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The Demoman: Demigod

by Christopher Livingston, Aug 03, 2009 4:30pm PDT
Related Topics – Demigod, Sonic Unleashed, PC, The Demoman

The tutorial for the Demigod demo is refreshingly brief: it consists of a button labeled "Join game." Turns out, Demigod is an online multiplayer RTS with RPG features, such as the ability to gain new skills, acquire beneficial items, and die repeatedly while being called a n00b by the other players because you don't know what the hell is going on because there's no friggin' tutorial.

The toughest part of Demigod: thinking up clever captions for screenshots, as they all pretty much look like this.

As you may have gathered, my first match didn't go very well. The demo gives you one map and game mode, which revolves around capturing checkpoints, destroying enemy structures, and staring mystified as dozens of little figures run around in different directions. I was excited to be able to play the giant building monster I've seen screenshots of, and I assumed I could just march him into battle and smash his way to victory with his huge hammer. Spotting an enemy demigod hovering nearby, I waddled over to him and clicked my hammer button. As I went into my delivery, the other demigod simply scooted away, and I wound up pounding nothing but ground. He then shot me with some anti-building monster ordinance, and I was disheartened to see myself promptly collapse like a Guatemalan hotel in a minor earthquake.

See, they're all the same. A bunch of things doing junk to stuff.

After respawning, I tried again, lurching my way across the map, selecting a target, swinging my hammer into nothing, and crumbling like an ancient Pecan Sandie. As I played and died, though, I somehow gained levels, which let me unlock new skills. I upgraded my hammer attack so it did more damage when it hit, though it sadly did the same amount of damage when it missed. I also got to add to my body, building towers on my shoulders that peppered enemies with arrows or blasted them with beams of hurty light, and I even constructed a trebuchet on my noggin that fired automatically, finally allowing me to do some damage. Coolest of all was the ability to suck bricks off buildings, which weakens enemy structures while healing my own monster body, resulting in my inevitable death being postponed a few brief moments.

One of my monster's powers is rolling a giant bowling ball. Shoes are extra.

I was clearly doing something wrong. Since I was spending so much playing time dead, I thought it would be a good idea to watch what other players were doing and do like they did. Cleverly, the game prevents you from doing so by turning the screen a murky gray while you're waiting to respawn, a thoughtful design element from the same developers who declined to provide a tutorial. Thanks, dicks! Thus, I was reduced to asking for help from other people playing. This was either met with silence or the insightful, four-letter observation that I didn't know how to play. Eventually, someone suggested I try a match with AI opponents until I figured things out. After I recovered from the shock of meeting a helpful person on the internet, I hosted a passworded game and played with some easy AI enemies.

Aaaaand back to bunches of things. And stuff.

With a little breathing room, I got a bit better and even started enjoying it. I discovered the existence of stores scattered throughout the map, which allowed my giant building monster to go shopping for goodies, like armor and potions. It's nice that on this alternate plane of existence where deities engage in holy warfare, someone can still open a Stop-N-Shop. While I never developed a real strategy other than healing myself with potions and running away when I was about to die, I got a bit better and even managed to kill a couple other demigods, capture a couple flags, and learn a bit about how to play a game that seems determined to prevent you from learning to play it.

Download the Demigod demo on FileShack.





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