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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Hacksville: Population 70m+

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last three weeks you’ll have noticed that the PS3 has been without it’s online component, the PSN.

Someone hacked into the network and stole users personal data so Sony shut down the entire online aspect of it’s service to investigate.

It took a week or so for them to fill gamers in because they were waiting for the investigation to be completed by a third party. Once they had the confirmation they let us know the following day.

Online is a big part of the gaming experience for a lot of people.

This is apparently standard procedure (see here for more details) but it was the announcement that the hackers could also have got hold of users credit card details that ruffled feathers.

It usually takes something controversial for gaming to appear in the mainstream news, let alone make the headlines, so the theft of over 70m users credit card details was just what the media ordered.

The truth of the matter is that, at present, Sony has nothing to prove that credit card details were taken and no-one has reported any unauthorised activity on their cards.

Killzone 3 was a recent flagship online game for Sony, will people return to it or play fresher titles?

From a personal perspective I immediately cancelled my card and ordered a new one. Any concerns from my end were then finished.

Sony vowed to increase security and apologised for the breach. They have also offered some compensation in the form of some free games and a month of Playstation Plus for free.

As time rolled on and a few days turned into a week, which turned into two weeks… gamers seemed to be getting overly irate.

What impact will the outage have on the sales of a game heavily based around multiplayer, like Brink?

Now I accept that Sony has to shoulder some blame for this but someone breached the security they had in place and attacked them. I’m presuming this was a data theft issue because any group, such as anonymous, that attempted this to inconvenience Sony will have lost any support from PS3 gamers.

In terms of getting back online I would much rather the PSN was down an extra week or two now with better security than have it back up and running now, only to see it taken down again a few weeks later with problems.

Sony’s initial response was by the book according to people in the know, so waiting until the investigation was complete before commenting was ok with me. But the handling of it over the last few weeks has been ridiculous. The phrase ‘a few more days’ has been wheeled out at every opportunity, when realistically they must have known they were looking at weeks rather than days.

Were some gamers really desperate enough to play Call Of Duty that they would trade in their PS3?

There have been plenty of claims of people trading in their PS3 for an XBox 360 so they can play online, which I find hard to believe. Buying a 360 as well? Can see that as an option for people with the cash to do so. But trading in your PS3? What about the exclusives coming up such as Infamous 2, Resistance 3, Uncharted 3 or the just announced Starhawk?

The time the PSN has been down has been a blessing in disguise for me as I’ve knocked out a huge chunk of my single player backlog before the arrival of L.A Noire.

Over the last three weeks I’ve made my way through Bulletstorm, SOCOM 4, the first episode of Back To The Future: The Game, Stacking, Crysis 2, Portal 2 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Not to mention throwing countless hours into Mass Effect 2.

The outage meant I cleared a big chunk of my game backlog.

I rediscovered my love of single player gaming. With the PSN showing signs of life this week it might be time to rediscover my love of online gaming.

What did you guys so in the downtime? Play much? Turn to other pursuits? What did you think of Sony’s handling of the situation – from the actual security itself to the response and release of information?

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Motion Control Spreads To HD

Well GDC (Game Developer Conference) always throws up a few interesting announcements and tech demos – the latest of which was Sony’s “Move.”

Essentially a more precise and HD supported Wii remote, “Move” is Sony’s attempt to muscle in on the ground that Nintendo have been occupying for the last few years.

Have a look at the video below to see it in action:

Personally this will be a novelty item for me. Like the EyeToy and EyePet – not something I’ll play often but when friends are over or my daughter wants to play something I’ll stick them on.

I’m not a fan of motion control being the sole means of control in a game and I’m glad to hear that Sony said in a lot of cases the controller will still be an option instead of motion.

That being said if a studio can find a great way to implement it I’m all for it. Killzone 2’s setting charges with the SixAxis was weak but didn’t take you out of the experience too much and Heavenly Sword’s arrow/cannonball system was clever but too frustrating. More positively, Heavy Rain recently included some great motion control stuff so all is not lost.

