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Score: 77%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Stardock Entertainment
Developer: Gas Powered Games
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 10
Genre: Real-Time Strategy/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:

I've played my share of StarCraft and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, but real-time strategy is not exactly my forte. Call me a dummy (or, if you must, a n00b), but I've got a serious case of ADD when it comes to certain genres. Having to micromanage so much in so little time often overwhelms me, and as a result, I'm prone to lose interest after a while. It's nice to see that there are developers willing to buck a trend that can sometimes alienate potential fans. Demigod is a real-time strategy/role-playing hybrid that combines a fast and frantic new kind of gameplay with a really meaty character-building system. There are some really great ideas at work here, but many of them are offset by a number of crippling problems. At this time, Demigod is simply not ready -- but once the major problems are ironed out (and once it goes down a bit in price), it will be worth a look.

While Demigod doesn't quite deliver the sense of scale you might expect from a mythology-themed title, it is a very good-looking game. The environments sometimes look a bit underdeveloped, but the character models (both demigods and minions) look fantastic. The animations are quite good, as well. The larger demigods tend to lumber around and swing their weapons slowly, but they tear into enemies with earth-shaking force. The other demigods animate like they should; the graceful ones move elegantly across the arena and the bloodthirsty ones march with intensity. The death animations are so spectacular that I can't bring myself to spoil a single one of them.

Demigod sounds absolutely fantastic. I had to do a quick internet search to find out who the announcer is, because he sounds an awful lot like Christopher Lee (Saruman from The Lord of the Rings). While the voice does not belong to Lee, the cries of "We have first blood!" will remind you of the twitch-based shooters of the late 1990's. Some of the demigods are exceptionally well-voiced; the hollow groaning of the castle-like Rook is fearsome. Some of the demigods sound really cheesy (particularly Regulus the archer), but I get the feeling the developers intended for some of them to come across like dorks. Howard Mostrom's score may not match up to Koh Ohtani's work on Shadow of the Colossus, but it's great in its own way. When you are on the brink of victory or defeat, the game will respond with an appropriately-fitting track. Dynamic soundtracks should be a part of every game, and Demigod gives a lot of credit to that argument.


If you like games with a strong story component, Demigod will disappoint you. There's only a bit of plot, and the sole purpose of it is to give the demigods reason to fight each other. Other than that, there is just enough backstory to make you feel like you're playing in a world with its own mythology. It's interesting, but it unfortunately never gets better than that. If you purchase this game for the single-player component, your expectations had better not extend past bot matches. A structured campaign would probably have made the difference between buying the game and skipping it.

Demigod's main point of influence is the popular WarCraft III mod known as Defense of the Ancients. First, the basics: the only unit you actively control is a demigod of your choice. Four of the eight available demigods belong to the Assassin class, while the others belong to the General class. The Assassin demigods are aptly-named, because their abilities are active in nature. The General demigods are the tanks who attack their enemy while surrounded by allies. Their abilities are more passive.

Each match takes place on a symmetrical arena, and each demigod starts with a citadel and a number of portals that spawn minions. Every time your demigod scores a flag capture or kill, you will gain experience or money (sometimes both). You can use this experience and money to buy upgrades for your demigod, as well as your citadel. The citadel is often the key to victory; its destruction usually results in an instant match loss. Depending on where the flags are, they can offer useful benefits, such as extra gold. It is a good idea to set your priorities before rushing headlong into battle, because the tides of war are constantly shifting. Capture points are lost and won several times over the course of a single game. Most games end when one demigod grows into an unstoppable killing machine, but when both demigods have reached their ultimate potentials, it's a joy to watch.

Unfortunately, Demigod has been plagued with connectivity issues since its release. Many of these problems still remain at the time of this writing, but the development team has made it explicitly clear that they are hard at work on a long-term fix. Since Demigod's main focus is the multiplayer component, this is a real problem. Several patches have been released since the game's launch, but there's still a lot that needs fixing. If one connection is not in tip-top shape, the game is ruined for everyone. Hopefully, we'll soon be able to play Demigod the way the developers intended for us to play it.


The hardest part of Demigod only applies if you've never played a game like it. There is no tutorial in this game. The game simply thrusts you into the action, allowing you to learn by association. This doesn't detract significantly from the experience, but it would have been nice to see a fully-developed tutorial in this game. That being said, it's very satisfying when everything clicks smoothly into place.

Since Demigod focuses almost solely on the multiplayer component, the difficulty level depends on who you find yourself matched up against. There are some people online who are clearly veterans of Defense of the Ancients. If you're familiar with the popular Warcraft III mod, you shouldn't have any difficulty cresting the game's learning curve. If you are new to this kind of gameplay, you'll want to get acclimated with some single-player Skirmish matches before charging headlong into the Pantheon (the large-scale tournament mode).

Demigod is actually quite addictive. The longest match I've ever played took about forty-five minutes, and that was a three-versus-three match. However, there are in-game achievements to be unlocked; those are always fun to pursue. It's also a rewarding challenge to crank up the difficulty of the bot matches. Practice makes perfect. In the case of Demigod, that axiom definitely rings true.

Game Mechanics:

For the most part, Demigod's control scheme adheres to real-time strategy conventions. The role-playing elements are seamlessly integrated into the mix. If you play massively multiplayer online RPGs (World of Warcraft) or more traditional role-playing games (Neverwinter Nights), you'll adapt to Demigod's controls in a flash.

Demigod's user interface may resemble that of other PC role-playing games, but it is streamlined and unobtrusive. This is incredibly important for a game that moves as quickly as this one does. When your demigod levels up, a corresponding panel on the interface lights up. You must make your upgrade decisions quickly, because it is impossible to pause the game.

The developers of Demigod are definitely on to something here. They've expanded on a subgenre that is still fresh. However, Demigod came out of the gate with a pretty big stumble. On top of the connection issues, there's just not enough in this game to warrant spending forty of your hard-earned dollars. It may take some time before it is able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best games in both RPG and RTS genres, but I think that day will come sooner, rather than later. If you're really aching for a new PC title, I recommend holding off on Demigod, if only for a while.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP SP3/Vista SP1, 2.4 GhZ processor, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB Free Hard Disk Space, DirectX 9.0c, 128 MB 3D Video Card (GeForce 6800/Radeon x1600 or Better), Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers

Test System:

AMD Athlon 64X2 Dual-Core Processor 6400+, NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS, SoundMAX Integrated Digital HD Audio, Windows Vista, Sony DVD RW AW-G170A ATA Device, 2x 1GB DDR2 at 400MHz

Sony PlayStation 3 WWE Legends of Wrestlemania Sony PlayStation Portable DragonBall Evolution

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated