Video Game DEMO-lition: BULLETSTORM

We're back with some MAJOR demos, so lets jump straight into the impressions!

Bulletstorm (Xbox Retail)

The demo for Epic Games’ upcoming FPS title goes over the top in just every way possible and to say the least, it’s entertaining.  Starting with a profanity laced intro video that brushes past the game’s perfunctory story and gets right into the game’s tagline “Kill With Skill” mechanics.  Points, that marker of achievement from gaming ages past, return here with a vengeance as players are rewarded with bonuses for dispatching foes in creative and gory ways. For example the ‘leash’ grappling hook can snag a foe from a great distance and drag them towards your gun sights while simultaneously slowing their movement, giving you time to line up the perfect head (or crotch) shot.   Attacks can be combined with melee strikes, secondary fire from the three available weapons (an assault rifle, a single shot pistol and a grenade launcher) or the environment to add score multipliers.  The demo, and likely the larger game, is all set-up around this idea as all the foes are large and clearly visible even from great distances, at least in the single available level, and the amount of damage you can seemingly take while you line up the perfect shot borders on super-human.  This arcade-style feel is a fun diversion from the currently popular stat-heavy shooters (or the developer’s own pathos-packed franchise), and going for a high score using a variety of different tricks in a single level as if the game was demands that the demo is played repeatedly.  Finally, those planning to buy the full game anyway are encouraged to play through the demo for some exclusive unlocks.

Crysis 2 Multiplayer Demo (Xbox Retail)

The infamous PC motherboard/graphics card stress test known as comes to Xbox 360 in the demo for the upcoming sequel’s multiplayer mode.  While it is limited to a single map and a pair of game modes (TDM and a Domination mode called Crash Site), players are given the opportunity to try out the various features of the Nanosuit each player is equipped with.  With a tap of the D-pad you can activate a cloaking device, turn on heat-sensitive vision or bulk up the suit’s armor, all of which drain a very quickly recharging battery.  The suit also allows for super-human jumping power with a stomp attack.  The game’s weapons unfortunately don’t feel as advanced, as a standard assault rifle will do most of the heavy lifting.  also has a system of perks, kill streak rewards and XP levels that no FPS multiplayer can apparently do without anymore, though the option to call down lasers from space to fry people will never get old.  Fitting with the original game’s special emphasis on visuals, everything here is extra clean, crisp and shiny, no doubt pushing the aging Xbox 360 hardware close to its limit.  With its demo is looking to split the difference between the sci-fi of and the depth of , but without PC processing power, there might not be enough of a distinction from either to draw fans away.

Breach (Xbox Live Arcade)

If you are looking for style multiplier action on a budget, then you should at least give the demo for Breach a try before you go ahead and buy a copy of or used.  Breach’s developers checked all the right boxes for the proper online multiplayer combat experience: leveling, varied weapon load outs (only the Assault and the shotgun wielding Support class are available to start), game play modes (Deathmatch, TDM, CTF, Domination and a mobile version of Headquarters called Convoy), perks and gadgets, but the game pales in unfair comparison to their billion dollar selling antecedents.  The demo allows for thirty minutes access to the full game’s servers and five maps.  It is just enough time, depending on your skill level, to explore beyond the default character builds.  Visually the game is boxy and crude, the title’s eponymous breaching mechanic that allows players to blow holes in walls (not unlike what is already possible in the series) only exposes the game’s lack of polish.  The demo also touts its sticky cover system allowing players to drop behind walls and move along them in relative safety.  Unfortunately aiming from cover requires you to ‘move’ in the direction of your foe and then pull the iron sights trigger before you can fire with any accuracy.

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