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Resident Evil 8 Demo Shouldn’t Be Time Gated

Resident Evil 8 Demo Shouldn’t Be Time Gated

With Resident Evil Village set to launch on May 7, Capcom unveiled a somewhat convoluted method of demo distribution. Across two weekends in April, PlayStation players are afforded an eight-hour window to play through two 30 minute demos – spend any longer lingering in or around Castle Dimitrescu and you’ll be booted back to the menu, encouraged to pre-order the game, and forced to turn to external sources to see what you missed. For the first weekend in May, PC and Xbox owners will be able to play through both the Village and Castle demos together, although it has similar limits on playtime (60 minutes) and availability (48 hours). Survival horror doesn’t shine under such stringent conditions. -GamesRadar

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The Purpose of a Demo

A demo is meant to give a player a set experience that is limited in scope, but not necessarily in time. Old school demos from the bygone era of XBOX Arcade games where you get to the first boss and they ask if you want to purchase is no longer the approach (maybe it should be).

In the realm of “trying games” before they even launch, recently Outriders put on a display that shocked even me. A month long beta full of patches, updates, communication, and adjustments in response to player feedback. Resident Evil 8’s demo seems like a mutated attempt at hype, rather than demoing a product.

More and more I think games should consider giving players a free sample slice of the game. Content loops, when done right, almost immediately hook your target audience. I can play a platformer or a dungeon crawler for 30 minutes and have confidence in if I want to continue or shut it off.

Horror Done Right

Horror games honesty have a tight rope they must walk in order to deliver a balanced experience. The fear you instill in the player comes from a variety of sources, and the mirage can quickly dissipate if they sense the over emphasis on mechanics or complete lack of true threat or chance of failure.

The difference between Layers of Fear 1 and 2 was incredibly noticeable in this regard. They wanted to deliver truly “failable” areas to communicate a greater sense of urgency and threat. What ended up happening, for me at least, was a complete immersion breakdown where mechanics had to be focused on in order to “beat” an area.

I had similar experiences in both Alien Isolation and Outlast. Unfortunately, the timer in the Resident Evil 8 demo is likely going to function in a similar way for myself and players like me. An impending and mechanical “end” to the demo, looming like a pesky shadow over the entire and very limited experience.

Why I am Skipping

I was originally going to play the Resident Evil 8 demo, before I realized it was time limited. And now, the more I have thought about my experiences with other horror games, I’m going to leave this game on the shelf until the official launch.

Resident Evil 7 is one of my favorite moments as a streamer. Breaking out of my shell and playing something very much out of my wheelhouse and absolutely loving the sense of fear, impending doom, and limited resources. I remember watching my brother play classic Resident Evil games and this felt like such a great contextualization of the franchise.

This is the main reason I am not just interested in Resident Evil Village, but very much looking forward to it. I feel a sampling of the game will not just sour the initial experience, but place the strain and stress of a time limit in my mind, making the experience an unenjoyable one.

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