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Egx Eurogamer London Expo – Earls Court

Went to the EGX Eurogamer Expo at Earls Court yesterday; think it was the busiest one I’ve attended over the years.

Heard some foreign languages and accents this year too; it really has grown from the rag tag collection of games several years ago that’s for sure.

That said, I was disappointed with the expo this year.

Dragon Age Inquisition had a 2.5 hour waiting time to play games, all because they only had 8 consoles; I have pre-ordered this game and was looking forward to a hands-on preview.  

From what I did see, the game looked amazing with great visuals and smooth gameplay.  Guess I’ll just have to wait…..

Bioware should have managed this better, especially when you look out from the balcony next to the Dragon Age section and spot the obscene use of space for Call Of Duty…..I wish that franchise would just die already.

Battlefield Hardline was a lot of fun to play, although it did feel like there was a an over balance of vehicle combat (just run people over in cars) and I hope they fix that.

Elite Dangerous looked amazing, would have liked to see a running demo where you could freelance as opposed to the dog fighting demo they were showcasing.  Still, that took me back to my BBC Acorn Electron days!

The Batman Arkham Knight preview was my first experience of being in a mini movie theatre watching video game footage; the guy providing commentary whipped up a frenzy amongst the fan boys, screaming about how Batman could remote control the Batmobile during the game. 

I might be a geek, but I’m not in the league of people who clap because Batman can daisy chain grapple hooks during his ascension of Arkham. 

I loved the look of the game; but there is something very annoying about the voice of the Arkham Knight and I can’t wait to smash his face in.

The cosplay twats were out in force again; I was told the scene was dying out when I visited Shibuya on a Sunday afternoon in October 2005.  Someone should tell all the idiots who turned up wearing the same Assassins Creed outfit…..uber fail cunts!

Nintendo had a pretty paltry showing considering the amount of new games they have coming out AND now that the WiiU is starting to get a little momentum going in the market.

I thought Yoshis Woolly World had plagiarised Little Big Planet (one console to try) a bit having a knitted character (like Sackboy) and wasn’t that impressed with the format;  whereas I can only praise the developers of Little Big Planet 3 (a dozen consoles to play) for their innovative game. 

I honestly think the organisers were greedy and sold far too many tickets compared to the amount of opportunities you had to play the games.

Why was the Indie section so tucked away this year; that was a shame? 

Why was the Nintendo stage limited to two tired geeky presenters who were stalling for time in between asking silly questions for prizes and organising Hula Hoop competions?  It was amateurish like being back at Pontins.

Why have security when they don’t read your ticket credentials or inspect your bags anymore?

Why do they let call of duty have so much exposure for such a small amount of product (think that sums up the Games too)?

Why do you allow Game to peddle their wares at such ridiculous prices?

Sort it out Eurogamer you flids!

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Eurogamer 2012 – Earls Court

Angelo and I attended Eurogamer Expo 2012 at Earls Court on Thursday; the expo is held once a year and lets you get a glimpse at forthcoming games releases weeks (sometimes months) before they go on general release.  Going to the expo has become something of a tradition for both of us and it made a refreshing change going midweek rather than at the weekend.

With all the casual gamers (who blatantly only turn up to play the latest Call of Duty game) waiting for the weekend, Earls Court was saturated with hardcore geeks!  Yes, I know that’s rich coming from me, but I felt positively ‘normal’ compared to some of the people there!

Eurogamer 2012 was a surprising improvement on the excellent expo last year; Call of Duty Black Ops 2 was the headline game along with Nintendo giving a sneak preview of  their impressive looking WiiU console.

Call of Duty Black Ops 2
Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is an exceptional FPS, the frame rate and textures look so clear and smooth compared to previous outings.  Personally, I’ve not enjoyed a COD game since World at War and am a little reluctant to invest in such a money grabbing franchise; I doubt I will buy a copy when it comes out, regardless of it being a very good game.  Battlefield 3 forever man!

WiiU
The WiiU stand was absolutely heaving with people and I did my best to peer in and have a look at the games rather than queue up.  The ZombieU game looks very atmospheric and the launch titles look like regurgitated N64 games.

Nintendo 3DS XL
I also had a quick look at the Nintendo 3DS XL console which I am thinking of buying, the screen is impressive and the clunky build feels a lot more reassuring than that of the PSP Vita; the Nintendo games catalogue looks WAY more appealing that paying £200 for a portable console just to play Fifa on?

My highlights of the expo included:

X-Com – Enemy Unknown
The remake of the ‘X-Com Enemy Unknown’ game looks brilliant, I absolutely can’t wait for this to come out as I still play the original game now.

I really enjoyed having a go on the PC version but a quick comparison shows that the Xbox conversion looks spot on as well;    Turn based games hark back to my days playing Warhammer 40k and I hope this breathes new life into the genre.

