Monday, 23 January 2012

Demos - Asura's Wrath, FF13-2, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning...

Taking some time off from MW3, I decided to download some of the latest demos to try out.  Final Fantasy 13-2 being the only one of the three I've actually pre-ordered.  The other two titles are kind of on my radar, but I will wait for some reviews to be out before deciding to buy at launch date or not.

Asura's Wrath

Asura's Wrath has really cool art style, it reminds me of chinese comics with a mix of japanese anime for the female characters.  All the camera angles they use and how they frame it, and flash from one angle to another really makes it.  As for the gameplay, its tough to say how it will be since the demo puts you into boss battles.  The boss battles themselves are pretty interesting, lots of quicktime moments and cuts to the characters talking to each other.   I would like to see how a level would play out though before deciding if I should spend my $60 plus tax or just wait. 

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

I first saw this game on some E3 coverage, and it looked interesting.  The demo gives you the first couple quests of the game, after which you are then given 45 minutes to roam around.  The graphics are decent, they aren't the sharpest, or most detail, but the art style is really nice.  Lots of variation in the environments as well, so lots of colours are used which is nice. 

The combat itself is nice and smooth, which is very nice.  I actually enjoyed the demo a quite bit.  The only thing that bothered me a bit is how they don't show your character properly equipped.  So you have a primary weapon, a secondary weapon and a shield equipped, but when you are walking around the map, they only show one of the weapons equipped.  So when you go block an attack, the shield instantly appears and disappears when you let go of the block button.  What bothers me about this is, you figure games by now should show such details.  

Also, the NPCs have voiceovers, but the main character does not.  It would have been nice if the character you played had a voice.  It would give you more of a connection to the character in my opinion.  If you can overlook that then you may want to get this game.  I'm sure there will be lots of quests and places to explore.  The entire world looks to be quite large based on the world map, it really depends on how the developer utilizes the locales and how many quests are available.  The character skill tree reminds me a lot like Diablo 2, with skill points being alloted for magic, and for each type of weapon.  So you can really customize your characters and focus the skill points on what you want specifically.  Definitely keeping this one on my radar.

Final Fantasy XIII-2

I have always been a huge fan of the Final Fantasy games, it was probably one of the first games I actually played a lot of (i.e. 70 hours into FF7 to get knights of the round and beating the green weapon).  The last single player release didn't really please all the hardcore fans.  It was ok for me, since for me, I enjoy the story most of every FF game.  So I did not really mind the linear gameplay as much as some others.  This time around, the developers promise more of what everyone wanted; Side quests.  The demo doesn't really give you much of that to try out, so that will have to wait till the release date next week.  The demo does however show you some new stuff.  Mainly the ability to have a creatre from the world be a part of your party.  I guess this means the party size will just be two characters plus a creatre.  Personally, I don't like having a small party in JRPGs.  I think three characters would be the minimum of what I would want, at least in this new game, its close to that. 

This will be one of the rare games I play on my PS3, but the demo, I downloaded off Xbox live.  Its been a while since I've played FF13, but from what I remember, the PS3 was definitely the better one to get.  The difference in graphics alone were enough to make me fire up the PS3.  This time around, it looks like they improved the graphics for the xbox version, but there are still some small things that bother me.  Not sure if its just me, but it still seems a bit of a step down compared to the PS3 version of the older game.  Either way, the developers mentioned that there is some sort of tie in with your save game of the previous title, so I was somewhat forced to stick with the PS3 for this title.

There's a lot more interaction with the NPCs now, and in the demo, there are soldiers around who will step in to fight enemies as they appear, which is one of the changes in how these encounters are handled.  Now you can roam the map, and an enemy will appear around you, chasing you.  If you choose to attack it, you can, you can also choose to run.  There's a circle, which I assume indicates its range, where if you out run the enemy, you can avoid the encounter altogether.  This brings back some sense of randomness, but I think the area the enemies are at, is static on the map.  So purists will still have to live with that aspect being missing from the game. 

I did not get too far into the demo, and I am not sure if the previous system of weapon leveling is brought back.  There seems to be more of an economy in this title, more money is available to be picked up and the shops do show up more frequently.  I can't wait to get back into it, as I've always enjoyed the story and the graphics of the final fantasy series.

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