Demos released during E3

By far one of the best things about the modern E3s and next gen consoles has been that companies are now releasing lots of demos for home users during the conference. Here’s what we’ve gotten on the 360 so far. Not sure about the PS3 as I don’t have one of those but someone else feel free to comment.

Ace Combat 6: This is a nice looking/playing arcade flight sim. I’m definitely interested in checking out the full release now. I’d like to see a multiplayer demo at some point as well though.

Blue Dragon: The art style is polarizing, but I find it charming. Seems to be a by the numbers JRPG otherwise.

Stuntman:Ignition: I’m kind of suprised how much I’m enjoying the demo of this one. I expected it to suck but it’s actually quite a bit of fun. It’s still mostly a trial and error game though. Not a first day game, but the demo has convinced me to put it on my “when it goes on sale” list.

NCA08: Eh, footbal sims are not my thing.

The Bigs: Haven’t had a chance to check this one out yet, just went up today.

On live arcade we got Sonic and Golden Axe. Not too excited about either, I really wanted Bomberman, maybe next week, sigh.

So far a pretty good selection, and there’s still the potential for some more.

I enjoyed the Stuntman demo, very glad to see the minimal load times between restarts. I was surprised they included quite difficult demo levels, especially the one that required the reverse 180 at the end without a chance to really practice the move. As long as the full game has a friendlier learning curve, I’ll be all over it.

The Blue Dragon demo seems pretty horrible to me. The art would kick my ass if the framerate could stay smooth instead of feeling like the 360 is choking on some gristle. The combat system with the charge bar and a 5-man party is too dense to immediately digest. It’s all very busy, and hard to piece together given that the demo is dropping you into the game 75% completed.

I was simply baffled when I got into a battle where what appeared to be four mechanical clowns got to attack 10 times in a row at the very start, KO’ing all but one of my guys. This took about 2 minutes of me sitting there watching attack animations. Fun. Then my lone dude used his Limit Break (Corporeal) and I was treated to a Knights-of-the-Round length animation which single-handedly killed all four enemies, but which apparently kicked so much ass that it manages to slay the framerate as well. Mmmm… choppy animation.

The demo has actually made me not want to buy this game. I’d put the picture of the cat with the headcone and the food bowl up, but don’t have handy access to it at the moment. So I’ll paraphrase.


Agreed. After playing FFXII, I don’t think I can handle cut-away battle scenes that prevent me from getting from one end of a hallway to another in an hour.

It’s not the game’s fault if you go into battle with all of your characters at low HP. I had no problem with that battle. Not that I’m impressed with the game.

Big exaggeration.

I really dug the NCAA demo, which isn’t a surprise because I enjoyed last year’s version quite a bit. It’s got a better framerate and much better animation. If the promised upgrades to the other modes come through, it’ll be great.

My biggest problem with NCAA is that I’m worried that Tiger Woods will show similar progress, forcing me to upgrade (especially to play multiplayer). Sign me up for Tuesday’s release.

I didn’t realize the Blue Dragon demo was out. I’ll definitely check that out.

I hear Harry Potter demo just went up as well.

Breath of Fire is one example of just that. It took me MORE THAN AN HOUR to
get from the southernmost part of a corridor to the northernmost in a map about
2.5 times the height of the screen. So he’s not exaggerating; JRPG can be
that bad at times. Usually there’s an item that can reduce or stop random encounters
in these games…but I think it’s pretty bad design.

I’m enjoying FF3 on the DS so far, because I can take 3-4 steps and not be
assaulted. In fact, there are times I crave a random encounter and the game is
being too friendly.

I wish my DSL was working, so I could actually download and love or hate the Blue Dragon demo :(

The Ace Combat demo was great. Really enjoyed that, which is a bit surprising, because I thought Sylpheed was average at best. I might look into that, when it’s out.

Sonic is fun, but seems a bit buggy. I don’t remember these bugs in the original, at least - some events are delayed (invincibility, after hitting the TV, once only took effect after about 4 seconds), I’ve been killed upon touching a corner at one stage, and… well, you get the idea. Great fun, but it’s a little odd.

