Eternal Sonata (360), Stranglehold (360), Bioshock (360) – Demo Impressions

Eternal Sonata

First off, this game is extremely beautiful – this is definitely the type of game that should take every advantage of the graphical power of the 360. From a standpoint of a typical JRPG .. ok, the combat system seems awesome, being a mix of turn based and action modes, but my only concern in this being brought to the 360 market is that all other usual features of a JRPG are there – minimal VA, the typical town searching, etc. For people that have played JRPGS, this is completely expected, but as this is either going to be the second or third JRPG for the 360 (after Enchanted Arms, which is highly deviant from usual JRPGs, and possibly Blue Dragon) the style of play may not appeal to all games. That’s not to say it won’t do well – this appears to have the potential to do for JRPGs as Final Fantasy VII did for them back 10 years ago.

Stranglehold

I like the concept of the game, as it brings to mind Max Payne to some degree, but two things put me off initially. First, the shortened perspectively feels really odd compared to other third person games, and I don’t yet see why that option was used , but we’ll see what comes from that. The other problem was that if you just walked against a waist-high flat surface, you’d butt-slide across it — I may be able to get used to that but the concept is so weird, I don’t think was a smart thing to make this an automatic move. However, I’ll have to see how it plays out in the full game. Also, demos that require you to see a movie before you can fully quit them are extremely annoying. I don’t mind one or two ad screens, but a 2 minute movie to quit out is way to excessive.

Bioshock

I haven’t played through the whole demo yet (as it came out last night, and I only had a brief time before work to try it), but I will say right now, it’s nailed down the environmental and the graphics perfectly.  I get a weird mix of System Shock 2, Starship Titantic, Myst, and “Metropolis” the movie and/or anime with how the architecture and mood are presented.  There’s one point where you have to run across a couple of bridges as they are filling with water (given that you’re in an underwater city and all), and man oh man the water effects are done beautifully.   Gameplay so far seems to have the feel of SS2, though as far as I’ve played, it’s similar to many other shooters, but again, I’ve only played like 15 minutes if that much.

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