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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Demo Play: Riddick, Wheelman, Red Alert and Wanted

I downloaded a slew of PS3 demos upon return to the states, a few thoughts (with the should-be-but-too-often-is-not disclaimer that this is based on short bits of play with demo code).

Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
I didn't play the original, which is probably some kind of crime somewhere in gamerland, but this demo gives you a taste of why it was good. Something of a violent first person sneaker with the dark science fiction from the Riddick movies, there's at least some unique aspects to a genre generally lacking in them.

At the same time, I didn't think the sneaker elements were well portrayed. I swear at one point a guard teleported into a room and then at another point it seemed the bad guys spent way too long breaking down a door and then not entering it. The world has this oddly fake feel to it, which may be just the lack of finish on the demo. In general the demo hooked me at first, but kind of bored me by the end.

A sort of Grand Theft Auto clone with ADD, Wheelman introduces some interesting aspects of vehicular combat to fit the over-the-top action of the movie. This was the second demo with Vin Diesel in it, which felt a bit odd - especially since I'm not sure Vin makes a terribly good game voice actor. There's a disconnect between his onscreen presence and his tone that it makes it sound like he's kind phoning it in.

Diesel aside, the demo is pretty fun and offers a lot of content to try out, from the introductory chase scene, which doubles as a tutorial, to side missions from the full game. Plenty of fun and an interesting twist to the GTA set.

Command And Conquer: Red Alert 3
Is it sad that I think I'd enjoy the cutscenes more than the game itself? I think I just have some fundamental issues with RTS games, especially the more old school ones. For instance, at point in the tutorial my troops are getting shot at but don't seem to be shoot back. Because I haven't clicked on something to tell them: shoot back.


But it's Red Alert, it's a classic series in the genre and the demo includes some fun tutorial sections and, well, Tim Curry. So you have to at least try the demo.

Wanted: Weapon of Fate
The tutorial modes made me think that the Wanted game might actually outdo the movie itself, but when I got to the actual gameplay, it was a bit of a wash. There's some new concepts for cover that seem kind of interesting at first, but really get repetitive when the actual game turns into "dash, shoot, shoot, dash, curve a bullet, repeat fifty more times".

Plus, the camera work on the plane got all wonky on me, making it difficult to even do the "shoot, shoot" part, which really sort of defeats the purpose of the game.

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