[2 Minute Review] Demigod

NOTE: Originally this game had a rating of “Rent.” However, that’s being changed to “Buy.” The reason should be obvious in the comments below. However, my stance on the tutorial still stands. Stardock is an exemplary company, and I’m sure they may address that as well (they have with other releases). I stand corrected. The original review text has remained unchanged.

A god has fallen. Will you fight to take his place?

dg1

That depends if you’re willing to accept the title as a complete game, and if you’re willing to teach yourself how to be a demigod.

DO: You are a demigod assassin (just you) or general (you and minions) who is competing to fill a vacancy in heaven middle-management. (This is more detail than the game gives.)

TYPE: RTS/RPG hybrid

PLATFORM: PC—Windows (Impulse and retail)

PRICE: $40

MEAT: Playing on Team Fortress style maps, you learn on your own to control your demigod to capture flags, spawn points, control points, and to attack and defend enemy units. Basically, it’s an RTS where you play one character. Throughout the battle, you can level up, upgrade your demigod’s skills, and add status effects. Earning experience, favor points, and “gold” garner you currency for upgrades. What you earn in the single-player game does not cross over to the multiplayer game and vice versa. However, this does not really matter. Apparently , you paid for a part of a game you cannot play. Good luck getting a multiplayer game to work. Oh, did I mention that multiplayer is the apparently main focus of the title?

The game has nothing in the way of story and campaign. You play in AI controlled tournaments of which there are eight rounds. Think Unreal Tournament. Winning gets you the chance to…play it again. There is a skirmish mode, but with most RTS games that’s a given.

dg2

PERKS: controlling a demigod is satisfying; excellent presentation and design; each one of the eight demigods is fun and unique; deep RPG elements for the demigod teams and the demigod itself; interesting sound effects; no DRM;

SCREAMS: TUTORIAL! Where is it? (see my final comments below); for multiplayer to, you know, work; for a campaign; to be a Windows Live title instead of a “new” tech; for more than eight arenas;

VERDICT: Buy. I cannot recommend enough how enjoyable this game is. My onnly wish is that it showed you the game mechanics and it’s a shame that the potential on an interesting single-player campaign is wasted.Rent. Before you get all antsy, I know you cannot rent a PC game. I’m saying this because I think it’s an excellent game—just not out of the box. Granted, the street date was broken by a day or two, and Stardock is working on the multiplayer issues, but c’mon. I’m not giving any slack for launch issues to anybody anymore. Also, if it’s a Games for Windows title, why not use Live? Instead we get a “new” peer-to-peer Impulse technology. I was not able to play a multiplayer game at all. Once all these issues are addressed, I think this would be an “Buy” title.

I was able to play a single-player tournament in under ten hours. Most of that time was spent learning how to play and what does what. The real kicker is that the upgrading and leveling takes some reading to learn what it does. The game runs in the background while this is happening. Yep, I replayed a lot. Also, here’s a quote out of the included guide:

WALKTHROUGH
Let’s face it, the two most annoying ways to learn how to play a game are the user manual and an in-game tutorial. Anyone who has ever introduced a group of friends to a strategy game has probably not told them to take a scholarly review of the manual or had them played through some hackneyed in-game tutorial mission.

…and then the guide proceeds to tell you how to play by basically describing the key commands. Gas Powered Games and Star Dock are assuming too much. It doesn’t help that they contradict the quote above either by making me give the guide a “scholarly review” to see how to play.

Comments

  1. I think you are being a little harsh on the multi player issues, Nat. The reason why they have launched with such problems is because they didn’t put any DRM on the game, not even for online play. So there are a TON of what I would guess are mostly pirated copies out there that stardock couldn’t possibly have accounted for. You can make the argument that they should have put DRM on the title so that paying customers could get their moneys worth, but at the same time I think a little slack should be given considering that the companies heart is in the right place.

  2. I thought that too about the DRM.

    However, I did a little research into it on their forums. You cannot even go in to multiplayer without a key. How do I know this? Their servers won’t let you connect without an update and you need the key to update via Impulse. It’s a neat trick.

    I honestly think think they were caught off guard with the Gamestop break, but then again, they released the game a day earlier themselves via Impulse.

    I think Stardock is an amazing company (if albeit getting a little too “look at us, no DRM” cocky). I don’t doubt that they will solve the issue, but we’re talking about the entire user-base not being able to play online–and the game is BUILT around it.

    This Impulse peer-to-peer stuff I’ve been reading is a little weird and I cannot understand why they would use it when there are so many other networking techs that work and work well. Honestly, I think it’s an “authentication” type peer-to-peer. Some might call that DRM on the backend.

    I don’t know. However, note that I do recommend the game, but in it’s current state I could not give it a buy rating. It’s not delivering whatever the problem. I’d have no problem coming back to the review and giving it an addendum, but for now it stands.

  3. consider me corrected then.

    I actually was taking my info off an article I read, and the article specifically stated that Stardock thought some of the problem was related to piracy.

    If it’s not then you are right, this shouldn’t have happened. It’s not like Sins isn’t popular enough that they should have been ready.

  4. I love Stardock. Basically, they are taking all the blame themselves. That takes courage.

    http://forums.demigodthegame.com/347149

    They’ve been making these massive posts each day about the game. The Stardock CEO even says it’s all on them.

    It is amazing at the amount of piracy that is there, but they admit it’s not that which is causing the problem. I think any other developer would have just said “PIRATES!”

  5. I think you are just less cynical then me.

    If he comes out and says that the problems were all caused by the fact that the game had no DRM, then he looks like a jack-a**, because he’s been the most vocal critic of DRM that there is.

    However in this case I do believe DRM has nothing to do with it. In a week once this all gets squared away no is going to care. Stardock fans are very loyal.

  6. So many things go on behind the scenes, but it looks like Stardock is taking the right approach.

    I would agree with Lunar, though, and say they would have a lot of egg on their face if they blamed piracy. Hopefully everything he’s saying is on the up-and-up.

Trackbacks

  1. […] time has passed since I did my 2 Minute Review of Demigod, that I’d figured I’d revisit it again. I’ve caught myself passing over such games […]

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