Thursday, September 20, 2012

Demo Friday: One day early

After an hour and a half of Tekken last night my right wrist began to ache just enough that to stop. The four button setup torques my hand just enough that playing for too long just hurts. The highlight of my evening was being called a fag by someone who did not block my telegraphed low attacks and also did not even try to tech the hit allowing my silly off the ground Bryan combo to be executed in full several times. Hate mail is a badge of honor. Opening up that message to the one word attempted rebuke made me forget, just for a moment, that my win percentage is below 20% and that anyone who knows he he or she is doing can wipe the floor with me.

Still, I had to stop and I did not want to start the new Spider-Man game because I know how good it is and Borderlands 2 should be arriving today. There were a few demos languishing on my hard drive, including at least one game raved about by a fellow blogger. I honestly feel guilty about not even giving most XBLA a try in spite of each and every one of them having a free demo. As a new feature I am going to download the trials of all new arcade games every Wednesday, play the demos for as long as I can on Thursday and bitch talk about them on Friday afternoon. These games will not be added to the yearly list because they are not being played to my definition completion and they do not generate my precious 'cheevos. All opinions will be uninformed, indefensible, and quite possibly patently incorrect.

So the same as usual, I suppose.

Here, let me get that pesky appendix for you.

The raved about game I was referring to was Mark of the Ninja. Chance had nothing but good things to say about it and since I respect the man's opinion I wanted to give it a shot. To be blunt, I don't see it. Mark of the Ninja is gorgeous to look at with animation at the same level as the developers previous games. There is almost too much animation, if that makes sense. It feels like I am only influencing the action, not actually controlling it. The game is also not really sure what genre it fits in. It is not an action game as running and slicing does not work, but it is also not really a stealth game as there is one right way and a multitude of wrong ways to get past a given encounter. Honestly, it is a puzzle game in black pajamas. Not my thing, unfortunately, but I can certainly see the allure.

Who knew Gollum had so many cousins?

Game two was one of this week's releases: RAW, or Realms of Ancient War, or some shit like that. It should be subtitled 'another action RPG in the vein of Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance.' This is not a bad thing when done correctly, though the apex of this kind of game on the console, Champions of Norrath, has ever been equaled. RAW doesn't approach either, but at least it got the general mechanics of killing things to get more stuff right. Enemies do not spontaneously drop suits of armor, which makes sense, but some of them do drop hides that can be sold. The demo was not nearly long enough to plumb the depths of its skill upgrade system but what little I saw points to it being competent at least. Visually it was a but busy and dark, making the black wolves quite difficult to discern from the black woods they were hiding in, but that may have been my contacts failing me.

I really enjoy these kind of games but RAW was not purchased. At 1400 points, or $17.50 in real money, it is $2.50 shy of a much better game that just came out: Torchlight 2. Every second I spent playing the demo of WAR made me wonder why I was not playing Torchlight 2, and I did not buy Torchlight 2 because I want to focus on Borderlands 2. Poor timing on their part. I will keep an eye out for a deal of the week on this one.


  1. I'll say this; there is never just one solution. By the end of my time with MotN I was essentially dashing through its levels, each time using a different "mark" that drastically altered my tools and playstyle, constantly adapting to any time the AI would change from its usual course.

  2. The demo never got that far, unfortunately. This exercise is also partially inspired by the Extra Credits 'Starting off right' video. Can the game hook me in five minutes or less? Mark of the Ninja almost had with looks alone. It was the way the game played prior to gaining the abilities you mention that did not work.

  3. I think that's a fair way to do it - FFXIII may be the best RPG in years, but I'll never know 'cause if you can't make me care about your game in the first twenty hours, well... that's not a very good game.