Two more demos this week

So two demos came out on the Xbox Live Marketplace. One for Just Cause, and another for Test Drive Unlimited.

Just Cause is kind of an amalgam of Grand Theft Auto, Mercenaries, and that awesome sequel to Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico. It seems to me that the developers paid a ton of attention to making a graphics engine that could handle massively large scale environments, but forgot about one little detail. What was it again?… oh yes, compelling gameplay.

There’s some interesting concepts there, but I can see the full game having a ton of missions to do, all of them variations on a few generic themes.

Test Drive Unlimited will herald itself as probably the 25th racing game for the Xbox 360, but it’s got some interesting twists. Namely, you drive around in your cars, around a closely detailed recreation of the islands of Hawaii. The catch: other players are driving around with you, and you can either cruise the streets, do single player races, or challenge people at random.

The game engine’s neat, but the driving dynamics are fairly clunky. It’s not trying to be a sim, and at least the controls are better than the E3 demo, but spend five minutes with any game on Xbox Live and you’ll see why having a persistent environment with all other players is a bad idea.

I drove around in the demo area, spent a few minutes driving down the wrong way of the main highway getting in everone’s way, just to see how easy it would be. Turns out it’s very easy to be annoying to people just driving around. Better hope the official races with people are instanced, otherwise roadblocking will be a common disruptive tactics by non-racers.

Still, these are just demos, so maybe they’ll nail both of these when they go to retail. But for me the demos have done their job, and I’m confident I won’t be buying them.

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