Back in the day, game demos were commonplace. Before a new title would come out, gamers would be able to download a playable demo that offered just enough of a taste to figure out whether the full version was worth the asking price. Demos are rare these days, seemingly replaced by carefully scripted "gameplay" videos that lead players through brief snippets of action. Given that trend, I've gotta give it to the folks behind Spec Ops: The Line, who have released a free demo of their game a week before it's due to hit stores.
The 1.5GB demo can be downloaded on Steam, Xbox Live, or the PlayStation Network. Yep, Spec Ops is a multi-platform title. There's a hook, though: sand.
I guess those gameplay trailers are useful, after all. Rock, Paper, Shotgun points out that the demo is largely devoid of the supposedly novel sand mechanics. However, the action is apparently solid, the setting is something different, and you can sample both without paying a dime.
While I'm giving Spec Ops a shout-out, I should also point out that the Steam demo for DiRT: Showdown came out weeks before the game's official launch last month. May also saw the release of a demo for Batman: Arkham City, although the game is now six months old. Better late than never, I suppose.