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A Trip to the Games Convention at Nerdtales
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A Trip to the Games Convention

August 20th, 2008 by Marcel

Europe’s biggest gaming expo starts tomorrow, but the press has the privilege to gain access today already. Now, to be fair, I am not really a member of the press, but it is always good to know somebody who actually is. He asked me yesterday and I accepted reluctanty as I am not a huge fan of conventions like this. More on this and the games I got to see may be read below. Totally ws by the way.

The first thing I saw was the Sony booth with Little Big Planet as one of the main attractions. It was playable but the place was so crowded most of the time so that I didn’t get a chance to play it. But I watched others jump through the cute worlds.

It certainly looks good and the coop play and switching between the different characters reminds of Lost Vikings but I really don’t know what all the fuzz is about. I haven’t seen the level editing capabilities yet, so this may change my opinion but what I saw here was good Jump’n'Run but not the second coming of JC it is hyped to be.

Just a couple of meters away, almost unnoticed by most of the folks, Mirror’s Edge was playable at 2 stations. And to make it clear, this is the absolute highlight of the show for me.

The game had it’s first bigger presentation at this years E3 and the feedback was quite positive so that I was surprised that the seats in front of the game were empty most of the time. Good for me, so I had enough time to jump into it. Jumping. Moving. That is what it’s about. The level was the same as shown at E3. And playing it was so refreshing. No HUD, simple control scheme, yet the game is challenging. Although the spots for moves are colored, the main path seems to be marked red, I had to be careful about where to jump and to get the timing right.

The visual presentation is stunning. Some say that every game built on Unreal Engine 3 looks in parts identical to the others. Mirror’s Edge clearly doesn’t. The combat feels good, too. Hopefully the game doesn’t get too repetitive in the end, but for now this looks to be a clear winner.

Also at the Sony booth was Motorstorm: Pacific Rift. No chance to play but it looked good, yet I sense it is more of the same, just another setting. A short walk away was a closed booth, because Killzone 2 and Resistance are rated R, so no public presentation. Killzone 2 was the same level as at E3, the AI still stupid, the rest felt like a generic shooter. Sounds like fun to come. Resistance 2 looked graphically improved, but still more of the same. It was a very short stage, where I went through destroyed streets and every once in while an event was triggered which lead to hordes of zombies running towards me. The shotty did the rest. I hope the full game will show more than just that.

It controls like Legend, looks better than Legend but the camera sucks even more ass than Legend’s. This is my short impression of Tomb Raider: Underworld, which was playable here. In this day and age one would think that camera problems in third person games should be non existant. Tomb Raider proves the opposite. Even manually controlling the point of view is a pain in the ass. Too bad.

Next to that was Ubisoft’s booth. When I was there, they were having a presentation for the next Prince of Persia game. Wasn’t too fond of it to be honest. Emo through and through and I couldn’t play it personally to see, if the rest of the game suits me better. I wait for a demo then. But Ubisoft had other interesting offerings. Far Cry 2 looked stunning, both on PC and 360. My playtime was short but it felt awesome, a bit like Stalker, only that the shooting was more direct.

The other game I tried out was Tom Clancy’s HAWX. It looked stunning, a lot of the mechanics, like how you command you wingmen, reminded me on games like Rainbox Six and Ghost Recon. Just the controls felt a little awkward. Maybe I just didn’t understand as I only had pitch elevators to control the aircraft. I thought that the right thump stick would control the left/right strafe movement but I am not used to aircraft controls so I might have just overlooked something.

At Capcom’s place I played a little of Dark Void. It certainly looked good, although the beta version here had serious slowdown issues. The general controls felt good, the cover system working like it did in Gears of War. But when in the air, the character has a jet pack, the controls get clumsy and aiming almost impossible. But it is still in beta stages so time will hopefully fix that. Right next to it, Bionic Commando was on display. It looked fun, but sadly my buddies pressed me to go on.

THQ’s booth was little diasppointing. I had hoped to play a little Dawn of War II, but they showed only the newest trailer of it. So I played a little Saints Row 2 (yeah, that is me up there). I haven’t played the first one, but this one feels like a generic GTA clone. I had a good laugh when I picked up a chair and beat the hell out of the police men with it. I’d say it’s a maybe-buy, depending on the story.

And now to the best Star Wars game in years.

Force Unleashed plays good, looks good and is thus a lot of fun. EOT. At least on 360 and PS3. The Wii version is another topic. Naturally it looks worse than the forementioned outings. Somehow like picmip 5. The controls are disappointing. Light sabre combat is nothing but whaggle-whaggle similar to Zelda:TP. So no reason to buy that one.

What else? Sqeenix had Final Fantasy IV DS on display and I must say I don’t like the 3D style. A 2D recreation would’ve been better imo. Infinite Discovery looked like Fable but I didn’t have time to play it. Fallout 3 had cinematic presentations only. Fable 2 was nowhere to be seen. Nintendo was a now show. Microsoft almost the same. That sums it up.

Still there are some things that I don’t understand. What is the connection between boobs and games? Why is it loud as hell even on press day? Why are videogame fares still geared towards male kids between 16-18, when the demography shows that gamers are getting older and older? Why does everybody talk about the importance of casual gaming when 80% of the games look and play like shit? Enough reasons for me not to like gaming conventions like this one. Thank God that I wasn’t there on a regular day. Saved me from packed halls and the sweet smell of day old sweat.


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