Friday, October 11, 2013

Eurogamer Expo games Part 1

I went to the Eurogamer Expo 2013 last month. I got to play quite a few upcoming games. I wrote a little about each one. I'm like that.

The mighty quest for epic loot (PC)This is a free to play browser game from Ubisoft. The game revolves around castles built on islands in the sky. Your castle is home to your loot. You venture from your own castle to other players and attempt to raid their castle for loot. The loot gained can be used to build up your own castles defences making it harder for other people to steal your loot. The castle building is something I didn't get time to try out, though I did get to raid a few castles. The game plays in the diablo style, clicking with the left mouse button moves your character to that point. Clicking on a monster attacks there are a few attacks to choose from, attacks have a cool down time.Monsters can melee or shoot various types of projectiles, there are traps in the form of flame shooters and holes in the ground. You must get to the castles strong room heart within a time limit otherwise impenetrable cages drop down to protect the loot.Money gained from attacking castles can be used to build your own castle defences. Graphics and animation are decent.The game is free to play, yet Ubisoft presumably would like you to pay with real money to get in game currency with which to build you castle up.

Super Mario world 3D (Wii-U)

I was able to play four levels of the demo provided.Each demo showed off a different type of environment to be found in the full game. The first involved glass pipes, which the player is sucked into and thrown around the level, Futurama style. Direction can only be changed at junctions and occasionally pipes end in falls. Most of the time monsters are hurtling around in the pipes with you. The next level I played was a more traditional flat area with blocks and big rollers. The third level was a watery race type level, where you ride a dinosaur type creature around, driving through rings and avoiding falling off the edges. The final level I managed to play was a boss battle level. A large worm like boss rises from an arena sandpit. It sends out rocks to try to crush you, and then other worms appear balancing plates on their head. Using the cat suit, you can climb up the worms and then jump on the bosses head to hurt it. The controls are reminiscent of super Mario galaxy. The cat suit allows Mario to climb up walls and swipe with claws at enemies.

Bayonetta 2 (Wii-U)

The demo shown sees Bayonetta riding on the back of a fighter jet as it flies low over a city full of skyscrapers.Centaur like enemies appear and attack her on the back of the plane. You have the usual kick, punch, jump and shoot style attacks. When you charge a the meter you get super powered witch time and climax attacks, which use Bayonetta's powers and her hair to conjure huge fists and feet to strike with. A boss flies around as you fight the minions and eventually you end up on the back of a train dodging him. You are joined by a second red clothed woman and you are aided by her in fighting the boss during cut scenes. It seems that another player will be able to play as the red clad woman co-operatively. When you defeat the boss, Bayonetta uses a summon spell to bring a dragon in. The demo finished at that point.

Tengami (Wii-U) Nyamyam

This is an indie game, based in the style of Japanese pop up books. It is a touch screen based game, playable on the game pad, and mirrored on the television. The character you play is a samurai armoured male character, appearing in a blue pastel forest made of paper. Touching places on the screen places a marker, if the player can move there he will. As you move around the scrolling landscape, white wolves begin to appear. The puzzles begin simply. A bridge is made to pop up by pulling a tab. A set of steps won't pull out as a wolf stops it. There seems to be no alternative but to move on. You then come to a tree, at which there are four pull-tabs, attached to wind chimes. The four wolves come and stand on the rocks above. The chimes must be pulled in order, which seems to appease the wolves and make them fall asleep.You can then go back and open the steps without the wolf stopping you. The next puzzle comes at a door with a missing portion of its lock.I explore and find a well. Lowering and raising the water level makes the key appear.Going through the door takes you to a house. Inside this house, you can open a door, though you can't get to the door to go through it. You have to go outside and explore, which lets you find your way to a tunnel, which allows you to come in under the house. You can then go up into the room to collect a lotus blossom. The demo ends here.

Retro city rampage (3DS)

I laughed when the lady on the Nintendo booth described this to me as like Grand Theft Auto, but 2D! It was as if she was describing some kind of genius derived novel concept. She certainly looked young enough to be unaware that Grand theft Auto was once a 2D game.Retro City rampage wears its heart on its sleeve. It is an unashamed 2D Grand Theft Auto clone. Its differentiating factors are its sense of humour and some additions to the basic GTA gameplay. The missions are humorous and filled with pop culture references including, teenage mutant ninja turtles, back to the future and Bill and Ted. There are also some modern touches like a cover system and some platform jumping thrown in.

