Split Second PS3 Demo Impressions

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I’m a fan of arcade racers — Wipeout HD being the favorite of the lot. I’ve always wanted to get into four wheel arcade racing, even though I haven’t found much success with that breed of arcade racer. Burnout: Paradise could have fit the bill, but I wasn’t feeling it after the demo. (I realize the game has changed dramatically since then, but then I haven’t gotten around to trying the latest iteration.) Fortunately, there are more arcade racers coming this month via Bizarre Creation’s Blur and Blackrock Studio’s Split Second. I checked out the demo for the latter.

I dug the demo of  Blackrock Studio’s previous work, Pure. It looked, played and ran superbly. It was also quite exhilarating for its vertigo. Split Second isn’t about vertigo or speed for that matter — it’s about explosions. Like a Michael Bay movie. I drifted and drafted my way around a simple track building up power charges in order to trigger predetermined explosions. These triggered on-track explosions can than be used to wreck my opponents or alter the layout of the track.

When I first learned of this mechanic, I thought it was going to be awesome the first time through, but would gradually become repetitive and predictable with each passing race. It turns out I was right. After trying the demo three times, I was already seeing past the explosions and into the simple racer.

Like the gameplay itself, I was initially wowed by Split Second‘s visuals. After spending a bit of time with the demo, I began to see the faults in the visuals. Aliasing was a bit distracting and so were the lower resolution textures on the track’s assets. To sum up: Split Second just didn’t hold up to closer scrutiny.

Now let’s see if a Blur demo will show up.

Dark Void PS3 Demo Impressions

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Dark Void - Flying is awesome. Everything else? Not so much.

What do I know about Dark Void? Let’s see.

  • It’s developed by a western studio and published by Capcom.
  • The protagonist resembles The Rocketeer and is voiced by the incredibly prolific Nolan North.
  • It’s a third person shooter.

And that’s about it. Needless to say, I don’t know very much about it. It was interesting enough to warrant a download of the 700MB demo and after going through it, I can see why Capcom isn’t too fond of the idea of having western studios develop new franchises for them.

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MAG Open Beta Impressions

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mag-logoFirst impressions mean a lot and after spending a half hour or so with the MAG open beta and let me tell you, it’s not worth the 1.8GB download.

I get what it’s trying to do. In fact, I think the tri-faction, character creation and somewhat persistent nature of the online play is awesome. But what MAG fails to do is establishing the basics; the feel and look of the game just doesn’t measure up to the competition of today. Hell, I would go as far as to say that feel of the gunplay doesn’t even measure up to 2003’s Call of Duty. I’m playing Call of Duty: Classic right now and that game — that six year old game — has more reload animations than MAG.

The gunplay just doesn’t feel right either. It works, I can mow down people, but it doesn’t feel remotely satisfying or modern. Going back to Call of Duty: Classic and its inventory selection of grenades is understandable, but doing that in a 2009 modern day shooter? I don’t understand it. And why do these grenades sound like firecrackers?

It just isn’t right and that’s how I feel about MAG as a whole. It has a lot of great ideas, but when even the basics don’t feel right, what’s the point? Thanks for offering the beta, Sony. Now I know I can safely pass on MAG.

Dante’s Inferno PS3 Demo Impressions

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I was checking up on the last demo I shared impressions on and it turns out that it was another character action game. As you can see, worthwhile demos have become a rarity for the past several months.

So EA and Visceral Games (Dead Space) decided to give PS3 owners two week’s worth of alone time with the Dante’s Inferno demo. I don’t see why they would give the PlayStation 3 version such special treatment with Kratos looming in the shadows, but kudos to EA for showing the Sony camp some love I guess.

I had to give Dante’s Inferno a try based on the fact that it’s a God of War clone made from the guys who brought us the Resident Evil 4 influenced Dead Space. Most of the ideas may not be original, but you can still create a worthwhile experience based on established mechanics. Or so I thought. The results were all over the place.

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