Strike Suit Zero
I found this little gem whilst Angelo jumped around with all the other prats on the rather good looking Halo 4.  Strike Suit Zero is a space based simulation which is clearly inspired by the the Wing Commander series and looks to fill another forgotten genre.   Shame it didn’t have a more prominent location as it was tucked just behind the Indie section.

I chatted to one of the developers for a while after getting my teeth into the game and I told him how much it reminded me of Colony Wars and Blast Radius (two games that I loved on the Playstation One).   Definitely one to watch.

Company of Heroes 2
PC gaming is definitely on the rise, Company of Heroes 2 is a gorgeous RTS game which reminded me a lot of Blitzkrieg.  You play the Russians during WW2 and you have to give the Nazi’s a good slap!  I did just that in the demo and thoroughly enjoyed using the flamethrower squad member to torch the racist scum.

Medal of Honor – Warfighter
This was the big shock for me, what a fucking toilet game this is.  It moves like a cardboard box, the badly rendered marine characters look like they’ve been snatched from ‘Pitfighter’  and the whole thing was just AWFUL.  No wonder they didn’t want me to film it.

MOH Warfighter is probably the worst FPS that I have ever seen; the hit detection is terrible (I watched time after time as Angelo put a full clip into someone for them to turn around and take him out with one shot).  Shocking, especially when you have something ‘perfect’ like COD BO2 to compare it to just down the hallway?

Retro Section
Absolutely loved how they expanded the Retro section this year to include a timeline of consoles and games throughout the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s.  The MAME cabinets were a nice touch; I absolutely smashed up the retro section’s crew guy at Streetfighter before reminding Angelo who the fucking Daddy is (stop pulling that face Ang).

Chill out areas
The chill out zone was a sight for sore eyes after we’d walked around for about 5 hours.  Plush armchairs and mood lighting.  Perfect for when you’re almost 35 and you need to put your feet up after a hard days gaming.

18 years or over section
Makes Angelo laugh every time we go, especially when you see kids being turned away before they can play Call of Duty.  Waaaah waaaah!

So there we go, I have ordered the X-com game along with Resident Evil 6 and look forward to seeing a peek at next gen gaming in Expo 2013.

 

Saw – Xbox 360 Review

Intro page

I’m something of a latecomer to the Saw film franchise and was only introduced to the world of Jigsaw last week when I watched the 1st and 2nd films back to back; I enjoyed them both so much that I also spent this Saturday totally engrossed in the 3rd, 4th and 5th installments. Nice one for the recommendation Ang!

For me the films aren’t JUST about the gore or the traps for which they are infamously known, personally I enjoyed witnessing the transition of John Kramer from terminal cancer patient to becoming the films lead protagonist and a serial ‘killer’; Jigsaw.

A terminal diagnosis and losing an unborn son result in Kramer eventually attempting to take his own life on two occasions, both are unsuccessful and result in a life-changing epiphany; Kramers rebirth is complete and Jigsaw is born. Kramer decides to dedicate the remainder of his life by capturing and testing the immoral and those he feels have devalued their own lives into playing deadly games which ultimately offer retribution; but at a high price.

The xbox 360 game puts you in the place of Homicide Detective Tapp (Danny Glover’s character from the first film) whose obsession into catching Jigsaw becomes his own undoing; as the introduction kicks in you immediately know that the game means business because you awake to find that you are wearing the same reverse beartrap device which is seen in the first film. You are given 60 seconds to remove the helmet, or your face explodes.

The controls of the game are very intuitive, from the reaction button prompts which you have to hit in sequence in order to remove the reverse beartrap to the overal control of the character from when you escape it’s clutches.

The look of the game is also quite brilliant, totally recapturing the dirty, macabre and dilapidated industrial surroundings that are synonymous with the films; the lighting, colours and mood of the game are absolutely spot on; I loved how atmospheric the lighting becomes when you use a zippo lighter to illuminate certain areas in the game.

I would have no hesitation in drawing a comparison to ‘Silent Hill’ in the way the game oozes atmosphere, but in many ways ‘Saw’ is far more disturbing because it attacks your senses straight from the beginning; no sooner are you out of the initial bathroom you’re then confronted by the distant cries of a man screaming for help before being thrust into another ‘game’.

Puzzles that I encountered within the first 30 minutes or so were nicely thought out, not too easy, not too hard; I expect the games difficulty will increase as you go. I also really enjoy the way in which Jigsaw ensures that other ‘players’ will seek you out when you find that he has implanted a key into your body which is required for the others to escape.

The combat in the game nice and simple too which is refreshing; although I loved the ‘Silent Hill’ games, I often felt the combat could have been a bit better sometimes within the franchise.

I expect that I’ll be spending a few evenings helping Detective Tapp search the abandoned hospital for Jigsaw with the aid of his flickering zippo lighter and a trusty bit of pipe; I’ve embedded a bit of footage below which will give you a brief glimpse at the game. Try not to laugh where I had problems getting the doors to close on the toilets!

Fucking doors!

HINT – The 1 in the combination is actually a 7!