On the 31st of October 2009, I attended the 2nd annual Eurogamer Expo in London. The objective of this was to get enough material for my “Life’s a Game” radio show at my University, but also to majorly geek out and enjoy my first ever gaming convention. Also, because I was doing it for the Radio station at my University, I was able to blag myself one of those Press Pass thingys what they gave out to people. Despite learning that I could have gotten away with not having one of those passes for most of the Expo, it was still pretty sweet.
Anyway, because it’s been like, 2 months after the Expo before I wrote this (because I’m a massive idiot, and also, supremely lazy), I’m really behind on writing this, and I’m supremely lame. I’m gonna divide the games I saw into Three main categories: Games Glimpses (In this case, games I didn’t really get to see or play long enough to form a solid opinion of), and the more In-depth ones for games I either got extended time with, or saw a lot of. The third category belongs to games I saw in Developer’s Talks.
So without further ado, Part 1 of my Eurogamer Expo wrapup – Games Glimpses!
I found a vacant machine playing a game, so I decided to walk up to it and try it out. My guy had a jetpack, and he was shooting some aliens what were there with some kind of Shotgun gun what fired bullets and the like. Whoever made this game knew me too well.
The game appeared to be a 3rd person shooter game, wherein I had a jetpack and a shotgun, and I was shooting aliens. Yes, that’s repetition, but I had to do this myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Unfortunately, I seemed to be stuck in a Jungle of some kind. “If only I could jetpack away from this land and find somewhere new“, I thought. That’s when I realised the jetpack only worked for a short amount of time. Running and gunning through this Jungle environment (which I can say, certainly looked just like a jungle environment that you’d see in any other games), fighting enemies very vaguely reminiscent of Mass Effect aliens, the game, if I’m honest, kind of seemed like most other 3rd person shooters that I’ve played of late, cover system and all. In fact, I only found out it was Dark Void when I somehow unlocked an achievement, and got to check out the Achievement list for the game (Which in retrospect, I should have written down).
However, my time with the game was short lived for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to make sure I got to play some other games that were freeing up, and secondly, I had to do a jumping section, I couldn’t figure out how to clear it, even with the jetpack of dreams, failed 3 times, and then quit out of embarassment.
Uncharted 2: Among
A lot later on in the Expo, some Uncharted 2 games were starting to free up, so I had a quick go at one of them. I’m not entirely sure what happened beforehand, because I was thrust pretty much directly into a gunfight. Fighting with the PS3 controller (Hey, this was like, one of the first times I’d even used a PS3 controller. And I’m too used to Gamecube/360 Controllers) and trying to figure out what buttons did what, it thankfully didn’t take too long to figure out what did what (apart from the obvious “Right shoulder/trigger fires gun, left grenades”), and I was able to get into the fight fairly quickly. The game looked fantastic, and it controlled very well, too. I managed to get accustomed to what was happening in the gunfight quickly enough, and the game looked and played very well in the very short time I played it. However, I can’t remember for the life of me how I finished the gunfight, or why I stopped playing (such are the disadvantages of writing 2 months after going), but I remember coming away from the very short time with the game quite impressed.
Halo 3 ODST
My opinions of the Halo franchise are that I think it’s a very good franchise, and the games are very good, but at the same time, I don’t think they’re the be all and end all of gaming, they’re not anywhere near close to the “Greatest games ever”, and Halo 2 and 3 are let down by short and almost lacklustre campaigns. Plus, while the multiplayer is actually the highlight of the games, I suck too much at it, and I hate playing with a lot of the people online (and in fact, it’s one of the primary reasons I regressed to playing only with friends). Admittedly, I had no interest in ODST, my fascination with the franchise now basically over. Despite hearing good things about the game, I resisted giving it a try throughout nearly all of the Expo, watching the crowded game whenever I’d pass it. It looked like the same Halo as others, but when I finally sat down with it (as the Expo was emptying out), I found myself completely lost in the game, because of it’s new Open-World format. I found myself with a specific destination to get to, and no idea how to get there. Admittedly, there was actually a Map Option this time, alongside the previous series staple of “Here’s how long you have to go, and the specific point you have to stand at, but how do you get there, you ask? Well we’re not going to tell you! Mwahahaa!” Despite there being an actual map this time, there was still no clear indication of how I was meant to get to this other location, and I have to admit, I kind of quit without really even giving the game a try.
Assassin’s Creed 2
For some reason, this was consistently crowded the entire Expo, and waiting in for half an hour or so to play not only meant that I got a bit frustrated and ended up leaving well before I got a shot at playing it (there weren’t really lines, as such, so it was a bit harder to know when it was close to being my turn. Especially when people kept cutting in), but it meant that I managed to see the section of game they were showing off more than enough to basically form an opinion without even playing it.
From what I could see, it looked pretty much like Assassin’s Creed 1, but with some changes, obviously, like the change in character (who still mostly looks like Altair. It’s the hood), location (which to be honest, just looked like a “rich section” of one of the previous game’s cities), enemies still reacted in a similar manner to before, the assassin target still spewed loads of unremorseful stuff upon his death, and if you hadn’t been told explictly, you could probably be excused for thinking this was the first game, or else incredibly similar to it.
Seriously, Altair and Ezio look the same in these pictures. It’s the hood, I tells ya!
Simply, despite some of the few changes they seemed to have implemented (Cutscenes! New Weapons! New Distraction Methods!), it seemed a lot more like a slightly expanded version of Assassin’s Creed One. So my opinion would be, if I had to form one: Doesn’t seem too different from AC1. If you liked AC1, give this a try. If not, don’t.
However, it may have been the section of the game they showcased, but it certainly didn’t seem that much different from AC1 at all, and people were gobbling it up and enjoying it. No harm in that at all, yet, Left 4 Dead 2 massively changed it’s scenery, gave people unique campaigns, characters, weapons, special infected, and basically gave people more in a sequel than Assassin’s Creed 2 seemed to be offering, and people were crying foul, boycotting L4D2, and claiming Valve sold out. We gamers are massive hypocrites.
I think this was the last thing I actually saw at Eurogamer, and it’s worth talking about more as a demonstration of 3D gaming, and how it could be used, than as how it looked and seemed to play (which by the way, is pants, and the way the game unfolded meant you got giant pixelated tree leaves popping up in your view more often than is comfortable). Admittedly, they could have used a far better game to demonstrate how 3D gaming would work, but I’m still intrigued in 3D gaming despite the game they used for demonstration. Obviously, first, you need to put on 3D glasses, which are actually pretty comfortable to wear, to be able to see the screen as a not-blurry mess of things.
Upon doing so, the glasses actually make the images you see a lot clearer than standard games, and separate the images you see to different levels. The HUD is brought right to the front of the screen, and now basically floats in front of the action a lot more obviously, which makes the action in the background that much easier to see. As well as this, the main action is now on a slightly further-back plane than games usually are, and this allows you to see what’s happening a lot more clearly, and somehow, immerses you more into what’s going on. Basically, it sounds confusing (mainly because I can’t explain for crap), but it’s actually an incredibly clever idea, which I kind of want to break into gaming now, simply because there’s so many different things the developers could do with it, it’s now affordable and easier for them (what with high definition and the capabilities of the 360 and PS3), and because this time around, it could actually work (take that, Virtual Boy!).
Picking on the Virtual Boy: The gaming equivalent of beating up the handicapped.
3D is great. Shame they had to pick Avatar as the game to showcase it.
Eurogamer Expo 2009 Roundup:
Part 2: Developer’s Talks
Part 3 Forthcoming.