Demos have been around for years, but they are strangely completely new to Nintendo. The 3DS got it’s first demo in January with Resident Evil: Revelations, one that I skimped on completely, but this week there were too many for me to pass up. Since they are only demos there wasn’t a significant amount of gameplay to each game, but there was enough to get me excited (or glad I didn’t get the game in one case), which is what a good demo should do. Let’s take a look at each demo one by one.
Heroes of Ruin
An upcoming action RPG by Square Enix, Heroes of Ruin felt to me like a not-so-good Diablo on the 3DS. You start the game by creating your character, choosing their class (only barbarian and gunner were available in the demo, but others are going to be selectable in the full game), and creating a game. The cool part about this one is that it’s online: you can take your character online and play with another player via Nintendo’s online network. I attempted to join someone’s game but was denied access, and I thought I recalled seeing that online play was not allowed in the demo. Anyway, to the game.
Movement with the circle pad feels natural, and each attack is mapped to the face buttons. Normal attacks, in this case bullets, don’t cost anything to perform, but special attacks like a hail of fire and jumping back and leaving a hand grenade cost Mana. I picked up a series of quests right off the bat, and they were of the MMO/generic type: kill these creatures, collect eight pieces of wood, yadda yadda yadda. One of the worst things about the game was the camera. It is NOT static, instead moving with each fidget of your character. It tries to place your character constantly in the center of the screen, but in so doing moves the action on-screen in odd ways. I could see it being very frustrating in the full game.
Overall I’m glad that I demoed this one. I don’t think I’ll pick the game up from my first impressions. While I can see the hack-and-slash Diablo-esque gameplay being fun, and playing online being quite novel for a 3DS game, I just can’t see myself playing it for that long. Especially when I have Diablo III installed on my computer.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
I am a fan of the Kingdom Hearts series, and am very excited to be able to review the upcoming 3DS sequel. But before then, why not throw down with a demo?
The demo gives you a nice tutorial option to start, showcasing the basics of combat, and the games two new elements: Flowmotion, and Reality Shift. Flowmotion is a new attack mechanic that changes up gameplay tremendously. By running towards a wall or certain enemies and pressing Y, you run up them or over them, activating Flowmotion. From here you can launch into the air to jump extremely high, boost of the object to escape at a good distance, or attack using special Flowmotion attacks to deal extra damage. Not only does this make fights more hectic running around and up walls, but it also provides a viable means to defeat your foes. Reality Shift is a bit more tame. With it you can interact with an object, then use the touch screen to perform a special action. The demo only let you “slingshot” the object away, causing it to explode, but it hinted that other objects/enemies can do different actions.
Overall the demo was short (the tutorial and one small area to explore, then a boss fight), and you could only play as Sora (not Riku), and there was also no customizable Dream Eaters to play with (although you have two with you for the whole demo), but the demo still felt good. It felt very much like Kingdom Hearts. The only hesitation I have it to the camera: it was too volatile during combat, and it was difficult to find an enemy and stay locked onto them, even with the lock-on feature. Still though, very much looking forward to playing through this entire game soon!
Rhythm Thief & The Emperor’s Treasure
Rhythm Thief is a game I’ve been eagerly anticipating since I first heard about it. A touch-controlled rhythm game on the 3DS similar in style to Elite Beat Agents? Sign me up!
The demo was impressive, showing off three distinct gameplay segments. While all three are rhythm games and require you to tap in rhythm, the core rules behind each was different. In the first of three levels I had to swipe in time in the proper direction while dancing in unison with a troupe on the top screen. The second level had me infiltrating the Louvre and pressing the correctly colored button to mimic a pose and hide behind a statue to avoid detection. The last stage seemed like a boss battle or sorts, and I had to tap the A button and D-Pad in rhythm to fend of oddly dressed dudes. It was silly, catchy gameplay that I wanted so much more of than just three levels.
Fortunately this one comes out on July 10th, so the wait won’t be long to get my hands on the full version. Out of the three demos, this one was easily my favorite. It did everything a demo should do: showcase gameplay, allure me more into the game world, and leave me wanting a lot more. Rhythm Thief, you just might be the best original game in the 3DS’ library.
Nintendo’s demos seem to be a staple now, as more games are coming into the e-Shop as demos (and not “demo videos”). Oh, on a weird note, you can only boot up each game demo 30 times. There is this countdown number on the 3DS’ homescreen when you select the game. I presume that after you load the game 30 times you cannot load it anymore. Why Nintendo chose to do this (or why anyone would play a demo more than 30 times) is beyond my reasoning, but it is what it is. Here’s to you, Nintendo, for getting with the times! Cheers.