Finding the Sweet Spot in Demos

Enslaved Demo

With the break we took on GamerSushi over the last couple of weeks, I suddenly played more video games than I’ve played in a long while. Correlation? Probably.

One of the games I sampled in my several week long buffet was Enslaved. The game was good, but not great, although I would still recommend it for anybody looking for an Uncharted fix with not-quite-as-good gameplay. Sadly, the game underperformed like crazy, and is reportedly one of the bigger busts of the year in terms of sales.

Part of me wonders how much of this has to do with the game’s demo. Like many games, Enslaved’s trial covers the first level of the game, which provides a basic introduction to the world and the main character, Monkey. And when I say basic, I really mean it. It’s meant as the set up for the story rather than the gameplay, with incredibly linear platforming sections and only the slightest of combat. Much of the game revolves around the co-op aspect with the AI partners you encounter, and the platforming and combat grow from there. The first level is in no way representative of the game as a whole, so it’s baffling to me that Namco Bandai and Ninja Theory would choose that as the sample that they wanted people to play. Continue reading Finding the Sweet Spot in Demos

Are Demos Evil?

Resident Evil 5 DemoI feel like we’ve got a pretty good thing going on here at GamerSushi. In many ways, I’d like to feel like the discussion that goes on here is perhaps ahead of the curve on some gaming issues in comparison to other sites. I think this is especially true when topics we’ve debated about here start to appear in more mainstream outlines.

Take the subject of demos, for instance. CVG has posted an opinion piece stating that demos are evil, and no good really comes of them. The writer raises some good points which we’ve covered here, but I thought it would be good to revisit them. I think the main problem with demos is that they don’t often showcase the things about a game you really need to get a grasp of it.

Most games operate on a curve that teaches you about the game the farther you get into it, so the first few minutes is most often ideal. However, the first 10-15 minutes aren’t always the sexiest parts of the game, so developers don’t often do that, giving you weird glimpses into what they’ve made (see Resident Evil 5’s demo). I’m curious to see how the new PSN features that allow you to experience the first hour of a game operate, and how they work against game demos.

What do you guys think about game demos? Are they evil?

Source- CVG