Eurogamer Expo 2009 – Games (Hands On And Opinions)

This is the final part of my Eurogamer Roundup, and features hands on and opinions of all the games not covered in the first two parts.
I hope you enjoy reading it :)

Mario And Luigi 3: Bowser’s Inside Story
The first game I placed my grubby mitts on at Eurogamer, I’m a massive fan of the Mario & Luigi RPG series; I consider Superstar Saga one of my all time favourite games, and I massively enjoyed Partners In Time, and have been looking forward to Bowser’s Inside Story, so called because Mario and Luigi are inside Bowser for the majority of the game, for quite some time. So what did I learn? That even in a 10 minute session, I laughed a lot, and still found the battle system (which at that early on in the game was quite barebones due to the lack of moves you normally pick up throughout the games) fresh and entertaining. In other words, if you enjoyed any of the Mario RPGs, whether they be Paper or And Luigi, this is a must have, and I strongly recommend it to everyone, even just from a 10 minute session.

Bowser and Fawful, representin’

Borderlands was being criminally underplayed when I came around to playing it. However, the game was cleverly set up for 4 player multiplayer with those in the same row. Playing 4 player multiplayer was an incredibly fun experience, and is clearly the way Borderland is meant to be played: With other people. The graphic style is interesting, and the gameplay, from what I played is very fun. However, I question the fact that enemies a couple levels above you are so much harder to kill. Maybe it’s a way to stop sequence breaking or rushing through the game, but it seems a bit put-on. However, very fun game to play, and I enjoyed the short time I played it immensely.

Is… is he… is he touching himself?

Heavy Rain:
I saw this multiple times throughout the day, and despite the fact I didn’t get to have a hands on, I saw more than enough of this game to form opinions on it, I guess. Developed by Quantic Dreams, the makers of the fantastic Farenheit (Indigo Prophecy), Heavy Rain is their latest title, which aims to be one of the more ambitious titles ever made. Graphically, it looks fantastic, and of course, it’s branching storyline and the ability to have scenes end in a variety of different ways look like it’s going to possibly warrant multiple playthroughs, especially as main characters can die, and the plot will still continue. Anyway, of the two scenes the game was demonstrating, the one I saw the most of was a chapter in which a detective goes into a convenience store, asking the owner questions about his son’s killer: The Origami Killer, so called because apparently, he leaves origami by his victims. Unable to gleam any answers from the owner, the detective searches out some Asthma medication, but it’s at this point, a robber comes into the store. From here, there were multiple ways for the scene to play out, and of course, these would possibly have an impact on the rest of the game. For the scene being, there seemed to be a set outcome in that the shopkeeper will provide the detective with the relevant information regardless of what happens (unless you stay in the back and let the robber rob the joint). The options for what could be done involved sneaking up on the robber and knocking him out, talking him out of robbing the place and running away, interrogating, then beating him up, and being shot. The fact the game allowed for so many different methods of completing the scene, and the fact the game looks that fantastic, and offers so many choices means it’s certainly one to look out for. Don’t let this one get undersold like Farenheit did.

Everything’s gonna be alright if you buy Heavy Rain… Don’t make me get that clown image again…

Brutal Legend:
From the legendary Tim Schafer, this action/RTS hybrid set in the land of HEAVY METAL HELLS YEAH is a hilarious and fun experience, from what I played of it (Which is roughly after the Xbox Demo finishes, and the couple chapters after that). Jack Black does an amazing job of voicing the main character, the game’s environments look amazing, and it plays pretty well, too. The dialogues were also hilarious, and the gameplay does a good job of introducing new elements to the game, while also being funny and keeping you immersed in the game. What I played of it certainly made me want to play at lot more, but then, I haven’t played the real-time-strategy parts, so I don’t know how fun those would be, or how fun extended time in the Overworld would be.

We need to get to Bladehenge? Then away we go, with the power of METAL!

New Super Mario Bros Wii:

I got to play two twenty-minute sessions of this, which I was super happy about, because not only did that mean I got extended time with it, but got to try the game with two different groups of people. New Super Mario Bros Wii, obviously, is the new iteration of Super Mario Bros, and the first on home consoles for a long time. The addition this time is that this time, you can play with up to 3 friends (so 4 in total, yo). The levels are accomodated for that, but they look as if they could be challenging (though a bit barren occasionally) in single player. As well as this, the controls are just fine, and they work tremendously well. The only problem to note is that the gaming experience, and thus, your enjoyment, would probably vary depending on who you were playing with. Otherwise, this should be fantastic.

Typical that the only picture I got of the scores at the end of each level in NSMBW was the one where I didn’t get the highest score of the group…

Left 4 Dead 2:
Attendees at Eurogamer got the first chance to play the new Scavenge mode from Left 4 Dead 2. One team, the survivors, would have to find as many cans of gasoline as possible to keep a generator running the longest, while the infected would have to take down the survivors and stop this. Whichever side made the generator last longest wins. This simple idea soon turns into an amazingly addicting new addition to the Left 4 Dead 2 franchise, and you’ll soon be struggling not to compete for the best score, while trying to defend yourself from swarms of infected and human-controlled Special Infected. I really hope this doesn’t turn into a rarely used mode, because I enjoyed it immensely, and if it’s frequently used, it may be supported more in future updates. Plus, it adds even more to the super-replayability of the Left 4 Dead franchise.