Heavy Rain’s use of motion control was a big part of the gameplay

I think being able to use controller and motion is a good solution for gamers like me that don’t want to jump wholesale into motion.

Take Natal on XBox for example, in which there is no controller and your hand motions etc are used to select stuff. Now I don’t doubt it’ll sell well and seems to be an impressive piece of tech but I don’t want to play like that.

The idea of having to physically carry out the actions I want to do in real life so that Natal can register them in game isn’t my idea of fun. Actually scratch that, it would be fun but at a party or with friends. The majority of my gaming time is spent alone (in terms of my actual location) and I just don’t see myself playing that way.

So we have the usual array of sports games and motion stuff – I particularly liked ‘Shoot’ (see below video) which is a ‘House Of The Dead’ style romp through various themed levels and looks like it could be a real giggle.

Sadly from my perspective that was the only title that looked like I might play it.

Support from existing titles such as LittleBigPlanet and SOCOM was good to see, although the latter appeared to confirm my fears on motion in ‘hardcore’ games.

SOCOM is a tactical army based shooter – why would you need to control it with motion? Fair play to Zipper for getting it done and it’s not terrible by any means (see below video) but I just can’t take it seriously.

I guess it all just feels superfluous. Like the Wii, Natal and Move are all bringing a little something extra to the table but nothing groundbreaking.

Where is motion control’s ‘killer app’?

It’s a big question and maybe with the release of Natal and Move bringing some much needed competition to Nintendo we’ll get to see some innovative motion titles forcing their way through in the next few years.

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The End Of An Era… But The Beginning Of Another.

As with so many things, gaming has changed a hell of a lot since the start of the decade.

It’s been a progressive ten years, seeing the arrival of the Playstation 2, Playstation 3 and PSP – as well as rival consoles from Nintendo and Microsoft that helped push Sony to improve.

Games are a much bigger part of life now – more mainstream than ever before. Most houses will have one of the consoles, if not more, as parents and children play (sometimes together 🙂 ).

METAL GEAR SOLID: One of the original Playstation’s finest moments

There can be no doubt that Sony was the manufacturer of the decade – the continuing success of the PS2 secures them that accolade.

But in the current generation of consoles they sit in last place. XBox 360 started so well and then Nintendo arrived with the Wii to rape and pillage the ‘casual market.’

However as time has gone on the PS3 has made great strides to catch up with the XBox (I just can’t take the Wii seriously as a platform) and seems to finally be getting the games to back up it’s hardware.

GOD OF WAR: The series that showcased just how much was left in the PS2

As this decade comes to a close we’ve seen various companies go bust. From well established ones, like Acclaim or Midway, through to lesser known but good studios such as Pandemic no-one seemed safe from the threat of extinction.

I’ve had some big changes in gaming since 2000 – swinging from FIFA to PES back in 2001 and then back to FIFA again in 2009. Going from casual gamer to setting up my own blog and reviewing games.

The main difference for me now is in online gaming. With XBox Live on the 360 and then the PSN for PS3 gaming became even more social than before – with friends lists and even the inclusion of Twitter updates of your in game progress (Uncharted 2).

KILLZONE 2: The game that has defined online gaming for me this decade

I never thought I would ever play with a headset – but as online games have developed it’s often essential to be able to communicate to the people you’re playing with, not least to be able to dish out some friendly ribbing now and then 😆

Games are so well developed now that people who were just casual gamers are finding themselves completing games and playing online.

It’s a great time to be a gamer and with a slew of great titles confirmed for 2010/2011 it looks like it’ll just keep getting better and better.

UNCHARTED 2: The complete gaming package

For the record here are my Top 10 favourites games of the decade:

1. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)

2. Killzone 2 (PS3)

3. GTA: Vice City (PS2)

4. Pro Evolution Soccer 5 (PS2)

5. Metal Gear Solid (PSX)

6. God Of War II (PS2)

7. Dead Space (PS3)

8. Fallout 3 (PS3)

9. Resident Evil 4 (PS2)

10. GTA IV (PS3)

And because of “it’s great balance of Final Fantasy and Disney” my wife has submitted her game of the decade: Kingdom Hearts.

