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PS3 Attitude

Monday, 29 September 2008

Mercenaries 2: World In Flames Demo : Impressions

Title: Mercenaries 2: World in Flames
Publisher: EA
Developer: Pandemic Studios
Demo Release Date: September 25th 2008 (EU)
Release Date of final game: August 31st 2008 (EU)
Size: 1.37 GB

Introduction: Pandemic's follow-up to the "destroy everything" PS2 sleeper hit finds three mercenaries now gallivanting around Venezuela, up to no good and looking to get paid. The demo arrives nearly a full month after the game's release and presents the player with the chance to shoot, drive and annihilate their way around a level with the (almost secondary to the whole obliteration theme) objective of planting a listening post on top of a car-park. Or something to that effect - though we accomplished the mission at hand we were too busy blowing things up and, as you'll see below, being somewhat underwhelmed in the process.

Initial impressions: Ah, the infamous "post-release of actual game" demo. Also known as maintaining the current swell of interest in a well performing game or flogging a dead horse - depending on your sales figures. In Mercenaries 2's case it's obviously the former with the game topping the charts in most European countries. However, if you've been waiting for this demo to sway your hand in terms of whether or not it warrants a purchase, we feel it may have the opposite of its desired effect and that proverbial ransom money will be staying safely in your pocket.

First up is the demo's size. At just shy of 1.4GB - it's a monster, and though it really shouldn't matter how big a demo is in terms of 1s and 0s, it does beg the question of what exactly you have just dropped on your unwary hard-drive. Looking at the mediocre graphics, the postage-stamp size sandbox available to play in and the conspicuous fifteen minute timer on the top right of your screen you'd be forgiven to think you've just downloaded the entire game; albeit constrained by a countdown we reckon you'll never see expire.

Though there are some kicks to be had waging destruction on everything in sight, the demo doesn't really promote the game well in any of its main selling points. The destruction, though fun, is samey and the environment isn't half as combustable as it should be. The AI borders on ridiculous with the ability to walk up to adversaries, shoot them in the face and barely register a response. The level itself is barely populated by any enemies in the first place. You'll need to hunt them down where you'll find them docile, incompetent and eager to expire. They'll also rarely follow you anywhere (even if you destroy their compound, their vehicles and even their mates) so you've pretty much free reign to saunter around the place exploding things at your pleasure. You may have to dodge the odd tank shell but it's not exactly challenging in terms of gameplay.

The main gripe however is the overall presentation of the demo with the presence of the aforementioned timer. Such a mechanism can only promote one thing: a feeling of rushing around trying to see as much as you can before time runs out and this is exactly what you get. You can start again of course (and go kamikaze) but it rarely satisfies.

Who's Going To Like This - If you enjoyed the first game you'll probably enjoy the (moderate) upgrade in graphics and anarchical mayhem in this demo. Or if you like Swedish guys with tattoos, woah baby, this is a must.

Interest Radar: With a meta-review score of the final product in the mid-70s it's quite apparent that Mercenaries 2 is an accomplished, if not flawed, game but if you're currently on the fence this demo will do little to sway you to the purchasing side. With its immense size and limited playability we'd recommend skipping this one and just pick up the actual game if wanton destruction and mission-based objectives are your bag.

Mercenaries 2: World in Flame demo gets five briefcases stuffed with cash out of ten. You'll get paid but it won't compensate you for the fact that you had to sport a blonde mohawk to do so.

Remember: demo impressions are based on the demo and not on the game. Great games have been known to have lousy demos, with the opposite also holding true.

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Friday, 5 September 2008

Pure 1st Impressions: Should Motorstorm be Worried?

When it comes to looking at the PSN's shiny new Pure demo you first and foremost think it has got to set itself apart from the competiton. Surely that's a given?

In this case said competition is Motorstorm. This game automatically has a lot to live up to.

So here I am. I Fire up the demo, get through the tutorial, and the first song that comes on? Woman, by Wolfmother.

Erm. Is that not a bit familiar Disney? To me that song is an automatic reminder of Motorstorm.

The race is underway and the controls are familiar to a degree. The graphics are pretty enough although they seem to be a bit soft focused; like viewing everything through a greasy lens. Not distracting but certainly noticeable.

Then there's the 'race' part of it. I was so busy doing tricks and working to get my meter up for boosting for the next trick that I wound up finishing 13th. Not that I expected to get into first place or anything but there seems to be a lack of motivation to place well.

Riders seem to lack the interaction that made Motorstorm so personal. This is Disney so no swearing is a given. A shove or two would have been nice though! As a result of the kid-friendly Disney badge, the great time-sapping slo-mo crashes so loved in Motorstorm have been replaced by a wipe screen. Ho hum.

Admittedly it is nice to get straight into the action after a wipe out though it would have been nice to get a bit more grunt out of a fall or collision. Instead you get the Mickey Mouse Magic Wand of Restoration waved over you after every spill.

The full game promises over 40 tracks, 70 tricks, etc. and may well prove to be a real winner, though my gut reaction is that Motorstorm developers Evolution can breathe easy tonight.

Just some initial thoughts on it. This is by no means a review, rather my initial opinion on the demo version publicly available at you ever-so-local PSN.

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Sunday, 17 August 2008

The Force has Unleashed a date for PSN Demo

We told you the month, now we can tell you the day. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. It's 21!

Lucasarts promises a demo for Star Wars The Force Unleashed will be in our PS Store August 21st. That's 4 days until you can force choke your way through a TIE Fighter facility while hunting down a general for dear old Vader.

I hope The Force Unleashed continues to make the Star Wars franchise relevant like the Battlefront and Lego games did. They need all the help they can get after that other thing they unleashed.

Sources [PS3Fanboy, Press Release]

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