Simpsons demo thoughts

As you probably know, the demo for “The Simpsons Game” graced Live today. I finally got a chance to play it, and I’d been actually looking forward to it since we got to see so much of it at E3. The demo plops you right in the middle of a boss battle, where Bart and Homer have to engage the giant Lard Lad statue in “Shadow of the Colossus”-style combat. Overall, I enjoyed the demo. But I’ve spotted some issues as well.

Here’s what I liked:

- The art style, voice acting and humor. This is probably the most faithful Simpsons game I’ve seen in terms of capturing the show’s vibe. Everything from hearing Kent Brockman giving the so-called play-by-play of the battle to Homer saying stuff like, “I can’t hurt him, he’s too awesome!” or “I can’t help you, I’m too drunk!!” All this made the length of the battle much more enjoyable.

- The character powers. I enjoyed how both Bart and Homer had their own unique powers. I leaned heavily on Bart my first time through the demo — he can turn into Bartman and glide through the air, not to mention use his grappling hook to scale some of the buildings that were being decimated by the Lard Lad’s eye lasers. Homer uses his girth, swelling into a giant, controllable ball of lard that can crush things. He was especially effective against the legion of miniature Krusty the Clown robots that kept waddling toward us.

- The concept. The game is a parody of other video games, and I managed to catch some subtle and not-so-subtle instances of industry roasting. For instance, pop open the first hatch on Lard Lad’s backside helped me collect the “obvious weakness” video game cliche (I think there’s three). Stuff like that makes me want to see what the rest of the game pokes at.

What I didn’t like:

- The camera. My god, that needs to be addressed. At least “Colossus” had a target-lock system that allowed you to track the beast whenever you had to turn around and reposition yourself. There’s targeting in this game, but it chose to lock on the small robots instead of the GIANT FREAKING ONE that was trying to step on or shoot me. There were a couple of time where I was just plain dizzy with the camera’s sometimes spastic choices for viewpoints — like behind a wall or some other damn thing. I got cheaply shot a LOT of times by the robot. I didn’t die … but I wouldn’t have been shocked. If anything else, EA, I’m begging you: Fix. That. Camera.

I’m going to go through it again, just for giggles. I’m also downloading the demo for Conan, which I hear is … not great. We’ll see.