Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bad Demo... Good Value?

I just finished the demo of Blacksite 51 (downloaded via 360 Marketplace). It's the second demo for this game and both have left me underwhelmed.

I didn't complete the first demo -- I got confused and lost in a parking lot and just couldn't figure out how it was supposed to be much fun.

This demo wasn't much better.

After launching on default settings (Threat Level Orange [Hard]) and dying twice while trying to figure out how to open a door, I tried the game again on Casual. Casual was too easy to a fault. I couldn't trigger the door open sequence because I didn't have to kill all the bad guys to get to the door. I didn't figure this out until I mashed all buttons and just about gave up on the game because the door to the next level wouldn't open. After wandering around I finally found the last hopeless cretin and killed him to trigger the door open. Several bugs (and a restart) later, I completed the simple "turn the corner and open the door" component of the demo level.

My squadmates did not seem intelligent, nor did they do a good job calling out threats or contributing to my situational awareness. This game made me think of a very watered down Star Wars: Republic Commando (which was an awesome squad based game in my mind). For all the polish in the movies and graphical detail (especially during the chopper mini game) not much attention seemed to be given to the actual squad based gameplay. This felt no where near as cool as Call of Duty, Star Wars: Republic Commando, or even Half-life 2 (when you get the followers).

What I'm left to wonder is: What is the value of shipping a gameplay demo that is too hard (by default), buggy, and that lacks either extremely fun core gameplay mechanics or some sort of HFF moment?

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