So I was at Eurogamer this last Sunday. In a stint that let me have 3 hours sleep out of 48, a sore throat from lots of talking and sore legs from lots of walking, I can say I’d still do it again. Albeit that could be because on the coach ride home I met a lovely female. However, that’s not a story for here. Here is for games, the talking about them and the playing of them.
There was a lot of variety on show this year. As always for me, I was on the lookout for anything PC related. The good thing was that a lot of the games were playing on PC’s with 360 controllers, as is quite normal whenever they show games off, why would you show the inferior version?
Of course I didn’t limit myself just to that side of things. I was only there for the day, I wanted to take everything in, including the PS4 and Xbox One. I certainly managed to take in the PS4, playing two games on it. By the time I got to the Xbox One, with only two (or three?) games on show, the queue’s were too big that I didn’t bother waiting. That and neither Ryse, nor Forza, intrigue me in the slightest.
Let’s talk Sony. The Playstation 4 was on show with quite a number of games, a few I expected and a few I’d not even heard of, one of them in particular I played and adored. This one in particular was Knack, which I was more than ready to overlook for the bigger games, but I’m pleased a discussion with one of the Sony reps led me into playing it. Knack is a a surprising mix of Katamari, old colourful platformers like Spyro and Crash Bandicoot with just a little God of War thrown into the mixer. It makes for an intriguing, and difficult combination.
You take the role of a magical construct of pretty much whatever junk is lying around and your goal is to save the world from a host of invading goblins. As you move along you can absorb other junk around, adding to your size and health, eventually growing you that much bigger. From what I saw it’s a linear style platformer but with some interesting fighting as you pummel the goblins, using a god of war dodge system. The bright colours look appealing but belie what a difficult game it is, especially on hard difficulty. This is a PS4 launch title that is well worth keeping your eye on.
The other PS4 game I got to try was an indie game called RESOGUN, developed by the same team behind Super Stardust HD and considered a spiritual successor to the Super Stardust games, being a bullet-hell, twin-stick side-scrolling shooter. Unlike Stardust, this takes place on a cylindrical plane and allows you to change direction at any time. Like all games of this type, it can get insanely busy on the screen, especially with the highly detailed background, and certainly wont leave you bored. This will also be a PS4 launch title.
From playing these two games, and watching others from a distance, my impression of the PS4 is a good one. It looks good, feels powerful and the controller feels good in my hands. Seeing the console in person certainly gives it more of a perspective than from the videos previously, as well as handling the new controller. It holds appeal to me and more than the Xbox One, but that is still due to the early launch hiccups by Microsoft and my preference for Sony exclusives.
Of course I should mention the Xbox One, though there is very little I can say. I merely glanced at the queues for Ryse: Son of Rome and decided I wasn’t going to wait. Checked out a few people playing it but I’m still skeptical on the game. Ryse is a bit too linear, too many QTE’s and even though it’s not meant to be completely accurate, it just throws me off with how inaccurate it is even though Crytek have said in the past it would feel believable. But that’s me being pedantic.
Unlike the PS4, I only got to glimpse the Xbox One console itself late on and from a distance, through rather thick plastic. Like the PS4 it isn’t as ugly as I first thought it was when shown on videos. It will look suitable under somebodies TV as their little media hub. Mine? I’m still not sure about that. It will depend if it gets more exclusives like Dead Rising 3, which looked good.
There were a number of strong games on show at the expo, some surprising me both in positive and negative. The major one that surprised me, but in the negative, was Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. While the ocean battle seemed somewhat fun, albeit not improved on a number of games in the past, the land combat was as clunky as ever. I was expecting a little more, but it just left me with the impression that it’s the same as always with naval combat tacked on for something new.
What turned out to be a nice surprise was Dying Light. My overarching fear was that it was going to be more similar to Dead Island than it is, thankfully my fears were completely wrong. Of course this is still a zombie game, because aren’t they all now? Where it impressed me is the movement featured, it reminded me of Mirror’s Edge. While the short amount of time I got with it wasn’t enough to let me see how it will all play out, and if it’ll become unfocused like the aforementioned Dead Island, I can hold out hopes that they will have improved on this along with the movement.
One game that didn’t turn up as a surprise was my personal game of the show, Dark Souls II. Only a small segment of the game was playable, but it was the Dark Souls we know and love, improved and in all its glory with a difficult boss to boot. Any fears of it being watered down to make it more inclusive can be assuaged, it isn’t so. It plays like the first, looks pretty much the same, maybe a little crisper but still dark, and holds onto the difficulty that we love to be challenged with.
I was a little disappointed to find that Watch_Dogs and Destiny were both there but with no actual game content to play, not even the content that has been shown before. It always seems pointless to have a person queue to watch a video that could simply be uploaded for them to watch at home. Space that they took up could have been better used on games that the visitors could play and get a feel of, giving them a notion of if they are worth buying. Granted, they were popular amongst the people so I suppose they are giving people what they paid the entrance fee for.
Other games that were playable, however, were such as grand shooters like Battlefield 4 and Titanfall. Both showing large visual improvements and garnering good responses by the people playing, although I personally didn’t get the chance. What I did play, however, was Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD as well as Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Both looked good, FFX/X-2 playing like I remember it and the new combat system of Lightning Returns offering something a little new.
The last major game I checked out was Dragon’s Prophet, a new free to play MMO. From playing, this is a surprisingly good game with a lot of potential for the future. When chatting to one of the team, Infernum, I was told about the plan for a future update which includes mounted combat. Considering that the mounts are there from very early in the game, and they are dragons, then this is a great prospect. Not only that, there are player homes, player faction run islands which can then be conquered and taxes levied on them.
There were a number of other games on show at Eurogamer, including a host of indie games in the Rezzed section including Surgeon Simulator, Sir You Are Being Hunted, Redshirt and more as well as large name games like FIFA and PES 14. There are a lot I’ve missed out on mentioning and there were a few I missed out on playing, which means that next year I aim to go for more than the one day.
The expo was more than just games though. A lot of it is gaming culture, including cosplay and competitions. A number of competitions on a number of games were present, as well as a cosplay competition.
I’ve never been much into that scene and I’m far from adverse to seeing scantily clad females, I just have to start and question the case for making female characters more reasonably dressed and the expulsion of booth babes. The characters I would normally complain about, as well as booth babes, are effectively promoted now by 18-24 year old women who are showing off more skin than the women at my local strip club. Still, nice to look at and with the posing they do, that’s what they want.