Blue Dragon is the only other demo I’ve tried, though I’ve got Surf’s Up on here somewhere, and I’m going to give Stuntman a whirl in a little while. I really, really want to like Blue Dragon, but I just can’t. The framerate is atrocious, which is a shame, because it’s quite gorgeous - and I really, really hate the Toriyama-style of character design, so I guess that’s saying something. It doesn’t help that it bored me senseless within a few minutes, your characters are so overpowered that you can kill pretty much everything in the first dungeon (the robot dungeon) in a single attack, and, uh, I learned later that the robot dungeon is the last dungeon on Disc 2 of 3. So, plot spoilers abound. Shame, because it’s got some nice touches, like the Overworld instant-kill of monsters you’ve beaten before so that you don’t just have to grind through them endlessly, but… ugh.

After firing up Blue Dragon for about 30 seconds I thought to myself: “Hmm, maybe no-neck grizzled space marines spouting constant one-liners is actually pretty good voice acting.”

Ace Combat 6 felt a bit like the Sylpheed demo. Lots of stuff going on but combat mostly consisted of Launch-Missile-When-Target-Highlighted. Sure was pretty, but I think I’ll get my aerobatic thrills in Just Cause.

Then I played Crackdown for about an hour; I still need to get 5-star agent since my original savegame was lost. So I guess I’m passing on both of the above games and playing Crackdown!

Ace Combat 6 demo stunned me, but I’ve been a fan of this franchise since the first game launched alongside the PS1. The demo didn’t really demonstrate any of the real enhancements to the experience Namco has been touting other than visuals, but it’s still aggressive missile-tastic fun.

Blue Dragon lasted all of 3 minutes for me. I took a look at the pretty visuals, threw out a couple high-level spells, and that was all I needed. The demo is too imbalanced for me to sink any real time into. I’ll give the full game a shot though.

Interested in Stuntman, but haven’t tried it yet. I did enjoy the first game, but the loading was atrocious.

Have you tried Hard mode? Normal is a joke, but Hard is retarded. I DID have all my guys at full life. They died before I was able to even take a turn. That’s not Hard, that’s retarded.

I can’t stand the random encounter bullshit in JRPG’s. I love how people can thumb their nose at something like Oblivion but drool all over some JRPG where you don’t even see things until you pop into combat. Then of course you use some powers and have a super-duper power as well so that combat usually breaks down to:

  1. If normal monster - use power
  2. If boss - use super power

Boring. I got about 1/2 through Enchanted Arms for this very reason. There are gamer points just waiting for me to earn them but I was falling asleep playing the game. Since that combat model is so borked I expect they want you to derive enjoyment from the cutscenes and bad voice acting which usually doesn’t happen either.

I was hoping Blue Dragon would be different but if not … meh. I don’t even want to download the demo now.

Well, Blue Dragon doesn’t exactly have random encounters. You can see all enemies on the exploration map and freely avoid them if you wish. Supposedly you earn abilities that lets you do some field abilities, like kill weak enemies without engaging in battle. Dunno the extent though.

The actual combat is the same old JRPG schtick with a few altered mechanics, which is to be expected.

I deleted the Blue Dragon demo approximately 30 seconds after the first battle started.

For reasons I don’t understand, I really liked the travel-map music.

It’s actually in the demo. You hit the right bumper in exploration mode and you get a “shield” that will kill any enemies you’ve fought before without going into battle mode.

The actual combat is the same old JRPG schtick with a few altered mechanics, which is to be expected.

Yeah. I spent about an hour in the game. The demo is actually funnish, since you can burn your resources with impunity, and you get plenty to start. But I couldn’t imagine actually playing it. It’s just too classic for me, and I thought the art direction was ridiculously childish with the unnerving exception of Zora’s rack.

Zora is a hottie.

Just sayin.

Nobuo Uematsu is a living god of video game music.

I just don’t think there should ever be a point where you’re spending more than 5-10 seconds without actively doing something during the battle. I think those 5-10 second gaps should be few and far in-between. If I wanted to pause the game while I went and took a shitbreak I’d pause the game and take a shitbreak. Watching the pretty animations gets old after an hour, which doesn’t work well with a 60-100 hour game.

The music for Blue Dragon is done by Uematsu?