Tagged: demo

I finally got to play NieR: Automata

I’ve played through the NieR: Automata demo 3 or 4 times now (once on Hard with no weapons, even) and I’m still not sure I love it. I don’t usually enjoy Platinum Games’ releases but I love the ultra-weird anime universe of NieR and especially its soundtrack. The music is very much in place for Automata but that was a given since the first teaser where original composer Keiichi Okabe was confirmed for the sequel.

The combat gameplay seems dense and involved — expanding on NieR’s penchant for turning into a shmup — but it’s hard to tell with only 3 weapon choices in the demo. All of the weapons have upgrade levels that will expand in the full game but even on the Hard difficulty it was pretty easy to button mash through fights. Simply holding the Square button initiates an automatic (and elaborate) 4-hit combo animation but it doesn’t feel especially rewarding without working for it. Dodging attacks is super simple as every enemy telegraphs their intent with flashing red eyes and the window for the counter is super wide. Hopefully the final game is a little more nuanced as the team has shown in a few different livestreams.

One intriguing element that I only found by digging into the menus is the Plug-in Chip system. It’s basically a system of passive skills but all of the UI interface options are in the list. I can imagine trying to squeeze in a powerful buff and disabling, say, health bars or the mini-map to make it fit. Your OS Chip is also in the list and I can confirm the game definitely ends if you remove that critical system. You also pick up a ton of crafting materials in the demo that you can’t do anything with and unlock shortcuts to previous areas implying that we’ll be running through these maps multiple times.

I came out of the demo more looking forward to the features I couldn’t actually put my hands on than the gameplay that was there. I’m still undecided but I recorded a brief playthrough without commentary for anyone else interested in the game. Of course, you can try it yourself for free by grabbing the demo from the PlayStation Store. Let me know what you think if you do check it out.

Hands-on with PaRappa the Rapper Remastered

I had to Believe, and now PaRappa the Rapper is going to be playable on a modern TV! Announced at PlayStation Experience, PaRappa the Rapper Remastered is coming in 2017 alongside updates of LocoRoco and Patapon but right now the game’s release date is December 31st, 2017! That has to be a placeholder date since Sony also released a free playable demo on the day of the announcement.

And here it is, all 10 minutes of it. Check out Chop Chop Master Onion in HD fidelity so fine you can practically get a paper cut from his edges! How’s that for PR hyperbole?

Of 2014: The ‘You Beta believe it’s not yet a game’ List

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I’ve tried to stay away from betas and early access games but nowadays you can’t help but stumble into them. Maybe it’s a marketing promotion or a free key passed around by friends. Maybe you get an invite for being an Xbox Gold or PlayStation Plus member. Maybe there’s just a good (pre)sale on Steam. Despite my efforts I wound up playing more of these than I expected to in 2014. Here’s a little about each.

 

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Beta: It’s just another word for ‘Timed Demo’

The Crew beta
Ubisoft blew it! A free-form racing game across the United States with no loading from coast to coast; and they gave it all away in the beta. All I ever needed out of this game was to recreate the Cannonball Run, and I did, and then I was done playing the beta. The actual game seems neat as well but the emphasis on multiplayer spoils it for me.

Destiny beta
I managed to get into the beta for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox One and the difference between them was a surprisingly minute amount of fidelity. They both played identically and ran just as smoothly with only higher resolution textures making a difference. This was the closest I got to being swayed by a beta into buying the full game but I was already bored by the time I got to the moon.

Titanfall beta
I love the world, the acrobatic gameplay and the giant mechs slamming onto the battlefield. It’s the playing that bums me out. It’s just another tiny arena where you mindlessly, endlessly shoot other people. I tried to explore the space available but some people just don’t care about architectural appreciation.

 

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Early Access: Play the game you just paid to help finish

Neo Scavenger Early Access
I played the demo of this game endlessly and finally bought into the Early Access version when it was in a bundle. I’m rubbish at surviving this game’s hardcore, hard science world but like any good randomized roguelike it only makes me want to try again (and again and again). It’s still not “finished” but what is there is substantial, I actually had to make sure it was even still Early Access.