Oculus rift

I own an Oculus rift development kit, which meant the only draw on the Oculus stand was the chance to try out an HD rift model. I queued for an hour or so and eventually got to play Hawken on an HD rift. The representative said there were only around fifty of these HD models in existence, all hand built. This is something Oculus need to rectify fast. The improvement in the screen resolution looks around fifty percent better than the developer kit version.The difference this makes to the experience is much more than that when it comes to immersion. Gone is the grid of lines between pixels. This is much more like a product that will change the face of gaming. I wanted to play all day, not just for the ten minutes that I was allowed. The representative hopes that the consumer product might launch late in 2014.

Forza (Xbox One)

Forza was the first game I managed to play on the Xbox One. The controller feels nice in the hands and the rumble like feedback on the triggers is surprisingly novel. It won't last long and I am sure I will feel the same indifference towards it as rumble on the Xbox360 after the first week. The graphics are impressive. The cars especially have been rendered in loving shiny detail. The game is, as usual, realistic and fun, if you like that kind of thing. I don't enjoy racers in any way shape, or form. I did note that there was quite a long loading time for a one-track demo. You would imagine that it could have been stuck into memory and no loading would have been required.

Kinect sports rivals (Xbox One)

Rare were showing two events from their new flagship Kinect game. This was the first time I managed to try out the new and improved version of Kinect. The climbing game didn't look half as fun as the wake racing event, so that is what I chose to play. I loved Wave Race on the N64. It was one of the few Racing games that I played for more than half an hour before getting bored. This wake racing is spiritually akin to Wave Race, with shipwrecks to drive through and large waves to bounce about on. There are mines and sandbanks to avoid. Controls are actually very responsive. Using your arms held out in front of you, you simply steer by moving as if you were gripping the invisible handlebars of the Jet Ski. Leaning left and right gives a harder turn, raising your arms on jumps makes you go higher. When you fill a meter, you can stamp your foot for a speed boost. Tellingly, you open and close your hand for throttle control. As I was playing there were people moving back and forth behind me. The queue for Ryse was right behind the players, giving the bored something to watch. Not once did Kinect get mixed up between the background people and the player. I don't think I will ever be an evangelist for motion control and Kinect. Yet, going only on the strength of this one showing, it does seem that the new Kinect is much better than its predecessor.

Dead rising 3 (Xbox One)

The queue for Capcom's open world Dead Rising was very long, and the ten minutes given seemed to go by in seconds. The graphics are great, the sense of this being a much bigger open world is given by the addition of vehicles, with which you can scream around the streets knocking over as many zombies as you please. I know the first two games utilised vehicles, yet those vehicles were restricted to much smaller playgrounds. The combination system is now available at any time. You don't need to go to a bench to create new weapons. Out in the street you can also combine two different types of vehicles to make all sorts of wrecking machines. All you need to do is bring up a radial menu wherever you are and new combinations can be made. I found a large yellow digger and used it to mash an entire horde of zombies. One of the representatives guided me to a stage where a missile type weapon was waiting to be used. This vaporised a square full of zombies and blew of the characters clothes. During the rest of my playtime, I was able to make a light-sabre and ride around on a motorbike. Even from this short playtest, I am certain that Dead Rising 3 will be the best launch game available for the Xbox One.

Ryse son of Rome (Xbox One)

The graphics are quite impressive when you actually get to play it and examine the textures for yourself. The game however reminds me of Conan for the Xbox360. The demo appears to be some sort of co-op or training mode. At least it doesn't appear to be a real world location. You start in a fenced in area and fight a few enemies. The map is divided into fight box like areas. You have slow and fast attacks, with a shield bash that acts like a block. When an enemy is struck enough times, he gets a staggered icon above his head. A gory and gratuitous execution move can then be performed. Once the enemies were dealt with in that area, I knocked down a fence and moved on into a swampy water filled area. More enemies appeared and once dealt with I was told to move to a nearby tent, which needed to be set on fire. Once this was done, more enemies flooded in. I was then told to take out enemies in a nearby camp. A gate needed to be breached, Archers on the gate made approaching it suicide. An emplaced gun nearby fired flame arrows, however I didn't get to find out if this would get me through the gate as my time was up.

Drive club (PS4)The allotted demo consisted of two laps of a mountain/forest environment track.The graphics are good, though I have to say not that exceptional.The PS Eye camera takes your picture before you start the race.The PS Eye camera is very small, much smaller that I imagined it to be looking at the pictures on the web. It looks like it is made out of four blocks, one can be twisted, acting as a stand to raise or lower the viewing angle. Drive club itself is less simulation and more arcade like, something more akin to Ridge Racer or Burnout. Damage is shown on the car, though it does not affect the handling.
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