The Top 7... Best demos of all time

Demos are great. They give you a chance to try out a game before you part with your money, are usually free and almost always give you the same thrill you get from playing a full game when you start it up.

But sometimes the publisher in question goes a little too far with their generosity and gives us a demo so great it could almost be sold as a standalone game.

We wouldn't normally shout about it, for fear of them getting wind of the financial opportunity, but seeing as there's talk of charging for demos now anyway, we might as well go ahead. So here they are: The Top 7 demos of all time.


7: Panzer Dragoon Saga: Disc 1

This demo is so great because it is the actual game. Well, a quarter of it. The UK's Official Sega Saturn Magazine scooped this amazing coup to bring disc 1 of the four-disc Panzer Dragoon Saga to readers, sellotaped to the front of the magazine. Imagine if disc 1 of Final Fantasy XIII's first disc was given away on a 360 mag - it would be that big a deal. And, funnily enough, it was a big deal.

Check out this video of one of the demo's mosty memorable encounters. Feel the quality - the fully voiced characters, the sense of scale, the innovative real-time turn-based battle system with its circular positioning system.

One idiot subsequently wrote in asking when they'd be running the next disc from the game on the cover. It doesn't work like that, sonny…


6: Lost Planet

OK, so the finished game wasn't all that brilliant. But as a demo for the brand new Xbox 360, it was sensational. For starters, the taster gave you two big areas to play around in, so you could sample the snowy wasteland (plus indoor sections) and an underground lair.

Then, it gave you several weapons to play with, including the walking mechs. Add in enemy-spawning pods that you could explode at will and you had yourself a party.

It also threw some astonishing, Matrix-esque visuals at you. Being inside the hive and seeing all the Akrid flying around above you was frikkin' epic when you were used to PS2's modest capabilities.

It kept on giving, which is why it's here - two huge boss battles were the icing on the cake. Quite literally, in fact, as their ravaged bodies turned into huge ice sculptures waiting to be smashed with a single bullet.

Above: That's a pretty big bug. Is there an better advert for HD gaming?

This demo was next-gen gaming summed up in one delicious, free morsel.

Next up: "Weighing in at 121 pounds..."


Top 7


  • turqua - January 19, 2014 3:09 p.m.

    the best shooter demo is obviously sof2 demo ... soldier of fortune II, good old times man, a simple, perfect game
  • The8bitWalrus - July 13, 2010 8:47 p.m.

    Brutal legend, best demo EVER!
  • Bri77777 - May 15, 2010 3:20 a.m.

    The Lost Planet 2 one was awsome for me. You could actually go inside the freaking thing and escape through the ass!
  • Spybreak8 - May 14, 2010 8:58 p.m.

    Wow other than Lost Planet 2 I haven't played any of these. I'd have to add GTA2 on the list but hey this is modern games. (I loved timed demos on the pc.)
  • GodofPS314 - May 12, 2010 11:03 p.m.

    Bioshock's was fantastic. It took you from the beginning of the game all the way to the first boss. It was about an hour and 20 minutes of playing time.
  • LizarDAZZLE - May 12, 2010 2:43 a.m.

    Half Life 2 and Battlefield 1942 Multiplayer The HL2 demo was amazing simply because you got to explore the first level toyour content playing with - gasp! - PHYSICS!! and B1942 because I still play it today. The airplanes are so much fun
  • kor2disturbed - May 11, 2010 1:55 p.m.

    Wow that's kinda weird I got the Metal Gear Solid 2 demo disc when it came out and I loved it, but for some reason I never ended up playing the actual game.
  • speno93 - May 11, 2010 10:43 a.m.

    what about Portal :first slice, 10 levels out of 19 is a pretty generous offer and portal is awesome
  • philipshaw - May 11, 2010 9:55 a.m.

    Have to agree with the MGS2 demo, I played that thing for hours before MGS2 came out
  • enoop - May 11, 2010 2:03 a.m.

    What about the Phantasy Star demo that's the full multiplayer with only a few things missing.
  • RamenDragon - May 11, 2010 1:48 a.m.

    I'm surprised not to see the Mirror's Edge demo here.
  • NearNRiver - May 11, 2010 1:43 a.m.

    What about Portal:First Slice?
  • infestedandy - May 10, 2010 11:46 p.m.

    @Rhymenocerous Hell yeah man. I remember first opening my Playstation and then popping that universal demo disc into the system. Man did that have some great games on there! Crash Bandicoot Warped, Metal Gear Solid, and Brave Fencer Musashi to name a few. Saying that, I definitely played through the MGS demo about 50 times. Incredible.
  • Cyberninja - May 10, 2010 11:46 p.m.

    demos are good i hope they stay free
  • winghoo - May 10, 2010 11:23 p.m.

    Wow what a trip down memory lane that was! Lou
  • CH3BURASHKA - May 10, 2010 10:25 p.m.

    Looking back, the tanker level was one of the best parts of all of MGS2, and not because it had S.S. in it - it was a genuinely well designed and executed part of the game.
  • lovinmyps3 - May 10, 2010 10:04 p.m.

    I actually didn't like the God of War III demo that much. I didn't find it all that impressive.
  • drroxxo1 - May 10, 2010 9:10 p.m.

    i think the Psychonauts demo was the best one. If it wasnt for that demo i wouldn't have bought the game. Also i think im one of the few people who actually bought pyschonauts at full price when it came out...
  • Shrimpandwhitewine - May 10, 2010 9:08 p.m.

    What about dead rising? That demo was phenomenal and wildly popular.
  • MatzGamer - May 10, 2010 8:32 p.m.

    What about Bataman AA ??? it was a doos demo that gave a combat and stealthy experience of the game!

Showing 1-20 of 56 comments

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