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Sunday, August 5, 2012

What a week! X-Box 360 Demo First Impressions

As far as nerdom and collections go, this was a fine week.  Not only did the Transformers: Fall of Cybertron demo as well as the Deadlight demo have their release dates on August 1st but I was FINALLY able to score five (2 in a store, mind you) of the newer Star Wars Vintage Collection figures and I won a lot of 4 G1 transformers in amazing condition for 24 bucks!   The guardian angel of collecting was smiling on me this week, that's for certain.  So I don't do a massive sprawling post, I'll break it up.  I'll start with a post on the demos and move into figure expositions in the following post.
X-box 360 demo first impressions:


All I can say is, "wow."  The demo is divided into 3 sections: Exodus (Autobot Campaign), Death from Above (Decepticon Campaign) and Multiplayer.  All three are great although I spent most of my time on the single player demos.  The Autobot Campaign is the main tutorial section where Optimus Prime is leading the remaining Autobots into the dimensional portal on the Arc away from Cybertron while the Deceptions are in pursuit.  It all goes awry quickly as Megatron's ship begins attacking and destroying the Arc.  In this level you play as a silent Bumblebee who looks like a mix of his g1, prime and cybertronian selves.  You get to see Ratchet and Optimus Prime in this mission along with many disposable Autobot soldiers and pilots.  I kinda wondered how a Gears of War inspired shooter would be able to have so many chracters who can die easily considering this is a story of the events preceding the animated G1 cartoon.  Thankfully, all of our favorites from the series seem to be NPCs during in game play while typical "redshirts" are left to be cannon fodder.  The controls are simple, basic weapon, heavy weapon, reload, dash, switch hands and a click of the left stick activates alt mode.  Bumblebee's mission is to take components of the computer to the power core to restart the ships defenses.  The classic "Take A to B to have C happen scenario" we see in most adventure driven shooters.  It really picks up once Bumblebee gets to switch into alt mode where he looks like a more streamlines version of his Cybertronian alt mode.  You zip through the surface of the ship through caverns and tunnels while massive Decepticon combiners (can't tell if its Bruticus or Menasor) are wreaking havok on the various points.  The demo ends where you make your way between a battle between Optimus and Megatron before the demo abruptly ends.  I was psyched to play this but wasn't exactly blown away by the gameplay...until I played the Decepticon campaign.  

"You mean "OUR PLAN", Starscream!" : Onslaught

This portion of the game had the Combaticons begrudgingly working alongside StarScream who is planning an arial attack with the other Seekers (I'm guessing since he's talking about assault from the air)  against an Autobot transport.  I love the voice acting of the Combaticons however I was a bit disappointed in the voice chosen for StarScream over the Chris Latta style of voicework.  Another thing I found strange was that Brawl is now the biggest Combaticon while I remember Blast-Off and Onslaught being the biggies out of Bruticus.  This apparently doesn't follow the canon of the series since the Combatacons weren't created until Starscream went to Earth and relocated their personalities into WWII vehicles.  However, this is before they were destroyed and needed to be resurrected so this may in fact be accurate since they are still in Cybertronian modes.  Besides the point, it's awesome to be able to see and play as them.  You get a much better view of the vision the makers of this game had by playing as Vortex the Deception Helicopter who follows Blast-Off through the ancient Autobot City and around its various defenses.  The second portion of this level picks up speed a lot as Vortex comes into combat against Autobot Defenders.  Here you get to jump from multiple levels of the base switching quickly between alt and robot mode taking down autobots like nobody's business.  Vortex also is a triple changer here as he has a helicopter mode and a jet mode as well with the use of the left trigger which activates boosters.  The transformation sound effects are what clinch it too for I found myself transforming even when I didn't need to just to see and hear the nostalgia value. My only complaint is that the demo was way too short and it left me wanting more just to see who else we'll get to play as!

I honestly cannot wait for this game to come out and see what the do with Shockwave, Grimlock, Metroplex, Bruticus and everyone else...it sure is nice to be psyched about a game release.  It's been too long.  Honestly, it could be anything at this point and be leagues better than the Bayformers.  Leave it to video games to do it better than a guy who made his movie look like one giant mess of a video game.



This demo also was released on August 1st as part of the Microsoft Summer of the Arcade lineup for 2012.  It is a sidescrolling survival horror and puzzle game with the feel of World War Z, the look of the Walking Dead comics crossed with the gameplay of Limbo.  It relies heavily on shadow, silhouette and manipulatable backgrounds while evading the "shadows" which is what the Z's or Zeds or Zombies are referred to in this game.  Randall Wayne is our protagonist who narrates as he moves and we start with him and his party separating after he killed one of the survivors sisters who is bitten.

 I have to say, as soon as the survivors started talking I immediatley was turned off.  The voices are just annoying as hell and Randall narrates to himself way too much.  One thing I loved about Limbo was the dead silence which was borderline haunting and I made a point to replay this game without the voicework and it was immeasurably better.  I can imagine the no talking in Limbo was something a lot of us liked since people are still writing articles about its' genius all the way up to last week on Gamesradar.com!  The only thing is, I can be fairly certain this is a game where you have to hear certain voice cues in upcoming parts and it really made me rethink purchasing this title.  I"m still thinking about it and may just wait for the price to come down in a few months. 

Now onto the good stuff.  I love the backgrounds.  Especially when the main player gets to go outside and see the sprawling destruction and you really get a sense of how much thought and work went into showing a nice bleak, destroyed, apocalyptic past.  Yeah, its set in 1986 in Seattle...cool idea that serves the purpose of eliminating modern computers and communication.  What ever did we do withouth smart phones? Another really cool thing is that the background is interactive in the aspect that zombies who become aware of you in the scenery will start coming at you and they aren't just part of the ambiance.  You will quicky get surrounded if you slow down and you also have a stamina bar and you get massivley tired out if you try swinging an ax too much.  This is way more about avoidance and sneaking rather than running and gunning.  So, if you like pre-post-apocalyptic zombie puzzlers with moodie visuals and can stand some pain in the ass melodramatic dialogue, this game is totally for you!

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, that's unfortunate about the dialogue. Often crappy voice acting is the one thing keeping a game from being perfect. I'll probably still get this one though because I love the visuals, and hey, ZOMBIES!


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