Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
01 December 2008
Dead Short
There's a strange quality to the Dead Space “Dismemberment” demo. Weighing it at a meagre sub-400 megs on XBL, it basically consists of you playing as distinctive protagonist Isaac Clarke, running into a room with loads of monsters and blasting enough rounds in them to qualify you as a cover model for Guns & Ammo. Then, when you try and leave the room, a bigger monster comes and rips you to shreds.

The whole experience takes about, ooh, five minutes?

It’s an interesting spin, I think. Obviously the game has been out a while now, but the demo does everything in its power to ruin absolutely nothing about the game they’re trying to convince you to buy. It doesn’t give away any particular scare tactics, much of the story or just what the heck is even going on. It’s more of an entrée than a starter, showcasing nothing but the graphics and basic controls.

Which is interesting. Now that bandwidth is mostly meaningless and all that, it’s not unusual to see a demo clock in at about 1.5 gigabytes and just plonk you in the second or third level. With Dead Space, EA have taken a conscious effort to try and hide the game from you whilst, at the same time, trying to convince you to actually buy it.

It certainly left an impression with me, leaving me wanting more. I haven’t picked up Dead Space yet, but I imagine I will do it quicker now. Which is the mark of a good appetizer, is it not? It’s certainly different to the demo for Tomb Raider Underworld, which convinced me that I can wait until that one reaches bargain bin prices.

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--Martin at 19:34
Comment [ 2 ]

Comments on this post:

I had already finished the game so I passed on the demo. Thanks for letting me know about it.

It's been discussed before, but id Software always impressed me with their Doom, Quake, Quake II, and Quake III demos. You got a heck of a lot of free gaming, and they seemed confident that they could still make their money on the people willing to pony up for the full thing.

Then again, id Software had always been a relatively small developer, and they could probably get by on a modest number of demo-to-full conversions. That's less true, I'd imagine, with Dead Space. It is very, very polished and that surely didn't come cheap.

Of course, I thought the demo of Mirror's Edge was wonderful, but mostly for the time trials. The actual story game itself disappointed me profoundly. By the time I was done I didn't even care to go back and play time trials, even for some cheap trophies. So a good demo and a less-than-bright consumer (for not realizing the time trials were the enjoyable part) make for a bad combination.

By Blogger jvm, at 01 December, 2008 20:49  

I was intrigued by the game after reading jvm's post, but the demo totally dulled my interest. there was nothing to latch on to, and the controls just frustrated me.

By Blogger craig, at 02 December, 2008 08:47  

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