I asked Chet Fasilzek of Valve if he’d play with me. I wasn’t allowed back into the 18+ section of the Expo again. These two incidents were not related.

Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time:
Yet another instalment from the excellent Ratchet and Clank series. My last experience with the series (and indeed, my only experience with it) was with the incredible Ratchet and Clank 3, and from playing this new installment, it’s clear Insomniac have built massively on the series, while keeping it familiar, tight, and enjoyable. The controls are as good as they were before, the graphics outstanding, and the gameplay still fun and feeling fresh. As well as this, Clank is seperated from Ratchet, and there’s a more open-world feel to where you can go and what you can do as Ratchet. Looks fun, plays well, and the overall package is probably just as amazing as the series has been before.

Go go Blank Wall with Logos on itttt!

This action game, from the creator of Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe, features a woman known as Bayonetta, as she shoots and kills things. Lots of things. Taking a lot of influences from the Devil May Cry series, my time with this game was actually extremely fun. The battles are over the top, yet extremely well done, balanced, and fun to mess about with. It’s hilariously over the top, but extremely fun to play. Oh, and if you go for females in videogames (which I don’t, but if you do, I’m not judging), I guess some people would find her attractive, seeing as it seems the makers have done everything they could to make her a new gaming sex symbol. She wears her hair. Literally. Her hair will grow or become shorter depending on how you play, and thus her costume will change (and shrink), and can even attack your enemies, meaning its entirely possible to have her hair only covering her boobs and genitals. There’s even a mode where you can play with just one hand. You do the math.

You might want these.

Red Steel 2:
The sequel to the disappointing train wreck of a launch title for the Nintendo Wii, Red Steel 2 aims to solve a lot of the problems of the predecessor, putting the game in a different location, and in fact, making it so different from the first that the only things they have in common are guns, swords, and the title. How well does this work? Brilliantly. Red Steel 1 was a miserable experience of a game, with an ending so bad it somehow managed to make the entire game even worse. Red Steel 2 starts off well, and doesn’t let up, letting you mix up guns and swords however you want (unlike the first, which only let you do it in pointless sections for no reason), though some enemies can be defeated better with swords (and there was little ammo for the gun), with a great graphical style, and a great control scheme. The game works and plays brilliantly, and the demo showcased the talents and improvements over the turd of the original Red Steel, and makes Red Steel 2 look like something worth playing and giving another shot.

Hey, YOU try getting a better picture when you’re chained to a bike, against your will, holding a wiimote&nunchuk and a camera at the same time.

Smackdown Vs Raw 2010:
My last experience with the Smackdown Wrestling games was in the form of Smackdown! Here Comes The Pain! A game which promptly ate up the first few months of my PS2-owning life, and was a game I kept coming back to over and over again. Say what you like about Wrestling as a show, but the games are much more fun to play. However, about 5 years or so has passed between Here Comes the Pain and Vs Raw 2010. At first, I was really thrown off by the right-stick-to-grapple control system, and all the other controls in place. As well as this, the demo didn’t exactly give me much choice of wrestlers, and so I came away feeling a tiny bit underwhelmed from the whole experience. I wouldn’t rule it out, but I felt Here Comes the Pain was outstanding, and one of the best “sport” games I’ve ever played, whereas Vs Raw 2010 almost feels like a step down, especially when the control system (which again, was amazing in HCTP) seems a bit pointless, and more open to mistakes and a lack of fluidity. I won’t pass it by, but I’ll wait until it’s quite cheap before I’d give it a shot (I’ve been hungering for a Wrestling game for a while).

The Beatles: Rock Band:
Ah, Beatles Rock Band, I couldn’t stay away from you. Your stage, your presence, the fact that you combine my love for the Beatles with the addicting qualities of Rock Band and my want for Rock Band. You and I could slowly melt away from the world until there is nothing but Beatles Rock Band and I….
Anyway, I got to play a couple songs, because the stage was consistently busy. Opting to do bass and vocals at the same time was a bad idea (and in fact, opting for vocals at all was a terrible idea), and I somehow managed to fail the bass part (On medium, no less) on both songs I did. However, my vocals points more than made up for that, apparently.
I played two songs from the latter stage of the band’s amazing career, Dig A Pony (we opted for random), and Octopus’s Garden (I wasn’t going to leave until I did). Both were immensely fun to play, and this is another game where you feel the quality and fun increase when you’re playing with others. This game is an absolute must-buy if you’re a fan of the Beatles and/or Rock Band. Just don’t let me on bass. It wasn’t calibrated properly, and one of the buttons jammed, honest!

I think I should mention that I love the Beatles a lot. Also, I tried to steal that. It wouldn’t fit in my bag. Dammit.

Eurogamer 2009 Roundup
Part 1: Gaming Glimpses
Part 2: Developer’s Talks

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