Archive for November, 2008

Micro-review round-up

November 8, 2008

Two lines each for some demos I’ve played yet didn’t review for various reasons, like being too lazy to think of a whole paragraph of things to say about them.

Micro Machines V4
PLUS Look at the tiny cars!
MINUS The most impressive graphics glitches in a racing game since my GPU overheated in Need for Speed. The rest of the demo doesn’t live up to them.

Devil May Cry 4
PLUS Includes one level of hack-and-slash followed by a boss encounter with a time limit in a neat system to encourage replays. Looks great…
MINUS …but feels pretty retro, and has some control problems with a non-360 gamepad. I couldn’t beat the boss so can’t really review it. Maybe it gives you ice cream if you win?

Darkstar One
PLUS Quite a lot going on in the demo.
MINUS The space fighter combat just lacks that TIE Fighter tension.

Laser Dolphin
PLUS I don’t remember any.
MINUS I don’t remember any. Does this make it a perfect 5/10? Or just very bland for a game about a rampaging interplanetary dolphin.

Defcon: Everybody Dies
PLUS A must-try for the apocalyptic atmosphere. Is it good or bad that humanity can enjoy the strategic challenge of annihilating itself?
MINUS Luckily we can dodge that question because the demo is unbalanced and made too simple by restricting battles to 1-on-1.

Trials 2
PLUS Excellent, compulsive physics-based 2D motorcycle platformer. Rock hard and a bit short of levels but don’t let that put you off.
MINUS Your avatar passes out if his helmet so much as brushes the terrain and you’ll wish you could just get off the bike and walk.

Far Cry
PLUS Classic jungle sandbox FPS with tons of replay value from different weapons and tactics.
MINUS Realistic jungle warfare sometimes means getting realistically murdered by some guy who wandered up behind you.

Llamatron 2112
PLUS Awesome Robotron psychadelia.
MINUS It’s from 1992. If you’re familiar with Geometry Wars the controls will make you cry. Or that might be the epilepsy kicking in.

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
PLUS Combines Bejewelled and JRPGs, two things I can’t stand, into pure addiction.
MINUS Might have given the Peggle designers some very dangerous ideas.

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Left 4 Dead demo – for a limited time only

November 7, 2008

Valve have released the demo for their upcoming co-operative zombie survival FPS Left 4 Dead to pre-order customers, and according to 1UP will be opening it to everyone from the 11th November. Unusually, the demo’s multiplayer mode will be shut off when the game releases on the 18th, giving most players just one week to try it out. We’ll see if this experiment to prevent people sticking with the demo indefinitely causes grief or goes by without complaint; the reaction to the absence of multiplayer in the Multiwinia demo recently caused developers Introversion to relent and release a new online-enabled edition. It’s worth remembering that Valve typically have occasional free weekends for their multiplayer shooters, so other opportunities to evaluate the game should come up.

The Left 4 Dead demo is available on Steam, and the new Multiwinia demo can be downloaded from Introversion. We reviewed the original demo earlier, and found it interesting if not very deep.