Syndicate Multiplayer demo / Scary Girl demo / Gotham City Imposters beta

February 3, 2012

Today, is a good day for people like me who play demos almost as often as they play full games. The Syndicate co-op demo is here, and rather than like most demos that just blink at you annoyedly when you say “Wait, I was just finally starting to get into it!”, Syndicate’s demo seems to actually let you try the game something. If only there were a term for trial software that lets you try it before you buy it… it’ll come to me eventually…

The gameplay of Syndicate is slick, intelligent, and is very obliged to let people actually work as a team. My only major gripe is that there actually aren’t a whole lot of enemies. I can quick-scope 5 guys on a rooftop and then there’ll be no more in sight. That plus the mission is highly linear. Not to say it’s badly designed, but unlike say L4D that at least gives you the illusion of choice, Syndicate only lets you make a few choices and most of them are just how to approach killing the small platoon of soldiers you tear through. There’s the option to up-difficulty if you’re feeling lucky, but all it seems to do is turn down the aim assist, increase the damage you take and give minor bosses even more layers of armor to hack through. I will also have to ask: Why does Syndicate include pistols when no enemy drops them and they have no seemingly worth-while value? You can carry two rifles at a time (big shocker I know), but you can only start out with one and your choice of 3 generally pointless pistols. They can try to make the pistols sound fancy all they want, more people are going to be using the rapid-fire sniper rifle (including me!) rather than a techno-looking six shooter. Still, I can look past all these faults because the game itself plays brilliant. If the singleplayer plays this well, then I see Syndicate being a very strong contender in the future shooter market.

Now for Tim Burton’s dream game, Scary Girl. Upon hearing the Escapist’s review, I was intrigued enough to try the demo. Needless to say, it may be one of the best examples of good game design, period. It has well designed brawling mechanics, some of the best art direction and sound design I’ve ever seen/heard, and the platforming handles like a dream (this is coming from someone who sucks at both Super Mario Bros. Wii and Littlebig Planet). Also, once again it is an example of a very well made… something that lets you try something before you buy it (still am trying to come up with a word, I’m amazed no one thought of this concept before… maybe Nit will have an idea). It lets you try sections out of each game’s world, gives you just enough in-game currency (if you gather it) to buy one of the upgrades for your hook, and lets you see several highlights. This isn’t to say it shows you everything, but the demo did take me roughly 40-60 minutes to complete (I can’t even say the Syndicate’s multiplayer mission takes that long to complete). If I wasn’t trying to save money right now, I would have bought it. Try the demo if you don’t believe me, it’s on both XBLA and PSN.

Gotham City Imposters is not exactly what I expected, in the good way. While when I saw the very first glimpses of the game I was curious, further along it just disinterested me more and more. Then I downloaded the beta, expecting either something interesting or so horrendous I’d be deleting it moment after starting to play it. And dare I say, this thing is probably worth more money to you in the long run than the Robin and Nightwing DLC (as Gotham City Imposters is generally meant for Batman gaming fans, so chances are you already have or are in the process of getting Arkham City). The humor can be either entertaining or boring, but the attention to detail is astounding. The menu layouts, the backgrounds, the ads and billboards, the weapon balancing, the multiple unique platforming mechanics that all somehow work perfectly within the context of numerous levels. That said, the level design is also well plotted out, and the game ACTUALLY COMPENSATES FOR SPAWN KILLING! If someone’s at your one spawn, you spawn somewhere else, and in one mode of play the game will even swap the spawn points so that if your enemies are somehow abusing a strategy to their gain, you can kick their asses right back.

Also I feel it should be stated that all three games above have little to no gore. The “little” being headshot explosions in Syndicate (but it’s already M-rated, so you kind should be expecting that).

That’s all for now, see you later folks.

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