Eurogamer Expo - More Hands On
We were lucky enough to attend the Eurogamer expo recently and in so doing got to go hands-on with a variety of upcoming releases. Want to know what our thoughts were? Then read on...
Potential game of the year. It looks stunning with its steampunk visuals and those cartoonish textures, all with a circa-1600’s England feel to it (unsurprising when the location started out as London 1666). We were able to watch two of the development team play and talk us through a particular mission with the aim of capturing a key character. With all powers unlocked we were able to see the full imagination executed brilliantly - one playthrough saw no kills and a largely stealthy affair, whilst the latter saw brutality rain down on all who stood in the way. You can possess rats or people; stop time or blast down barriers with gusts of wind. Combining multiple moves is a great way to succeed and to achieve hilarity - witness an enemy shooting you, your stopping time, possessing said gentleman and maneuvering him into the bullet’s trajectory before allowing time once more to progress. Poetry in action, on screen. Although some may be fearful of the game at the start as they literally have no guidance or help in making their way, those who embrace the freedom and play around will ensure themselves a wonderful experience.
This was only a pre-alpha build from Codemasters on their action racing come simulation sequel. But my word was it good. It looked amazing already and the handling physics felt right in the hand from the get go. The competition itself was addictive as anything, ensuring an immediate second playthrough of the demo race once the controls had been worked out in order to rise from third to first. If come Summer 2013 this level of quality is translated across the whole game, we could have the best racing game of this generation to play.
God of War: Ascension
This was, well, God of War. It looked as stunning as the third iteration and played like a souped-up version if that’s possible - the demo was a series of what most would consider boss battle and set-pieces ensuring each step of the way was heavy hitting and very very boisterous. Some subtle changes to the way the game’s presented were at hand, for example the QTEs were indicated by stone coloured and styled button prompts, which was nice. The multiplayer aspect looks like many third-person multiplayer games but set in the world of 300 or Spartacus. In all then if you are a fan of Kratos you will not be disappointed. A treat here is in store.
Devil May Cry
Folks have been dismissive of the Dante remake/re-imagining/alternative version given he’s styled like an Emo, developed by Ninja Theory and well, up against more modern competition like Bayonetta and Kratos as opposed to innovating and creating the complex, depth hack ‘n’ slash genre this time round. It’s all fair and in the demo we got to play this came across. It didn’t stand out from previous DMC games, nor did it leave us in shock and awe compared to the beauty of Bayonetta or blunt brilliance of Kratos. The long demo acted as a tutorial and things were always very busy but you never quite felt in control. Not able to really pick the move you wanted and combo it with others to succeed. Maybe this will come in time but equally it wasn’t needed - button bashing was acceptable. It’s true also that only a few varieties of attack were available. In a full playthrough come January things may be different but the nagging feeling here is that this will be alright; an entertaining diversion but nothing cutting-edge or even top of the pile.
Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation
A big release for PlayStation Vita this side of Christmas, there was a choice of two demo levels to play and the first showcased some fun aspects of this Bayou located spin-off from the main story of Desmond and his ancestors. We got to row a boat, kill an alligator and ransack a camp and ship. It’s graphics were on a par with Uncharted: Golden Abyss which is to say they were excellent given the platform and otherwise it was very much a typical Assassin’s Creed game. In time the story will be what sets this one apart from the others as otherwise it felt like any of Ezio’s games in the short time we had with it. It’s unlikely they’ll have stolen much of what will be new to gamers in the main sequel. That’s not a bad thing given the quality of the Ezio trilogy, but will it appeal more to newcomers to the franchise given those who have played the console versions to death will likely find only more of the same here? Time will tell.
Little Big Planet Karting
It’s Mario Kart with Sackboy. It feels floaty like the little guy does in his platforming action and whilst it will surely be an entertaining party game and will provide enjoyable multiplayer action, it did nothing to make us think it would be anything more than a throwaway Christmas title.
Ouroboros. Things come full circle. It seems Lara Croft is copying Nathan Drake after he moved on from where she first was. The thing is it doesn’t quite seem to be there yet. It had a lot of great artwork and nice textures and animations but the hardware (Xbox) didn’t seem to be running it that well with lots of artifacts regular appearing on screen, some peculiar wave animations and rain varying in detail. The demo itself was very stop-start. It wanted to feel like an interactive movie with some action and platforming interspersed with quick-time events but nothing flowed. Maybe this hunting demo was designed to show off a range of Lara’s potential exploits and actions, and it did this well if the case, but failed to share any semblance of cohesion or excitement. There could be a wonderful game in here but the feeling is it’s aiming for drake and he’s so far ahead it’s not going to catch him. With that then it will fall flat. There are some additional aspects to the game, like some RPG style experience gathering and levelling, and there’s expected to be a hub around which you can tackle various missions. Maybe it won’t be aiming for Drake’s jugular, but actually trying to be more like Batman. Maybe it will end up trying to be everything and not really succeeding at anything?
It looks like something from the 1980’s. It has the violence of a Brian De Palma film. It is not easy. It is very very fun.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
This started life as a real Metal Gear game. Soon enough they realised it was not exactly right for that, so the development moved over to Platinum games of Bayonetta fame and it turned into a full on batshit mental third-person action adventure. The scale of action in the demo was impressive, with all kinds of enemies coming at you - in sensible numbers but crazy sizes - throughout. The combat itself was basic with light and heavy attacks plus grenades and rocket launchers where available. Where it stood out was in its special mode whereby you would just swing your sword immensely fast in a certain orientation depending on the direction of your thumbsticks, viewpoint and you holding down the Square button. This was weird as at times you would be swinging at the floor, the ceiling or whatever. When you got the directionality correct you were treated to some wonderful slicing and dicing and gory animations as your foe fell into multiple pieces on the floor. The depth of this title is hard to grasp from the demo on display here, but what taste we have had from it makes us intrigued to come back in February. It is, also, a Metal Gear game and that suggests some special things to come.