Wednesday, 28 September 2011

An excursion into the Eurogamer Expo Part 1

This is mainly intended to be a StarCraft 2 blog but I want to start my first post talking about the Eurogamer Expo that recently occurred in London and share my thoughts about what I saw, as this was my first experience at such an event. It was great to see so many people interested in video games converging and I was blown away by the size of the convention centre and all the games on show. Here is the best and worse of what I saw on day one.
Uncharted 3 looks amazing.

My highlight of the show was Rage, I was expecting an average shooter when I jumped onto a machine but what I found was so much deeper; I guess I shouldn't have expected anything less from the creators of Doom and Quake. The demo had too much to do in one play through and though I didn't get a chance to go back I  loved what I saw. I played through a section where you are trying to bust a friend out of an Authority prison, fighting against well equipped enemies and the occasional mutant. Luckily you come well prepared with an assortment of weapons, many with alternate ammunition types, as well as various items you can use such as EMP grenades and spider bots. My favorite weapon had to be the crossbow loaded with mind control bolts that allows you to take control of an enemy and blow them up after moving them. With online co-op, a plethora of weapons and beautiful graphics this is definitely going to be a game to watch.
I was surprised by how much RAGE exceeded my expectations.

A demo of Skyrim was playable where players were released into a part of the wild and allowed to go as far as they wanted in the time allowed. Whilst I queued I saw players exploring dungeons and fighting giants and I couldn't wait to do all this, however when I got into the game I couldn't find any of this. Though I didn't need to find any of this to have a good time, in the end it was the mechanics of the game, the attention to detail and the amazing world they constructed that meant that I still had a great time. I know that when Skyrim is released I will lose about a week of my life and yet I still cannot wait.
I now cannot wait for Skyrim.

A let down was the Arkham City demo, which I have seen videos of before. The demo starts off with Catwomen stealing from Two Face and getting caught then switches over to Batman as he finds out what happens and goes to save her. Unfortunately the graphics look very similar to the first game, the demo was full of cutscenes that took away from play time and playing as Catwomen gave the demo a disjointed feel that wont be as apparent in the full game. I have no doubt that Arkham City will be great, I just think that they chose the wrong part for the demo, and it's a shame that the content wasn't new.
Hopefully Arkham City will reach it's true potential.

After playing Skyward Sword, Nintendo's second Zelda game on the Wii, I was unfortunately left underwhelmed. My first thought upon seeing the graphics was 'wow this would be nice in HD'  as the art style is interesting but that can only take a game so far. The first segment involved bird racing, which felt slow, unresponsive, and lacked any challenge. The second part of the demo showed a very brief bit of a dungeon though suffered from being relatively directionless as no hints are given and you are just dumped into the middle of a large room and expected to find your own way around. There were some new items to use such as a flying scarab that can be used to collect and move items but other than that this felt the same as every other Zelda game. It's a shame that Nintendo's innovation is restricted to it's hardware and it's software is left to tired iterations of old series.
I have loved every previous Zelda game so I'm sure Skyward Sword will be great in the end.

At the end of day one I went to the developer conference for Uncharted 3 which was hosted by one of the game developers and Nolan North; the voice and motion actor for the main protagonist. The two guys were great together and obviously very passionate about the work that they were doing on Uncharted 3. They showed off old footage but commentated it to add a different perspective and a deeper insight into it. They also played through an exclusive section of the game that hadn't been shown before. In it we saw for the first time a desert level that had been only been hinted at before in the original teaser. The lighting and particle effects in the desert look amazing and show that Naughty Dog are still pushing how far graphics on consoles can go. Uncharted 2 was one of the best all round games I have ever played and it looks like Uncharted 3 will blow that out of the water with an expanded multiplayer system, better graphics and a new and more character driven story.

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