Eurogamer Expo 2011

Earl’s Court in London was once again taken over by gamers as the hugely popular Eurogamer Expo hit town.

With a wealth of games on display and the first UK showing of Sony’s new handheld, the PSVita, it was set to be an exciting show.

So without further ado, here are the titles I managed to get my hands on:

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TOM CLANCY’S GHOST RECON: FUTURE SOLDIER

A few E3’s ago this game looked like a futuristic warfare shooter where you would be using lots of gadgets to take out your enemies. While this is still the case to an extent, the game this most reminded me of was SOCOM 4 – no bad thing. Definitely a solid third person shooter, I’d certainly be interesting in playing through this if the story is strong enough.

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BATTLEFIELD 3

I make no apology for the fact that I *love* the campaign and online of Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Battlefield 3 is from the same makers but is the sequel to Battlefield 2, as opposed to Bad Company 2. Which means it’s more realistic and less like Kelly’s Heroes. We played the online beta (which releases to everyone on Thursday 29th September 2011) and I have to say ‘wow.’ Once I’d got used to the changes (the recoil kicks especially) I had a great few rounds. Graphically great this is definitely a step up from any other shooter out there.

* ‘BATTLEFIELD 3’ : GREGHORRORSHOW’S BEST IN SHOW – Eurogamer Expo 2011*

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CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 3

Spec Ops was the only thing I got a chance to play – they had the game set up with headsets so you could communicate with your partner and the whole experience was great fun. The game looks really nice and while it doesn’t have the realism of Battlefield in terms of recoil etc, Modern Warfare 3 will be lapped up by fans of the series.

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INVERSION

Inversion is one of those games that hit me out of leftfield when I first saw footage of it earlier this year. It certainly looked interesting and the gravity based gun play seemed like it could be fun. Unfortunately while this may turn out to be the case the gameplay on offer here didn’t really sell me on the game. Not to mention the fact that graphically it was quite poor, with lots of jagged edges and pop in. Fingers crossed the full game gets more polish before release.

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JOE DANGER: THE MOVIE

I really enjoyed Joe Danger and the follow up plays it safe in terms of gameplay, with great stunts and lots of combos. What changes here is that not every level is bike based – there are mine carts, skis and more besides as Joe shoots scenes for a film. Brilliant fun and with the game moving to XBox 360 as well even more people will be able to enjoy it.

*EDIT* Been told that Joe Danger isn’t confirmed for XBox 360 – so we’ll have to see what platforms are confirmed.

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RAGE

Rage is one of those games that just never excited me. It certainly looked great but coming on as a cross between Fallout and Borderlands I wasn’t sure whether I would end up picking it up – there are only so many post apocalyptic shooters I can play… But having got my hands on it I’ve changed my mind. What impressed most was the enemy AI, the fact they ran for cover and scurried away to protect themselves was very cool. The shooting felt strong and I liked the vibe of the game. This has gone from a maybe to a definite play.

* ‘RAGE’ : GREGHORRORSHOW’S MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE – Eurogamer Expo 2011 *

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AWESOMENAUTS

Awesomenauts is a downloadable, 2D online battle game in which you take control of one of a selection of cartoon mercenaries. The gameplay is objective based and was good fun for a quick blast. Each character has their own abilities and can contribute towards the goal of destroying the enemy base (while also defending your own). Not sure if I’ll pick it up but if you like battle arena games, this is something different.

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SAINTS ROW: THE THIRD

The trailers for Saints Row made the game look like a fun open world title and after getting a chance to try it out I can confirm this is indeed the case. Running around shooting random people and dealing with the cops/enemy gang members when they showed up left me with a big smile on my face. The only problem I have is that the game didn’t do enough to convince me to pick it up so I’ll wait and see before making a decision.

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STARHAWK

It was more than a little disappointing to find that the hands on with Starhawk was ground based as opposed to in the sky or being multiplayer. Regardless, the action was solid and fairly enjoyable, though it was reminiscent of Red Faction, without the comedy destruction. I’m still looking forward to this but I don’t think this demo would have sold many people.

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BINARY DOMAIN

This almost took my Most Pleasant Surprise award but was pipped at the post by Rage. Looking very much like Vanquish, Binary Domain features a nice bit of squad interplay in that you can issue commands but also have conversations based on which members you included in your squad. Fast and loose shooting is the name of the game in this title and you’ll be ripping through evil robots on the way to, what I expect will be one of many, boss battles. Definitely one to watch out for if you liked Vanquish.