So that rounds out the decade!

See you all in 2010! 😎

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GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games – Preview

Chuckie Egg

When I considered compiling my Top 100 games I was struck by an odd thought – could I really think of 100 games good enough to make a decent Top 100 list?

Well the answer was a resounding yes. I went through each generation of my gaming ‘career’ writing down not only the good but also the bad so everything could be judged on merit.

I decided, as so many games mean so many different things to me, I should come up with a fair way to judge them. This is what I came up with:

Time Spent Playing

Storyline

Difficulty

Fun

Ground Breaking?

So I went about judging the shortlist of games (which clocked in at just over 200 :eek:) scoring them for each section.

I rated each game individually and then collated the total scores, and therefore the positions, afterwards so as not to influence my scoring.

A few provisos before I start my preamble…

Firstly this is my list of my Top 100 games. I certainly don’t expect you guys to agree with it (though hopefully you’ll agree with some of the choices :lol:) and would welcome any comments.

Secondly, I’m not planning on putting the scores or totals up, just listing the games in the order they came out in.

Lastly, I never owned a Nintendo or Microsoft console so my experiences on these games were limited to friend’s houses etc – bite me 🙂

So to conclude this preview a few honourable mentions from the 100 great games that DIDN’T make the Top 100.

SUPER OFF ROAD (Sega Megadrive)

I remember getting this for my 14th Birthday and being allowed to stay up past midnight to play it for a bit before going to bed. Absolute manic driving game with a slightly side on/top down view. The use of nitros made this fun and I spent plenty of time racing my brother on this.

CALIFORNIA GAMES (Sega Master System)

California Games 

Oh yes! One of the really old skool games, California Games saw you competing in various disciplines including BMX, Footbag and Surfing (pic above). This was great fun and with so many different ‘sports’ it kept us entertained for some time.

WORLD SOCCER (Sega Master System)

Those were the days. Ronaldo to Madrid for £80m? Screw those over-priced primadonnas. This was REAL football. Check out the Grobelaar-esque dodgy keeping for that first goal though 😆

NHL 95 (Sega Mega Drive)

NHL 95

After experiencing this at a friend’s house I had to have a copy. Awesome, awesome hockey and up until 2K’s recent hockey game NHL 2K8 I didn’t think it could be bettered but 2K ran it close.

CALL OF DUTY 4 (PS3)

OK confession time – I didn’t ‘get’ COD4 😮 In my defence I wasn’t much of an online gamer in those days so didn’t experience that side of it and I played the first level of the campaign mode at a friends. I could kind of appreciate the cinematic quality of it but really I just got lost and without direction spent ages wandering round the ship.  Graphically it was awesome and they had created a good sense of aymosphere but those opening minutes with the game jarred me and I never fully took to it.

DOOM (PC)

We never had a PC at home when I was growing up so I only got snatches of this game at my mates houses. Frantic, fast and great fun but even in those days I had trouble controlling the game with a keyboard 😦

ZERO TOLERANCE (Sega Mega Drive)

ZeroTolerance

One of my favourite first person shooters – for the time I thought the graphics were amazing. Revisiting it recently they weren’t but this was an enjoyable romp at the time and I loved the fact you could choose different character with different abilities.

ANT ATTACK (ZX Spectrum)

Ant Attack (The 'Boy' is standing on the wall!)

Again an old favourite that I never got very far on but played countless times. This was basic boy saves girl stuff but the ants! Oh man they were BIG!

SECRET COMMANDO (Sega Master System)

Me and my brother must’ve spent days playing this game – the co-op mode was excellent and it was really challenging. We really got some mileage out of this title and the game really ramped it up with tanks etc (see video). Great fun!

CHUCKIE EGG (ZX Spectrum)

Chuckie Egg (picture at top of the article) still stands up today as a great time killer. It’s just as addictive as it was back in the day. You could blast through the first few levels once you knew the chicken’s patterns but once you were 4 or 5 levels in this got TOUGH even if you knew what you were doing. Brilliant gameplay – just the right side of frustrating.

