Thursday, 30 October 2008

Eurogamer Expo 2008

What a day! It's difficult to know where to begin when describing my visit to Eurogamer Expo (part of London Games Festival). First I'll give you a run-down of all the games I managed to play...

Fallout 3
Probably the game I was looking forward to the most. In actual fact I think it was somewhere near the bottom compared to the other games I played. This may be partly because I was playing on PlayStation 3 (I really can't stand those analogue sticks for first-person mode) and also because I was sat very close to the massive TV so it looked quite grainy. I only played a small part and - considering the game is meant to be somewhat on the large side - I probably didn't get a real feel for its magnitude. The dialogue system seemed to be pretty in-depth and commendable and the locations were, as you probably know, jaw-dropping.

Mirror's Edge
Certainly one of the highlights of the show for me and my gaming companion. The game's focus on parkour, agility and mobility was helped a great deal by its simple control system and sleek, HUD-less interface. The lack of varied colours was surprisingly both beautiful and functional as it allowed you to single out the important elements of the area and head straight for them. My only criticism was that gauging the jumps was sometimes a little tricky, although this may well become easier with practice.

Killzone 2
Without a doubt the best-looking game at the show and second only to Crysis and NBA 2K9. The gameplay was certainly a step up from the original as it seemed to be more varied than simply run and gun. The demo I played featured a battle through a war-torn city with long and short range combat round every corner. It culminated in a face-off between ISA and Helghast tanks in a damaged street (or possibly dried canal) whilst I protected an allied convoy. Movement was slightly clunky but I always feel that way about FPS games on consoles. I'm really annoyed that this won't be released on PC...

Little Big Planet
Another great title for the PS3 which I can only describe as pure fun. Within minutes of playing we were laughing and joking with complete strangers as the little Sackboys frantically chased a runaway skateboard down a steep slope. It was charming, simple and innovative and I can now see why it's been so highly praised. A nifty checkpoint system kept the game moving quickly and prevented it from becoming stale or frustrating.

Call of Duty: World at War
What can I say? It's Call of Duty. Treyarch's return to the World War II era may have received mixed reactions but at the end of the day you can't beat the series' intensity. I played a short segment in which I stormed a German encampment with machine guns and a rocket launcher. It was pretty standard stuff, but that's not to say I didn't enjoy it. Quite the contrary. This is a game I will definitely be getting and I'm happy to see it sticking to its solid roots.

Left 4 Dead
Once again, Valve deliver the goods. I was slightly sceptical as multiplayer is not really my forte but one round on this changed all that. It was an intense zombie-fest through abandoned subway tunnels which somehow managed to draw four people (two of whom I'd never met before) into a tight-knit team of action heroes. The Infected hordes were truly terrifying, the co-operative features such as healing were flawlessly implemented and the locations were deliciously creepy. Another game I'll surely be purchasing.

Prince of Persia
This latest addition to the series features a unique new look. The combat mechanics were interesting as it seemed to be more of an 'overpower your opponent' affair than 'reduce their health to zero'. The movement was slightly too responsive at times and we encountered two major bugs in the demo that prevented us from advancing any further. Hopefully these will be addressed in the final version. It looked great but I couldn't play enough to get a real feel for it's main mechanics.

I only played this very briefly but nothing struck me as being particularly awesome. The graphics were mediocre, especially in comparison to all the other top titles on display. The gameplay featured nothing I hadn't seen before but, again, I didn't play much so I can't give a fair criticism.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
Just like the old game but with a gorgeous HD visual update! But I'm not really a fan of fighting games...

As well as this I also managed to watch people play Resident Evil 5, Gears of War 2, Street Fighter IV, Far Cry 2 and Resistance 2, all of which were pretty impressive. Of course RE5 took the prize from this bunch with a terrifying new axe-wielding enemy akin to the Nemesis and Mr X.

Oh and guess what, there were several white zombies in there too.


As well as all this there were some sports game which don't interest me in the slightest, and a whole wall of Nintendo Wii and DS games that were largely ignored. It was a pretty poor show on their part and it makes me wonder if they've got what it takes to keep their momentum up enough to compete with the big boys.

Finally, I recorded a couple of videos (albeit with a shoddy camera phone so they are low quality). You can view them here:
Killzone 2
Resident Evil 5

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Back again with Union videos

After a critical problem with our family computer and then moving into a new house with no internet access, I am finally able to post again. Which is nice. I'll post some new reviews and articles and whatnot in the near future, but until then here are some videos which show the entirety of Union. Obviously they contain every spoiler possible so avoid watching them unless you've played it (or don't intend to play it). You can use them as a sort of video walkthrough as well if you want.

Meanwhile I'm preparing for an awesome winter of gaming: Far Cry 2, Fallout 3, Dead Space, Mirror's Edge, Little Big Planet, Gears of War 2, the list seems endless. Where were all these games during the summer drought?