Last week demo impressions: Halo Wars & KILLZONE 2

Last week we saw the demo releases of two highly anticipated games – Halo Wars & KILLZONE 2. I’d like to say, up front, that I was very impressed with both demos. Both games looked beautiful, played well and both offer new and exciting things for their individual consoles.

killzone 2 stillKILLZONE 2 is a first person shooter being developed by Guerilla exclusively for the PlayStation 3. When the PS3 was first announced this game was seemingly synonymous with the full potential of Sony’s next-gen system. So for the last two years of development, Guerilla has had their hands full trying to meet those expectations. In the graphics department, this game is absolutely gorgeous. KILLZONE 2 offers textures, style and animations that have never before been seen on the PlayStation 3. Many have already said that this is the best looking console game to date. As far as game play is concerned, there have been some mixed reactions. The controls feel a bit “floaty” throughout and due to the extensive animations, actions feel delayed from their corresponding button presses. I was able to solve most of these issues by turning my controller sensitivity all the way up and remapping a few of the action buttons so that they felt more familiar (although many took issue with the controls even after these tweaks). The demo was a bit short so I was unable to get a feel for any of the specifics from the story line, but it was very immersive and felt like one hellacious battlefield. All-in-all Guerilla provided an action packed, beautiful demo that definitely got me excited for the February 26 release of KILLZONE 2.

halo warsHalo Wars is a real-time strategy game that was developed from the ground up by Ensemble Studios exclusively for the Xbox 360. Like KILLZONE 2, Halo Wars has had quite a bit of anticipation behind it. Not only is it the first RTS developed solely for the Xbox 360 (with no PC version), but it is also the first game in the Halo franchise to be developed outside of Bungie Studios. I, for one, have nothing but good things to say about this demo. Halo fans, and especially RTS fans should feel very comfortable with this game. Other than adjusting the camera sensitivity to my liking, I felt very little difference between playing this RTS on my console and imagining what it would feel like on my PC. The campaign takes place several years before the first Halo game and, from what the demo leads us to believe, it tells the story of the long war between Humans and the Covenant. The demo also hints at the beginning of the Flood infection seen in previous Halo games. The game looks great, controls just as well as any PC RTS (albeit a bit simplified) and Ensemble Studios seem to have done a great job of expanding upon the lore of the epic Halo universe. This demo got me very excited for the full release of Halo Wars on March 3rd.

Both Halo Wars and KILLZONE 2 are currently available for pre-order.

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