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Your Demo Impressions [Spoilers, probably]
Kedjane Offline
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Your Demo Impressions [Spoilers, probably]

What was your opinion on the Penumbra: Black Plauge demo?
Personally I thought it was great, alot better than I honestly thought it would be but it was way too short. I guess I knew it was going to be short looking at the filesize, but that was still very short - yet more than enough to really suck me in (might not be how you say it in English).

Here's a list of things I thought of while playing the demo, putting it all in spoiler tags just not to spoil anyones day:
Spoiler below!

The demo was simply great! I'd rate it a strong 9/10.
I had expected it to be pretty much like Overture, a good game to come from such a fresh team but not comparable to the greater developers - but it was nothing like it. It was alot better, though its short length was a flaw. Then again I was so emerged into the world I have no acual clue of how long I was playing, but I'm guessing half an hour?

Starting at the beginning: the tutorial, wich was great.
It had a very bright tint to it, wich I like in tutorials. It had a The Matrix and slightly Assassin's Creed feel to it and already here you got to see the awesome physics in work.
The inventory function also seemed alot smoother for some reason, it feels like whenever I press TAB the inventory just kinda.. floats onto the screen, and it must have been darker coloured or something because I didn't feel it took away the tension when opened, wich it in my opinion did in Overture.
Previous to the demo release I had also worried alot about the logo, it looks like it has some silly photoshop filter over it but well in on the game menu it was stunningly well - and the soundtrack has my absolute recommendations.

Already in the opening scene (Well, even at the menu) I fell into the atmosphere, wich havn't happend for a long time.
The introduction was awesome (along with the, now shortened, typewriter texts), the voices were suprisingly good and the artwork was great - except for the dog-eating picture. It looked too odd to really be scary in my opinion.
What happend to the players voice, by the way? It have gotten better, but doesn't sound at all like Philip.

The opening cell felt great.
Philip standing up so quickly made me lose the "I've-been-knocked-out-for-hours" feeling but didn't bother me as much on a second playthrough.
The way you can examine nearly everything in the cell was very impressive and one of the drawbacks in Overture had been turned around completely: walking.
The way the head moves, the sounds of the footsteps and the speed all works perfectly - along with sprinting.
Yet, sneaking I've never liked.
When just in the dark and the screen gets a blue tint is really ok, but it turns everything too bright - I found no use at all for the glowstick anymore. The worse part however is when you go into hiding and the entire screen flattens.
The entire screen being squeezed or some fisheye effect would had been OK but like this it looks kind of akward and honestly my field of view doesn't decrease vertically when I'm afraid.
The atmosphere of the cell was great and the sounds coming from somewhere really sounded sick. Bonus points for the camera looking at all four screws when unscrewing the ventilation, too.

The ventilation-peek scene was, in fact, the very moment I got seriously impressed by Black Plauge.
The afflicted looked visually stunning and the slow red light blinking felt great in comparision to the normal quick flickering FPS lights.
The way you were "warped" back also felt really smooth and the effect used along with the sound was great. I was kind of dissappointed seeing the infected was still on the table passing by the second time though, but I guess it makes the most sense.

By now I noticed that Frictional really have worked on the spelling, in the note found. That was a little "extra" wich felt nice.
However, here is where I noticed a sad glitch. I was excited when I saw you could turn off toggle-crouching. I turned it off and climbed up the broken vent.
Try and see for yourself. Ouch?

Coming out of the vent and seing that figure running by was neat. Not original but it worked just fine. Upon coming closer to the figure it seemed to stop for just a split second before it kept running wich really added to the atmosphere.
It made me feel like in one of my favourite old movies: "House on Haunted Hill", where there are "patients" wich appear from nowhere and are extremely fast.
The soze-puzzle was great fun and having cold instead of the first games heat hazards felt nice and original. I also noticed the colours on the termometer looking great. And found the ketchup.

The Black Mesa-ish transmission wasn't impressive at all. In pretty much each horror shooter I have played the last few years there have been some sort of polite announcer telling me happy news even though the rest have gone to hell - kinda makes me sick.
The thing about "only efficent workers are fed" was kind of amusing at first when I thought it was just a little fun thing they said - but then I came to think of that they perhaps were dead serious and suddenly it wasn't all that fun anymore. That's something I love in video gaming.
The dead man in the same room was well made. A dead person showing up "just like that", without any screaming music or tons of blood leading up to his body was cool - added to the atmosphere and his notes were great reading.
Getting over the bombs was fun, though disarming them was not. I found no use for disarming them either and honestly the puzzle looked like a standard Windows 95 error window or something popping up. It seemed random and I really couldn't figure out how it worked - it solved itself with some random clicking.
When walking close to the door and the camera automatically turned against it was genious. It shocked me as I really didn't expect it and yet it didn't bother me the game took over the camera. The very moment I heard the noise I thought "Look at it" and the game did my will with perfect precision.
"Only trusted blood is allowed" or whatever it sais was great too and that puzzle was really disturbing.

Listening to the latter found casette was alright and the voices were good. It was kind of bothering me having the "And their ultimately weak, one hit kill spot is... SLASH" listening again. I'd love at least a hint to their weak spot, the first letter or so.
Encountering the infected was awesome. He opened the door even though my large barricade and after strolling in and out a few times (I really wished for him to go away) he went "There you are" and I kinda panicked - ran away.
He didn't look very strong and Philip looks quite well-built though so I'm suprised he can kill you so quickly. The monster jumping to attack you didn't look too good either.
At least the death message is the best I've seen in a video game yet:
"Death is the final unknown", one of my personal favourite quotes.
Running away from him and hearing him bash the door behind me really urged me not to go back, masterly done.

The last puzzle was the most disappointing part.
Entering the room I was very impressed. However they made that lightning shining through the windows it looked absolutely awesome, the best lightning in a game ever. The air ripples outside the window were also great looking with no visible tears - and I'm guessing it's "the" reputated gas.
I heard a groan when opening the door, wich the first time made me stop for a moment - good. The second time I rushed in and what do I get to see as a reward.. a couple of flies and still nothing in the drainage.
The sprinkler system is the worst thing in the entire demo. It looks akward and just sounds dumb.
The pan falling to the ground in the final room was nice and kept me on edge (I armed myself with.. flakes, hah) and browsing through the refridgerator, ovens and shelves felt very realistic similar to how people always do in "Lost"-like films.
The ending room looked really interesting (Finally that damned computer, I've been looking for it ever since the tech demo) and makes me want to buy the game.

A shame the demo was so short, but yet it had alot of great atmosphere.

EDIT: Left out a little part wich I cut out for a moment and forgot to paste back in, it's not long:
Spoiler below!

All the things I saw in the pre-video I thought was like "the best" puzzles of the first hour gathered into one, simply because they were all brilliant, and I was pleasantly suprised when I played and saw all of the puzzles in the very beginning.
If the rest of the game keeps the puzzle-quality at what it is in the demo I will be more than satisfied and I'm kinda excited to see if it can take the test.

And yes, this thread shuold be named "My Demo Impressions" but I didn't realize that other thread was for the same purpose until now.

Worst regards, Kejdane.
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02-08-2008, 11:47 PM
str1990 Offline
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RE: Your Demo Impressions [Spoilers, probably]

its awesome Big Grin
02-08-2008, 11:57 PM
Klayman Offline

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RE: Your Demo Impressions [Spoilers, probably]

I agree with you Kedjane! Good review Smile
02-09-2008, 12:28 AM

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