So over the next few months I’ll be bringing you my Top 100 games. I’m cutting it off now (end of June 2009) so any new games will have to wait until next year’s edition 😆

Looking forward to sharing it with you all!

LINKS TO FURTHER POSTS:

GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: 100 – 91

GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: 90 – 81

GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: 80 – 71

GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: 70 – 61

GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: 60 – 51

GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: 50 – 41

GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: 40 – 31

GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: 30 – 21

GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: 20 – 11

GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: 10 – 6

GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: The Top 5!

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Trophyitis or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the PS3 Trophy System

PS3 Trophy Card

I’d been aware of XBox ‘Achievements’, a set of unlockable awards that you got by completing certain tasks in games, for some time when Sony announced their own version which were to be termed ‘Trophies.’

Myself and my friends greeted the news with a shrug in an Alan Partridge ‘revamped current news and affairs’ style:

“Why would that be of interest to me?”

“Surely that’s for kids.”

“I won’t be bothering with them.”

Only we changed.

Somewhere between the announcement and now, something clicked. Was it a general surge of opinion in favour of Trophies? Perhaps it was the ‘twing’ noise of a pop up confirming a trophy?

Regardless of how it happened it seems people have been infected with a very different T-Virus to the one that features in Resident Evil – ‘Trophyitis.’

I have a fairly low level case – I enjoy getting the trophies, the satisfaction at looking back afterwards: “oh yes, I’d forgotten I got 50 headshots” or “what a tough one it was to beat that last boss in under 20 minutes on Killzone 2” 😀 I’ll maybe check what trophies an upcoming game has but usually won’t go out of my way to try and get them all.

At the other end of the spectrum are the Indiana Jones’ and Nathan Drake’s of the trophy world, the guys who live and breathe for that rare beast – the *platinum* trophy.

A word to the folks who don’t know, the trophy structure is thus:

Bronze: awarded for menial tasks ‘oh you’ve opened a door’, ‘you shot 500 enemies’, ‘you found a secret room’ etc.

Silver: a bit tougher here. More likely to be ‘you killed 1000 enemies’, ‘you collected every weapon in the game’ and for a lot of games ‘you finished the game (on anything under hard difficulty)’.

Gold: Ah the gold trophy – awarded for beating great games on ‘hard’ or for completing bad games who just want you to stick with them til the end. Also awarded for generally near impossible/heroic/mental feats such as ‘you found all 250 pieces of intel’, ‘you completed the game just using the pistol’ etc

Platinum: the crème de le crème. Platinum trophies are awarded for getting every other trophy for that game. It’s like the trophy icing on the cake.

But surely it’s just an artificial demonstration of how much you play games? Is there really any pride to be had in having racked up hundreds of trophies?

I don’t think so.

I guess it depends on your point of view but personally I think it’s like any numbers based social activity. Take Facebook or Twitter for example – how many people are solely interested in how many friends/followers they have? It’s exactly the same with trophies.

The real pride comes not in number but the actual trophies you have. I would rather have a difficult trophy (say being an expert in one field) that not a lot of people have than 20 bronze ones that everyone has.

One of my friends is the next step up from me – having gone from not really being fussed to playing Call Of Duty: World At War on Veteran so he could get two Gold trophies. He ended up taking more than twice as long to finish the game as normal simply to secure that extra gold trophy.

I’m sure the sense of achievement was immense having struggled through the levels but for me personally I don’t have the time or energy to do that. I simply wouldn’t finish the game as my tolerance level peaks around the hour mark in levels.

I can understand the trophy buzz in some instances – my favourite ever trophy was the one that popped up on LittleBigPlanet because over 50 people had played my created level. I was pretty proud of that. (EDIT: The level is called Kitchen Kaper! by GregHorrorShow for those LittleBigPlanet players out there 🙂 )

I’ll keep playing through games and picking up trophies here and there but I think I’ll leave the trophy hunting to others!

This certainly isn’t a piece bashing peeps that collect trophies and I’ll be interested to see what comments you guys have and if you chase the platinum or are happy to pick them up as you go along.