Saturday, August 2, 2008

Demo impressions of "Madden" and "Too Human"

So, I downloaded two game demos off Xbox Live last night, the new "Madden NFL 09" demo and I finally got around to playing the "Too Human" demo.

Frankly, I have mixed reactions about both.

First, "Madden": The demo consists of the "Madden IQ Test," followed by a "Madden Moment" in which you need to orchestrate the Giants' Super Bowl-winning drive. The game itself is nothing new, if you've played a recent "Madden" game before it will all feel the same and you'll be able to play right away. Even the playbooks are fairly similar.

It's the "Madden IQ Test" that annoyed me. The test consists of four sections — passing, rushing, pass defense and rush defense. You do all this using purple hologram-looking players on a black field. The passing and rushing aspects are straight forward and I aced them no problem. But then, when it came time to defend, there are three defenders on the field, which you can switch between, but the black field and the blue ring around your player blend together to the point where you won't know which player you're controlling. And, obviously when it comes to "Madden," one slip-up on defense is one too many.

Oh well, I guess it doesn't impact the game overall too much. "Madden NFL 09" looks like another winner.

It's "Too Human" that somewhat concerns me. You play through one level — which contains several cutscenes all hinting toward a very expansive storyline — but the battle mechanics are so simplified that fighting these hordes and hordes of monsters is something of a joke. It degenerates the game into an old-fashioned hack-and-slash, much more dumbed-down than what I was expecting after hearing so much about this game. I'm hoping that the battle mechanics are a little smarter when we get a chance at playing the full game.

What concerned me more than that, though, is the camera. You have no ability to change the camera angles at all times, all you can do is move and hit the "center camera" button. What's worse is, the right analog stick, which many games employ as the camera, is your weapon. So often you'll turn to the stick trying to move the camera, and instead you attack.

A bad camera can completely ruin otherwise great games, so here's hoping that isn't the case with Silicon Knights' new game, which is out on August 19.

But, don't take my word for it, of course — go download them yourself! After all, you can't get any cheaper than free!

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