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Demo-licious

Monday, March 23, 2009 | 01:19 AM | by
I downloaded a couple of XBL demos over the weekend. First was Vin Diesel's Wheelman, because I'd been hearing (surprisingly) positive impressions of it. It wasn't too bad. It is sort of like a rough mix between GTA and Burnout I suppose. There was some enjoyment there though, there were some neat ideas (the car melee) in play.

The game definitely has some really flashy stunts that you can pull off, but I'm left wondering how repetitive that's going to get if you were to play the full game. I mean honestly, spinning the car into a 180 in slow motion to shoot the guys following you is pretty cool for the first dozen times... but when you're doing it with the regularity and ease of, say, parking the car, it loses the element that makes it extreme and exciting.

I'd say it's worth downloading the demo... that's as far as I can recommend. You can decide whether it's something you'd enjoy playing for more than an hour.

I also downloaded the demo for Wanted: Weapons of Fate, and was really pleasantly surprised. Enough so that I'm considering grabbing the game when it comes out this week.

I didn't go in with high expectations, not because I'd heard bad things, but mostly because of the standard "movie license game" stigma, and also because I figured that's beat the "curving bullets" gimmick to death with a hockey stick

Not so on all counts, I'm happy to report. The game isn't perfect... I have some minor graphic nitpicks and some of the voiceacting is a little obnoxious, but overall it felt like a really solid shooter. The controls were tight, and there was a good feel to firing the gun... it's hard to explain, I guess. Some games just manage to capture a nice crisp, powerful feeling when you shoot, and some don't.

What the game also captured fairly well was the over-the-top violence and action that was seen in the movie (which I also enjoyed, but clearly for very different reasons than I enjoyed the comic book, since they are practically nothing alike). The cover system works pretty well. You do get "locked in" to cover, but I didn't mind since (at least in the demo level), you seem to spend all of your time in some form of cover anyway.

Killing enemies builds adrenaline, which allows you to curve bullets and slow down time. Curving bullets is pretty simple and straightforward, and they seem to use it just enough to be enjoyable without making it the whole game. Slow motion is neat because it's triggered during a transfer from one bit of cover to the next. So basically you start in cover, dive/roll/slide towards another cover, and inbetween you get a short period of super slow motion and can try to dispatch a few enemies at once.

Again, you can use these abilities often enough to keep things interesting, but they're not always there. I would say definitely check this demo out, you may find a fun game you weren't expecting.

In other news, my sister is training for her first half-marathon (13.1m), a fundraiser to benefit Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. She's hoping to raise $5000 for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, so if you felt like donating a dollar or two, I'm sure it would go a long way towards reaching that goal.