After a couple weeks of technical difficulties, here is the Demo Reel breakdown for the last two weeks. Playstation 3 users got the much-anticipated demo for God of War: Ascension, while Xbox 360 got Forza Horizons. Both consoles got a demo of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3. Let's see how these games are shaping up.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
The Naruto games have evolved quite a bit over the years, going from a brawler similar to Power Stone into the game this demo represents, which plays more like Asura's Wrath than a straight-up fighter. This demo covers some of the story that plays prelude to the main arc of the anime, and features a fight as the Third Hokage, and Fourth Hokage. Each fight is centered around one enemy (the Nine-Tails Fox and a mysterious human enemy, respectively). The fighting is fast and allows players to utilize their quick reflexes, but those a little slow on the draw will be happy to know that the difficulty is almost nonexistent. It's extremely difficult to understand what you are doing in a fight, an issue which is most likely related to this being a demo, and one that probably does not exist in the full game. Visually, the anime-style artwork is top notch and everything holds up well even in the thick of battle. If you aren't a fan of Naruto already, then you have no intention of buying this game as it is. Those that do enjoy the anime will find what is turning out to be an enjoyable, fan-service driven experience.
God of War: Ascension
Finally, PS3 users have a chance to answer the question: why even make another God of War game? For a series that was tied up nicely in the last installment, it seem gratuitous to release another game; a prequel, no less. Fans can rest assured, however. God of War: Ascension appears to be just as good as the last games in the excellent franchise. The fighting is almost identical, with the exception of a melee attack replacing the grab button (which has been moved to R1), and the ability to use weapons dropped by enemies. Neither of these new mechanics light the world on fire, but it's something different, and could be exploited more in the full game. This demo lets players face off against a couple bosses, which are fun to fight and offer the same sense of scale the series has become known for. The game looks beautiful, and the gameplay is up to snuff, so fans should get their last minute pre-orders in to play this the day it comes out.
The Xbox 360 does not get demos on a regular basis, and unfortunately Microsoft decided to treat it's users this week with a demo to a game that's almost half a year old. The good news is that those who haven't already played Forza Horizons will find a demo of a very fun racing game, albeit one with a decent amount of flaws. Horizons attempts to shift the award-winning track-based racer into an open-world setting, which leads to a few over-the-top races, such as racing a Mustang car against a Mustang plane, and allows for all the exploration one would expect from an open world game. The world seems a little empty, and there isn't much in the way of a story pushing you from race to race, but inside the races, the game is as great as every game in the franchise has been. The racing teeters on simulation without being punishing, the cars look great, and the soundtrack is outstanding. Those holding out on this game will most likely find a demo that appeals to them here, and thus they should enjoy the full game.
That's it for weeks 8 and 9! Check out this page in a few days for an article highlighting all of the demos released in week 10!