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"Extensive" Darksiders Demo: Too Much Too Late? Sam's avatar
Tiamat At The Twilight Cathedral
By the time you read this, THQ should have deposited a hefty chunk of Darksiders demo on both XBox Live! and PlayStation Network, giving players a chance to take control of War, a Horseman of the Apocalypse and experience the Twilight Cathedral dungeon in its entirety. Released nearly two months after the game first hit store shelves, David Adams of Darksiders' Vigil Games explains that the demo has been engorged to give players a "true idea of the variety of gameplay" that would be impossible if limited to a twenty minute trial.

Using adjectives such as sprawling, massive and extensive to describe the game's first dungeon, the trial promises the average player ninety minutes of action, including boss fights against The Jailer and Tiamat. Despite the abundance of superlatives however, the question of whether THQ and Virgil Games have left it too late to entice players to buy their hack'n'slash action-adventure is bound to be brought up, alongside concerns that consumers will have to play through the demo content again in the full game.

Editor Opinions
Sam's avatar

While playing a demo is probably the best way for potential customers to decide whether they want to buy a game, I've found that the content is often experienced with little to no context. Within ten minutes of playing, I can usually tell whether or not I like the mechanics, but find it much harder to come to conclusions about the storyline or character progression when faced with a small slice of action exorcised from the middle of a much larger game.

By offering an entire dungeon experience, start to finish, THQ are allowing players to become more invested in Darksider's epic plot and character itemisation, both integral throughout the game, than a shorter demo would allow. Of course, rather than this extra content persuading someone to buy the game, there is always the chance that if may discourage them from parting with their hard earned cash, but from a player's perspective, surely anything that aids choice can only be a good thing. Additionally, I find the timing of the demo's release neither here-nor-there when considering the success of the title, as I imagine launch day consumers like myself make up quite a small percentage of total customers.

However, I do have serious concerns about the method of delivery for larger, more comprehensive demos as unlike episodic distribution, players opting to buy the full game will be forced to replay large chunks of content that they have already completed. As someone who likes to explore every nook and cranny in case I've missed something awesome, it took me a good two hours to finish the Twilight Cathedral when I was playing through the full game and although I had a jolly good time doing so, I'm not sure I'd want to do it again in the near future.

It's certainly going to be interesting to see if over the next few months, other publishers follow suit and start releasing demos with enough scope to give players a true taste of the full game. If so, I just hope that we are given the opportunity to skip sequences we have already experienced, either through the trial acting as a complimentary first episode or save game interaction between downloaded demos and retail discs.

Tags: darksiders