Eurogamer Expo 2013 – Round Up

Expo Main

The Eurogamer Expo grows in size every year and 2013 is no different, with over 70,000 people attending over four days. That is a LOT of people, which also explains why I spent most of the day in queues rather than playing games.

That’s not to say it wasn’t still a blast but by choosing to queue for Titanfall and Battlefield 4 (about 2hrs of queuing between them) we gave up time we could’ve spent queuing for less busy games.

Anyway, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give Titanfall a shot – that and Quantum Break are the only two games of interest to me in the XBox One launch line up (although Titanfall doesn’t arrive until 2014).

So here is my round up of what I got hands on with at the Expo:

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Titanfall

First up was Titanfall, voted by most critics as the best thing at E3 2013. Even while we were queuing I was finding it hard to get overly excited – it’s just Call Of Duty with double jump and mechs. Right? Wrong. The game itself is great fun and it was easy to get straight into the action. Movement felt fluid and wall running was easy. I liked the heft of the weapons and the fact they seem to have taken a leaf out of Resistance‘s book with some of the weapon design. I see no reason this won’t come to PS4 further down the line, with the developer already mentioning that a PS4 version is ‘definitely not out of the question’ so I will be picking this up for sure then. But it’s not worth the price of an XBox One for me just to play this. * ‘TITANFALL’ : GREGHORRORSHOW’S MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE – Eurogamer Expo 2013*

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Battlefield 4

Next up was Battlefield 4 and as a big fan of the series I was looking forward to seeing what improvements had been made. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Battlefield has never been ‘pick up and play’ and I spent the first three or four minutes of the demo sorting out the sensitivity on the sticks etc. I don’t think having to stand so close to the screen and use an XBox pad did me any favours either but I didn’t enjoy the demo. Recoil on the guns felt insanely over the top, I shot a few guys three or four times without killing them and the map looked similar to some of the stuff on BF3. Of course it’s an alpha build and it was only one round so, recoil aside, it could’ve been bad luck. Nevertheless after queuing for so long this one left a bitter taste in my mouth.

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Killzone Shadow Fall

I’d played Shadow Fall previously but that was the single player component so I was excited to try the mutliplayer offering. Shadow Fall delivers a refined Killzone experience and I can see this being my go to shooter on the PS4. The weapons felt great and the game looked fantastic. At one stage I managed to get behind the enemies and brutal melee’d three of them in a row… the stuff of dreams 😆 It felt competitive and it seems there will be even more depth with the new class abilities. * ‘KILLZONE SHADOW FALL′ : GREGHORRORSHOW’S BEST IN SHOW – Eurogamer Expo 2013*

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Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Octodad is a wonderfully absurd game in which you control an octopus trying to maintain his life pretending to be a man. In this demo I was tasked with getting him ready for his wedding and making sure he gets down the aisle in one piece! Octodad’s legs aRE controlled with L2/R2 and the left stick. When you need to switch to his arms you press L1 and then you move the sticks to control his arms, with R1 picking things up. The tricky controls and crazy animation of Octodad make this a very fun game. Definitely recommended.

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Warframe

Warframe has had my interest since it was announced for PS4 as a free-to-play title. At the expo we were sampling co-op mode, which was a horde mode affair with three of us combining to protect an item in the middle of the map. The game is fast paced and moves smoothly – you can aim and shoot with L2/R2 with R1 bringing out your samurai sword for close encounters. L1 allows you to slide on your knees in the same style as Vanquish. I’m not sure how much more effective that was but it sure looked cool 🙂 You also have special abilities which are triggered by swiping the touchpad on the DualShock 4. We had no problem dispatching wave after wave of enemies and soon the demo was over. I had a couple of issues where it felt like the camera couldn’t actually keep up with the game but hopefully that will be ironed out by launch.

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Velocity 2x (Vita)

I enjoyed Velocity as a mini on my Vita and I have Velocity Ultra (courtesy of Playstation Plus) but haven’t fired it up yet. So when I saw Futurlab were back with another Velocity title I was hoping they’d mix things up a bit. And they certainly have. As well as the spaceship flying that made up the original title we will now be treated to some platforming goodness as well. The game looks and feels fantastic. It’s easy to control and has a really cool style. This looks set to be a masterpiece on Vita (and PS4) when it arrives next year.

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The Crew

Lastly I played The Crew, Ubisoft’s next gen racing offering, and while half the time I didn’t have a clue what was going on (not helped by the game randomly cutting to a title card in amongst everything) it was great fun. This is a more arcadey racer, with nitrous boosts and drifting the norm. We were given a few minutes to drive around before being entered into a race (individually – we were all in a different race in a different part of the gameworld) and then assigned a target car for the four of us playing to take out. Much crashing and hilarity ensued – if they can polish up the presentation angle of the game this could be a great addition to the racing genre.

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While I didn’t get to play them (as they were on PC and I’m not a PC gamer) I also watched people playing Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number and Volume – both of which will be coming to Vita next year. And both of which looked excellent. Hotline Miami 2 seems to be more of the same which is fine with me and Volume looks like a super interesting take on the stealth genre. Here’s a trailer for that:

So overall it was a good Expo, although the queues seemed to have doubled in size from last year. I suspect next year you might need two days to actually get round and see a decent amount of games. For the most part queuing wasn’t too bad – Titanfall had the nice idea of seating the next batch of people to play in front of a video about the game and Sony‘s booth had content on a big screen that didn’t loop for the entire hour we were queuing.

Did anyone else go this year? Would be good to hear what you played and what you thought of the Expo.

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Aliens Vs Predator – Review (PS3)

 

I’d been looking forward to Aliens Vs Predator for quite a while and having had a (brief) hands on at Eurogamer last year I was pretty excited to finally pop the disc into my PS3.

Sadly what followed didn’t live up to my high expectations.

Let me begin by saying Aliens Vs Predator is not a bad game. It’s decently sized (around 9 hours) and well paced. The story is ok and you get to experience the campaign from 3 totally different perspectives.

So why the disappointment?

As insane as it sounds I think Rebellion gives the player too much control over the characters – and by that I mean in terms of what you can do and how, often, it’s damn awkward to actually pull off.

Playing as the Alien holding down R2 allowed you to traverse walls and ceilings, which of course in theory is awesome but the reality was basically me ending up completely confused as to where I was. Or more importantly where my prey was.

As the Predator it’s often hit and miss as to whether you can jump to a higher ledge and it felt like you had to be in a hidden ‘sweet spot’ before you could jump up to ledges. Very annoying when trying to escape oncoming attacks and when you can see the Predator would blatantly be able to jump such a paltry distance… but the game won’t let you.

The Marine campaign didn’t really suffer in this respect as it’s a standard ‘bug hunt’ so to speak. I enjoyed this the most as Rebellion have done a great job recreating the feel of the films.

The balancing of the species is handled really well, each feeling suitably powerful but having their vulnerabilities. The times when it worked with Alien or Predator it was very satisfying but more often than not the controls/mechanic let it down.

Playing a game like this you want to feel empowered but not invincible – Batman: Arkham Asylum did this almost to perfection last year, here half the time it’ll bodge what you are trying to do and you’ll end up just killing everyone in the fallout.

The multiplayer has severe connction issues but if you can get a game it’s quite good fun. Problem being 9 times out of 10 I couldn’t get a game and was stuck with a ‘searching for games’ screen for 10 minutes at a time.

All three campaigns have their moments of brilliance and Alien Vs Predator, while frustrating at times is a fun game to play through – especially if you are a fan of the films.

Rating: 6/10

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