Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More Demos

Dark Void is out next week, by the way, not this week (thanks Loren Halek). The warning about checking out the demo before purchasing still applies.

1. Dante's Inferno
Dante's Inferno is worth downloading because of the art, which is just brilliant. I don't even want to describe it in any detail, because it's such a wonderful surprise and so creative.

The cut scenes, I mean.

The only problem with this game is that there's a game--if it were just cut scenes, I'd be completely content. Gameplay, unfortunately, is of the "press 'X' one million times" variety (which is a slight exaggeration, but only slight). In the demo, at least, all uniqueness vanishes as soon as you have to actually start playing the game--all that wonderful style in the cut scenes is replaced by a journey to Genericville.


2. Vancouver 2010 - The Official Video Game of the Olympic Winter Games
I'm generally a sucker for Olympic games, except that so many of them are just awful, and I expected this game to be awful. I download the demo strictly as an Olympic courtesy.

The demo was incredibly brief (one skiing event, plus a mini-game involving the ski jump), but I'll say this: what I saw was gorgeous. Not only that, but the animation, control, and sensation of speed in the skiing were absolutely first-rate. The ski jump was spot-on, too (although there were no instructions, which made jumping entirely comical for a while).

The demo was so short that I'm still skeptical (out of fourteen events, the demo only had two), but I should see the full game shortly via Gamefly, so I'll let you know if the full version has the same high level of quality. If you like this sort of thing, though, it's certainly worth a rental.

3. NCAA Basketball 10
I enjoy watching college basketball, but announcers like Dick Vitale and Bill Raftery drive me crazy. 90% of what they do during a game is yell catch phrases like a barking circus dog.

Raftery, in particular, is basically a sound effect. It doesn't even matter what he says when he barks, because it's the sound, almost like a growl, that's what matters. He could be barking "ONIONS!" (incredibly, his signature phrase) or "The KISS!" (another signature) or "Erectile DysFUNCTION!" or "Scrotal ITCH!" and it would all sound exactly the same.

This translates perfectly into a video game, and NCAA 10 has done an excellent job of capturing how g--damn annoying Bill Raftery is during a game. What they haven't done, unfortunately, is make a game that closely resembles college basketball. It's certainly improved, but it's still nowhere near the level of the now defunct College Hoops series, and it's entirely inadequate in 2010.

It would have been inadequate in 2005, too, but it would have been more impressive.

There is no way I could recommend this game at any level. It's just too weak. Buy an old copy of College Hoops if you want to play a decent college basketball game.

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