Friday, January 8, 2010

PSN Demo Showcase for 1/8/2010...

This week's demo showcase on the Playstation Network features two games coming out later this month that might be worth your attention or at least trying out.

First off is a short demo for Capcom's Dark Void which has been known for quite a while. I first played this way back at Comic-Con 2008 and it was a way early build, but showcased what the game is capable of with the vertical cover and the flight mechanics. It was a way early build with bugs and inconsistent framerate, but I still thought it was an okay game at that time. Fast forward to 2010 when the game is close to release and a short 10 minute demo gets released for players to mess with. The flight and standard shooting gets demonstrated for players to get accustomed to. The flight section is a simple tutorial of how to fly and such while the shooting part is your typical third-person cover-based shooter like Gears of War. Put together, the gameplay is okay, but other than the flight sections that remind you of Crimson Skies (those developers are making this game), the general shooting has been executed better in other games. The main character is voiced by everyone's favorite video game voice actor Nolan North (Nathan Drake in the Uncharted games and Desmond in Assassin's Creed 2) and you don't really get a good sense of the story in the demo other than it being the first time you're getting the jetpack. Graphically, the game looks okay for what it is, but don't expect it to look jaw-dropping such as the water not being as detailed, the environments looking a little bland, and so on. I do however dig the soundtrack of this game as it is sounds somewhat different compared to most games of the genre. My time with Dark Void is that it is an okay game for doing what its intended to do when the final product comes out, but it is not something that will blow you away at first glance. After the flop that was the 3D Bionic Commando with a western developer and Capcom publishing it, I feel that Dark Void may get that same fate, which is unfortunate, but likely happening considering the crowded Q1 lineup.

The other game I have messing with this week is the open beta for MAG, developed by Zipper, the folks that brought you the first three SOCOM games. This has been Zipper's baby for a while as well as what they have been up to. MAG to them feels like it is the next level for SOCOM being focused on massively multiplayer online battles. It has also been in beta for some months already only being open for I think this week only with the final game out at the end of the month. If SOCOM 3 felt like an experiment for Zipper, it indeed is in which MAG is expanding on what that started. Basically, this game does not grab me right away the same way SOCOM 3 did. Maybe it is the 256 player online battles with huge maps, there are better shooters out there to get or wait for, or I'm still tired of the genre in general. For shooter fans though, MAG may be worth your time especially for those with only a Playstation 3.

You choose a faction you stick around for the whole game (I picked Valor) and you deploy in the game's maps to take out the opposition in a variety of modes from suppression to sabotage, your typical territories type of game. The customization ranges from getting your kits ready and character's appearance. Weight does play a role in which what weapons you'll be using and the armor as well affecting your movement. Rolling with a standard assault setup (M4A1, M9 pistol, grenades, and a repair kit), its a typical modern-based first-person shooter with classes such as snipers and heavy gunners. The twist to sabotage mode is that once both choke points have been secured by the attacking team, then there's one more final choke point to be captured while the defenders are drawn back to their corner. MAG also follows other standards other shooters have started such as a level up system and more. However, as I said earlier, MAG didn't grab my attention as if it is just another shooter trying to be successful as Battlefield and Modern Warfar 2. If you want to compare betas, even the Bad Company 2 Beta is better than this beta even with one map because I have a better time with that compared to MAG. For the audience it is intended for that type of shooter, then it might be something for you.

Well that's it for the PSN Demo showcase this week. I still think Dark Void and MAG could still be decent games at the end of the day, but I don't see them being special games that everyone will remember. With the month already off to a great start with Bayonetta (still surprisingly passing on it) and the highly anticipated Mass Effect 2 at the end of the month on the 360 and PC, 2010 for games will be great throughout all twelve months. Then again, maybe it is the lack of being in a gaming mood I have been dealing with at the start of the year. I'll just wait for Super Street Fighter IV which is the game that matters to me this year especially with all the coverage for it at CES this week.

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