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PS VITA

Well I got to *see* a Vita – unfortunately the queue was so long that we’d barely moved after 15 minutes and with time running out we had to make an executive decision to get out and see a few more games instead. It didn’t look as big as I’d heard it described, which is a good thing and although I was viewing from a distance the screen gave a pretty clear picture. Would’ve loved to have actually played one but sadly it wasn’t to be… yet!

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So there we have it, lots on show and plenty of stuff to play. One of the bigger surprises for me was that Bioshock: Infinite didn’t make any sort of appearance – seemed weird for one of the biggest games of next year.

Overall the Eurogamer Expo goes from strength to strength – now I need to start planning for next year 🙂

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Taken (2008) – Review (Film)

Taken tells the story of Bryan Mills, a retired CIA hitman who is trying to rebuild his relationship with his daughter. Liam Neeson takes the starring role in this tense thriller that doesn’t let up from the moment the action kicks off.

Mills’ 17 year old daughter decides to take a trip to Europe to visit the museums there… or at least that is what she tells her father. It transpires her and a friend (Amanda) are off to follow U2 Vertigo’s tour across Europe. Bryan’s ex wife was aware of the plan all along and eventually, despite his better judgement, he relents and gives his permission for her to travel.

While there she is on the phone to her father when three men burst into the apartment and begin to kidnap Amanda – Bryan talks his daughter through what to do to give him the best chance to find them and he immediately travels to France to try and track the girls down.

Taken is brutal and bleak – Bryan Mills’ journey back into the world he had left behind is one you won’t forget in a hurry and Neeson’s performance is astounding. We watch this man’s struggle to get his child back as panic almost eats him alive.

Needless to say this isn’t a film for the faint hearted but Taken really is a quality film. This is one of the best films I’ve seen in years.

Rating: 10/10

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Brink – Review (PS3)

Brink wanted to fuse the online and offline worlds to create a seamless gaming experience. Whether you were online or not, the way you played the game would remain the same.

So did Brink deliver on the promises it made?

The verdict is pretty mixed.

Does the gameplay feel the same online as offline? Yes.

Is it a smooth experience overall? Some of the time.

Does it make the game better? No.

Fighting for control of The Ark (a city surrounded by the ocean following flooding) are the resistance and the security force. It’s up to you to pick a side and the story progresses from there.

There is a wealth of customisation for character creation and a whole heap of unlocks, although it seemed slightly odd with such a deep system that there was no female gender option included?

Once the game starts you’ll be set a main objective (‘blow open the doors’ etc) but in a great touch you can bring up a weapon wheel style selector that allows you to choose from another one or two sub-objectives.

You get points for doing any of them and it is a clever feature that would be welcome in other titles.

Another great idea that is implemented well is being able to go to a ‘command post’ and then change your class on the fly, as opposed to having to wait to respawn to do so. It really allows for an element of freedom as you play.

The plot isn’t anything spectacular but the difference in the two sides of the story (with both parties believing they are right) is clever. At one stage the security forces have to stop a viral bomb but when you play the story from the resistance side you are told it is a vaccine for an illness they are suffering from.

One of the issues facing this title is that it doesn’t matter if you’re playing against the computer or with other people, the experience is the same. That’s as they promised but it ends up hindering the game for the most part.

Essentially Brink is like a round of Operations in Killzone 3 – several objectives are to be met, one after the other, by the ‘attacking’ team but the round can stopped by the ‘defending’ team if they prevent the opposition from completing any of the tasks.

And that for me is the major problem with Brink. The Operations mode of Killzone 3, while on a smaller scale handles this better.

If you lose the round you get a cut scene that rounds out the small ‘story’ and you go on to the next round.

With Brink if you lose you’re expected to replay the entire section. I think Splash Damage almost stumbled across an awesome game. It would’ve been stunning if they had allowed the story to flow ala Heavy Rain.

You lose a round? You get a cut scene that shows the repercussions. You lose every round? The story progresses to the end with the worst possible scenario for your side.

Sadly, as I was sitting playing Brink and an objective wasn’t met that meant ‘game over’ I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was an opportunity missed. It’s not a bad game by any means, it’s just that I can get almost the same experience, done better, elsewhere.

Rating: 6/10

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