Sunday, 30 October 2011

Demo Day!

Yesterday I'll admit to having gotten a little over-excited on the Playstation store, downloading no less than 21 demos for my shiny new PS3. I'm what you could call a late convert to the current-gen: I made the stupid mistake of asking a Wii at launch, using up the last big Christmas present my parents would ever buy me, and consigning myself to a miserable 5 years of WAGGLE while my friends enjoyed their shiny graphics and online functionality. But that's a blog post for another day!

So as soon as I found out the Playstation Store allowed me to download demos of new games, I went a little bit mental with excitement. A fair chunk of my childhood was spent playing the demo discs you used to get with magazines, which gave you a great indication of whether a game would be worth pestering your mum for. I remember playing the Future Cop: LAPD demo with my brother until my eyes nearly melted, trying and retrying to make as much progress as we could before the timer cruelly ended our fun. A bit like an arcade game, only free, and without the reward of actually getting past the first level.

I never even bought it!           Pic courtesy of Gamespot

So there I am, giddy with hope of reliving a small part of my youth, and ready to waste an afternoon. First things first, connect to the store... Well that was easy. Next, search through the demos... Hmm, well the selection isn't great considering the PS3's been out for 5 years, but I mustn't complain! The very idea of downloading stuff straight to a console still seems weirdly futuristic to me, like I've somehow modded it into doing something it shouldn't. So I find a title, click download. I find another! Download that too. And a couple more, let's get them started as well. And I'll stick on Deus Ex while I'm waiting. Christ, the future's brilliant!

Heed this warning: never believe the rubbish Virgin will throw your way when trying to sell you broadband. "You're in an area that will get you super-fast speeds! Unlimited downloads! Give us money you muppet!" After a good 3 hour session on Deus Ex, I quit to find one of my downloads on 5%, and the rest yet to begin. It was then that I looked up Sony's well documented wireless issues, and nearly threw my router out the window. Oh sure, it'll run ok through an ethernet cable, but wireless was crawling along at around 2kb per second. Problem: my ethernet cable is about 2 foot long, and the router is on the opposite end of my flat to the TV. Solution? The following setup.

Yep, that's my PS3 and TV plugged into opposite ends of the house. Don't get me started. Well at least the downloads were actually ticking along now, and before I knew it I was 21 demos better off and wondering why it was suddenly 4 in the morning. Still, plenty to play now. I'll give each one a wee review. Almost none of these demos are particularly new, so don't expect anything interesting if you've already played 'em.

I came for the great dialogue and cinematic atmosphere, I left because of the duff controls and dreadful combat. Deleted.

Exactly the same as FIFA 10, right down to me being crap at it. Deleted.

PES 12
Seemed to consist solely of an unskippable and endless cutscene trumpeting the improvements from the last edition. Deleted without even getting a chance to play it.

Red Baron Arcade
Dogfighting nonsense with the slowest planes this side of a Microsoft Flight Simulator. Deleted.

Blast Factor
Geometry Wars-alike twin stick shooter, which I'm sure could be anywhere between brilliant and horrible if you're into that kind of thing. Deleted.

No More Heroes Paradise
One of the few Wii games I enjoyed made almost unplayably confusing by converting to Dualshock controls. You win this time waggle... Deleted, but I'll probably pick it up if I ever buy a Move controller.

Strange dragon looting sim that wouldn't have looked out of place 15 years ago. Deleted, but at least I played the demo to the end.

Sonic Generations
Initially seems like a fun celebration of Sonic's roots, but is confusing as hell to play at speed. Kind of a problem for a Sonic game. Kept it for another go later.

Haunting and beautifully paced, this was the only demo that made me really want to play the full game. Kept because I can't afford to yet!

Bizarre comet-hopping plant colonisation thing, that plays like an iOS game. Hard to describe and I had no idea what was going on. Kept it.

Fat Princess
Ever heard of Team Buddies? Yeah well so have the developers of this game. I could tell this would be fun online, so I kept it.

From Dust
I spent nearly 20 minutes trying to build a land bridge so that a set of whining tribesmen could reach some totem pole, and they wouldn't budge no matter how big it was. Deleted.

Got torn apart by the computer even on easy. Still not entirely sure why I downloaded this. Deleted.

Heavenly Sword
Looks and plays almost exactly like a PS2 game; Pity that game is God of War. Deleted.

Eat Them!
The mix of cell shaded visuals, comic book style, and Blast Corps approach to destructive gameplay made me more nostalgic than anything else I played today. This one's a keeper.

Some kind of sideways musical Tetris, which offered no explanation as to what to do before throwing me in. Kept though, because it promised me the chance to remix Orbital tracks if I ever understand it.

Beat Hazard
Keeping this until I actually have some music to play it with.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon
Was having a lot of fun with this until I randomly crashed into a motorway. I'm keeping it.

Marvel Pinball
After 10 minutes of trying to flick a ball into a Sentinal's foot, while a laughably bad Wolverine shouted rubbish like "Be careful what you wish for!" and "WAARGH!" I gave up. Deleted.

Refused to even start without internet connectivity, and wouldn't let me return to the menu to sort it out, meaning I had to turn off the console. Deleting it was so satisfying. 

Puzzle game in the Super Monkey Ball mold, which doesn't work properly because the PS3 sticks are twitchier than a paranoid crack addict. Deleted!

Between downloading, installing, and playing all those, as well as writing this post about them, I've wasted around 2 days. This is why I'm not a good role model.

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