I am a staff writer for USAPROGMUSIC.COM, WWW.NOROOOMINHELL.COM and a freelance writer of all kinds of fiction. My most recent published work won GAMECOCK Media's MUSHROOM MEN Contest. I am currently earning my Masters in Writing and putting together my first Novel as a Thesis.
I am an old school Gamer at heart, and most of my work measures the new against the old as I feel some of today's games have sold their hearts for the price of innovation.
After finishing Capcom's Case Zero I sat down to think about what I just played. Well, it was glimpse of the upcoming game: new combo items, new weapons, smarter followers, and (trumpets please) the ability to aim, shoot, AND Move. (Glad you finally nailed that "tricky" mechanic Capcom). However, did gamers really get our Five bucks worth?
On a positive note, it did satisfy a jonesing for more zombie killing that I've had since I beat, sliced, and stomped all the fun I could out of the original title, but with Case Zero's level cap of 5 I felt just when I was starting to enjoy that awesome spiked bat: impale and rip move that the point, of earning PP, was gone; and the animation was waste of time in a game that makes you play for every second. Not to mention that by the time I made the "Boom Stick," I felt like the only thing I did was ruin a perfectly good shotgun since I was already capped out, and the 100PP bonus was worthless.
However. the entire business of killing zombie is now a matter of style as Case Zero's game-play hints at as Chuck is recognized by another survivor as a famous Motocross rider. This change in profession moves from Frank's journalist eye to that of how a stunt man/handy man sees the world and more importantly how he can dominate it with a little flair ala exploding a propane tank that he just cased in homemade shrapnel, but the demo only touches on this concept, and merely teases about the future of vehicles.
So what we have is a smaller version of the game that "teases" about the larger game and gives us limited game-play mechanics. Isn't that called a demo? Aren't those those things we've been downloading/trading for free since early computer gaming of the late 80s and early 90s invented freeware.
Now I know the days of Apogee and Doom/Duke Nukem which unloaded a hulking 1/3 or 1/4 of their game to you for free are long gone, but does that mean that there aren't some pretty large trial games out there. Little Big Plant unleashed quite the sizable demo, but on the other end of the spectrum Dead Space's first "Dismemberment Demo" was pretty lame in it's five minutes of play time.
The difficult question is a plain in front of our faces, at what point does a "demo" become a price-tag-able product? Dead Space 2 is about to sell a comic book with mini games for a price is that worth young gamers hard earned lawn mowing money, and with this new fad of releasing priced pre-release material will the "free demo" go the way of the dial-up modem and freeware demo?
Case Zero isn't a rip-off by any stretch of the imagination, but I think the questions it purposes are valid ones. So I'll ponder it what more more time. In this age of DLC, will the free demo die and how much game play is enough to warrant a price-tag.