Nom Nom Galaxy Early Access
I love the idea of focusing the resource gathering and crafting of Terraria on a larger gameplay mechanic. It’s all about streamlining the production of soup to beat out the competition. It’s the kind of mundane excitement that I can really get behind but like most of these games I’ve only dabbled until it’s farther along.

Prison Architect Early Access
Another pre-sale bundle buy, this is the one beta/early access game I’ve spent the most time with; around 30 hours to be more precise. Being a simulation game makes it easier as I’m building everything from nothing and not exploring already built content. It’s missing some core motivational features (campaigns, progress, Achievements, etc) but the basics are there to instill loads of stress and accomplishment.

Starbound Early Access
A sci-fi Terraria with interplanetary travel? I was sold the instant I heard the description and it’s still one of the few games I’ve backed. I’m still waiting for it to be more Final but I did jump into the beta build a few times. I’ve kept up with the development blog and though people seem to think the game has stalled I’m happy to wait. It just doesn’t make for any interesting stories to write in this recap.

Viscera Cleanup Detail Early Access
There is something supremely clever and oddly appealing about being the janitor that comes in behind the rampaging sci-fi hero. It wasn’t a kickstarter thing but I put down money as quickly as possible to pre-order this one. A year and a half later and I’m still waiting for it to be final before I put my heart into mopping up ludicrous gibs.

 

 

Of 2013: Favorite Free Games

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I’m not talking Free-to-Play here, these are four games I spent a good chunk of time with and didn’t spend a penny on (except for Minecraft, but you own that already right?). Microsoft launched Wordament on iOS in 2012 but it came to the web, Android, and Windows 8 in 2013 and I played a bunch of it on each platform. Naturally, swiping around on a touchscreen is the best (and fastest) way to play but any version will do if you’re looking for a unique word game diversion.

When I got my new laptop I went spelunking through the Windows 8 store looking for free games with Xbox Achievements and found Shuffle Party. It’d be more fun with a touchscreen but it only requires one click on the mouse to send shiny shuffleboard pucks and pins careening across the screen. It’s dead simple but still pretty fun — oh and it does have Achievements and even shows your Xbox Avatar celebrate and pout as you play.

The free version of SpinTires was designed as a tech demo/Kickstarter bonus to show the potential of what the final game could be. There’s not much of a point to it but the water physics, real-time terrain deformation and the challenge of getting a giant truck out of the mud kept me at it. Even in demo form the combination of the physics simulations, lighting and the intricate sounds of the trucks made for a dazzling presentation.

Okay, you’ll have to own Minecraft on PC to take a trip to the McMagic server but we bought in so long ago I honestly forgot it wasn’t free. Once logged in you’ll find the most amazingly intricate Minecraft server whose aim is to recreate the entirely of the Walt Disney World parks down to the most awkwardly realized drinking fountains. Katy, Dana, Ryan and I spent a week or so visiting our favorite locations, riding rides, spamming our way behind the scenes and having just as magical a time as we would in the real Walt Disney World.

Kinect demo reveals the horrible secret of NBA Baller Beats

Oh cool, there’s a demo of NBA Baller Beats for Kinect. That’s nice, so now people can see for themselves how the game — hey, wait! How can I play the demo without a basketball? Turns out that while the game comes with its own Spalding brand ball designed for the game “NBA Baller Beats is so advanced that it can detect just about any similar sized ball.”

Well the cat’s out of the bag now Majesco, you just deflated (eh, eh?) your own market. Now all I need is a used copy of the game disc and the Baller Beats world is mine to exploit. I’m thinkin’ inflatable globe, Spongebob hi-bounce playground ball, maybe even a regulation dodge ball. Game getting too easy? Hell, I’ll try bouncing a rugby ball. I’ll become the NBA Baller Beats equivalent of Drago from Rocky IV.