an enemy in one shot (with a spectacular cinematic), and yet another one allows him to become nigh invulnerable, have unlimited ammo and rapid fire for a short duration. The final one kills every enemy on the screen (only damages bosses though) by having Tequila spin around and shoot while doves fly everywhere. Once again, popular media proves to me that spinning is broken.

Oh, and did I mention the aimed shot special allows you so shoot enemies not only in the throat, but the GROIN as well? Hilarity!

How could one NOT buy this game based on that? Oh yeah, it's got multiplayer too...that seems interesting.

2 comments:

Masa. said...

I had no idea the 360 had a custom soundtrack feature. I guess they learned from all the variations of MvC2 with music from the Wu Tang Clan that were floating on the internets?

Masa

Binkley said...

Yeah the custom soundtrack option is actually available in all games. It's a system wide feature. There's been some debate from musicians/audio people as to whether this should even be a feature, since it negates the work they put into games.