Wednesday, September 29, 2010

PSN Demo Showcase for 9/29/10 (EA Sports MMA & Castlevania)

This week on the PSN Demo Showcase features EA's first foray into MMA and the glorious return of a long storied franchise...

First up is EA Sports MMA, EA's attempt to compete with THQ's UFC Undisputed franchise. In case you don't know, EA's MMA game features pretty much every other mixed martial artist that is not in UFC (Randy Couture being an exception however) from the likes of Fedor, Jake Shields (actually now in the UFC too), and others from Strikeforce. The mindset behind this game compared to the recent UFC games is how we can implement Fight Night-like controls into MMA? That is truly the case with the Total Strike Control with various strikes by flicking around with the right stick. Modifiers are on the L and R buttons as clinching, sprawling, and taking opponents down are on the face buttons. On paper, it seems like this can totally work, but the execution seems flat and it ends up being slower to the UFC Undisputed games. In other words, something doesn't feel right with EA Sports MMA compared to its competition. Maybe I'm still not used to the new control scheme even though the classic controls option allows the game to play like UFC, but that even with those controls, it is still not as fluid as I hoped. The fighters that are in this demo are Allstair Overeem, Bobby Lashley (yes, that Bobby Lashley who was in WWE), Jake Shields, and that guy from MTV's Bully Beatdown show. Plus, there's Big John McCarthy doing the fighter introductions as well, so you know the presentation aspect will be good knowing EA Sports. Back to the gameplay though, I had a tough time knocking guys out standing up as the ground game is way too easy. The ground game is more simplistic than UFC, but it allows for more easier situations to knock them out by ground & pound and submissions. There are some neat ideas how EA handles the ground game like various mini-games with the submissions where you have to rotate the right stick around to find the sweet spot by the indication of the rumble to choke someone out and a simple button pressing mechanic by timing them using your stamina meter. My experience with EA Sports MMA has not been that great, which is pretty telling for the game's quality as it doesn't feel as fluid as UFC Undisputed 2010, so it ends up as a sloppy attempt even though there's still potential.

On the flipside, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is out next week as the demo has been out at Europe for Playstation Plus owners for a week, but its out for everyone else there today (Yeah, I had to set up an UK account to get this one). This is the franchise's glorious return to 3D as early reviews for the game so far have been mostly positive. This is also more than just Castlevania being another "God of War" clone for the current generation of consoles as it is actually a solid action game all around from what I played in the demo. Yeah, the game controls like most other action games, but the story and longer length does separate itself from the others. In addition, it is arguably is the most "Castlevania-less" Castlevania because of the setting and the lack of Dracula (for now, who knows later on in the game )even though there's still a whip and you're playing as a Belmont. The Kojima Productions style of polish is also intact in this game as it looks pretty good for an action game and lots of long cutscenes as if you're playing a Metal Gear Solid game, but this game having that style of production is for the best which is why Lords of Shadow is as some people claimed to be "the Arkham Asylum of the franchise." Personally, I wouldn't call it that, but it does bring back the franchise into the right direction after so many disappointments last generation. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow does have that "sleeper hit" mentality out of everything else that is out this holiday season, so its worth a playthrough if you're a Castlevania fan and need another epic action game to bust through.

That's it for the PSN Demo Showcase this week... There's another demo for Vanquish on the Japanese Playstation Store as well which is the challenge mode that will appear in the final game, but I haven't put much time into it, so I might talk about that in a later time. I also played another demo for some new WRC game (UK Store only for now) and that's pretty self-explanatory. Hopefully I can get a DJ Hero 2 Demo stream going soon because I don't have a turntable to play that.

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