Thursday, June 21, 2007

Xbox Live Arcade Demos

In a nutshell: Three Xbox Live Arcade demos that don't take up an hour on their own.

Prince of Persia Classic
In a nutshell: The Sands of Time Episode 1
0:01 "Marry Jaffar... or die within the hour." What a choice! The silent, robotic intro. cut scene is a little creepy.
0:03 I fall on a pit of jagged spikes because my character won't stop when I let go of the direction he's moving. Sigh.
0:04 Another death at the same place. You'd think they'd update the controls along with the graphics.
0:06 He's got a sword! Idiots... we've all got swords!
0:07 Another misstep death at the same place. Are the touchy movement supposed to be part of the old school "charm"?
0:08 Nice attack animations, but jamming on X to defeat an enemy is a bit simple.

Would I buy this game based on the demo? No
Why? Too short to get a good feel for what's possible, and the controls have not aged well.

Band of Bugs
In a nutshell: Bug Fantasy Tactics. Bug Emblem. Ogre Bug. Shining Bug. Take your pick.

0:10 "We are talking, sentient bugs after all." "There's another kind." I'm laughing here.
0:13 "This game is guaranteed to be full of bugs." GROAN!
0:16 I lose in the tutorial. The tutorial! Lesson 3.
0:17 The interface is pretty simple -- shows info. well and uses only one button, for the most part. But why does it rumble so much? I feel like the controllers gonna fly out of my hands.
0:20 Done with the tutorial, on to the real game.
0:22 My archer, upon shooting a unit from far away, says "I love shooting guys from far away." Was that really necessary?
0:23 I don't quite understand what determines who goes next. Sometime I get two turns in a row. Not that I'm complaining.
0:26 I feel like I'm still in the tutorial... new elements are being introduced every mission.
0:30 This third mission introduced the new wrinkle of capturing bases, but things are still a bit too simple. I don't feel any real danger... just move and attack and you're good.
0:31 When you highlight a character, that character info take up a full 1/4 of the screen, obscuring the play field. Not helpful.
0:37 The enemy bug gives up information when we beat him. Where's the torture scene? 24 has spoiled me.
0:40 By the fourth map there's some strategy involved in positioning and maintaining the high ground. Shows promise.
0:43 I like how the goal of every mission is slightly different. Changes things just enough to keep it interesting
0:45 Demo is over so I play with the level editor a bit. It's fun and easy to use, but why put it in the demo if you can't even save your creations or play on them?

Would I buy this game based on the demo? Probably Not.
Why? It was beginning to show some promise of complexity , but overall it seems a little too simplified for my tastes.

Mad Tracks
In a nutshell: Micro Machines for the new generation.

0:51 These cars have some nice zip to 'em. Controls are nice and responsive.
0:53 Power system is interesting. If you continually hold the gas pedal you won't get up hills. Introduces some subtle strategy.
0:56 Beastie Balls mode is interesting -- drive around a bowl avoiding marbles. Gets crazy after only a minute or two. Would be more fun if the balls were much bigger.
0:58 The physics are crazy. Huge champagne glasses bounce around like plastic bottles.
1:00 The game seems a little easy. Even with the AI set to hard the blackout race isn't even close.

Would I buy this game based on the demo? Probably
Why? The promise of billiards and foosball using cars.

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