The Gathering 2011 – Day Two – Part Two

If you missed yesterday’s part 1 of this second day of The Gathering 2011 report. Read it over here.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition

If there’s one game on the Xbox that everyone owned it was most certainly this one or at least the regular version. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition is a remake of the original Halo game but instead of remaking the whole game, the guys over at 343 Industries have kept the original game with all its good and bad points and given the game a graphical and audio makeover. If players dislike the look of the ‘new’ game they have the option to switch back to the original with a simple press of the back button. I was shown just what had been changed in a short campaign demo and the graphical upgrade is amazing. The switch from new to old takes a couple of seconds and doesn’t ruin gameplay at all. The Anniversary Edition includes local co-op play like the original did but has also had Xbox Live compatibility added so that you can play with friend far and wide, a feature that was wanted when the original game came out.

What I mainly got my hands on, and was the case with most of the titles at The Gathering 2011, was some multiplayer action. Basically, this is Halo. If you’ve ever played a Halo game online then you will know what to expect from the multiplayer mode of the Anniversary Edition. There graphics are on par with Halo: Reach and most of the abilities feature in it too. The best part is the return of the original Halo pistol, which if you are not familiar with, packs a serious punch and can take out an enemy in a couple of well-aimed shots. It was a lot of fun to play and going back to the old maps was a joy that I’m sure any hardcore Halo fan or new player will thoroughly enjoy. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition hits stores 15th November this year.

Hitman Absolution

The biggest surprise for me at The Gathering 2011 was Hitman Absolution. Having not seen much of it myself and having not played a Hitman game since the original, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the latest instalment of the series. I watched as one of the developers walked us through a level that lasted roughly twenty five minutes and from start to finish it was action packed and looked like a ton of fun to play! Starting the level hidden in the shadows you are tasked with guiding Agent 47 out of an old building and blending in with the crowds to complete the level. All over the building there are police on the lookout for you and it’s up to you to deal with them how you see fit. This is the great thing about Hitman Absolution, if you don’t want to kill anyone you don’t have to, but should that rage build up and you want to unleash it on a poor fellow, you can. I was shown some of the different ways you can attack you enemies such as pulling them from a ledge, smashing a bust over their heads or breaking their necks with a policeman’s baton. Of course guns are still in the game too so don’t worry about that!

The AI in Hitman Absolution are also very well scripted and some even have relationships with each other, which means depending who you decide to take out results in different mini stories that will unfold during each playthrough. You are also able to disguise yourself as others to try and sneak past guards or other enemies and looked like a lot of fun to play around with. The graphics and game mechanics were outstanding and this is because of IO Interactive’s Glacier 2 game engine, which really puts Hitman Absolution in a league of its own among third-person games. Sadly, there were some more things I learned from the developers but I am unable to talk about them just now but keep your eyes peeled on the homepage and more information will be available soon! Hitman Absolution is scheduled for a 2012 release.

Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City

Operation Racoon City is like no other Resident Evil game you have ever played in the past. Gone are the slow walks through tight corridors and standing still to aim and shoot your gun. You now play as the members of the Umbrella Security Service (USS) who are tasked with destroying any evidence that may incriminate the Umbrella Corporation. The members of the USS are Spectre, Vector, Bertha, Four-Eyes, Beltway and Lupo and each have their own different abilities and equipment. The game has full four player co-op for the main campaign and that’s what I got my hands on at The Gathering. Playing as Spectre, I had the ability to look through walls by using a heat detector and came in very handy when a large number of zombies were closing in on our position. There are some awesome features in this game such as when one person gets hurt enough to bleed, all the zombies in the area will rush towards them for a taste of the blood. Another great feature is the finishing melee attacks which not only look insane but are pretty lethal when pulled off.

The classic plants and med kits are spewed around the city for you to collect and heal yourself with or others if you’re feeling generous. If you don’t get saved in time it’s no problem though as there’s just a few seconds of downtime and they you spawn right next to one of your buddies. This quick action gameplay set in the world of Resident Evil is a really nice experience and although I only had a short while with the game, I could tell it would have been hooked like such games as Left 4 Dead did. So if you’re a fan of games like that then this will most likely entertain you for some time! Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City is due out some time at the end of 2012.

Tomb Raider

Last but by no means least we have Tomb Raider. Take everything you thought you knew about Lara Croft and throw it out the window because this reboot of the classic adventure game from most people’s childhood is back and now it’s dark, gritty and a whole new experience. The main theme of the all new Tomb Raider is survival. As this is a new start for Lara Croft, her past is being rewritten and the demo that was at The Gathering showed Lara as she struggled to adapt to a new environment and learn how to survive. The game features all the things that made Tomb Raider great, such as climbing, exploring and shooting, but the latter is only used for survival purposes rather than for sport, which it seemed to portray in the previous games.

One of the features I was most sceptical about at first was the, what seemed, constant use of quick time events, but after watching the demo for twenty minutes I can safely say it’s only used to enforce that sense of survival. A good example of this was when Lara was leapt on by a wolf and as the player you need to press the buttons swiftly and correctly to get the thing off you! Also, when falling down a slippery hill in a cave and having to press the right and left trigger to control each arm and climb to safety. The game takes place on an island in the Dragon’s Triangle which means the locales on the island will have a very different look and feel. So for those who were worried the game may be dull because it doesn’t take the typical approach of sending Lara all over the world, fear not as your adventurous side will be more than satisfied. The all new Tomb Raider is due for release some time next year.

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed my little insight in this year’s and next year’s titles coming soon to our consoles. Stay tuned for more news and reviews as soon as these games nearer their release.

Tim Leigh

Tim likes games. Tim likes games A LOT. It’s highly likely he’s played on most of the platforms that support games over his long years playing video games and is a sucker for new technology. He can often be found on his Xbox 360 playing the latest RPG or playing a wide range of multiplayer games with his buddies. While doing this however, he’ll often have a casual game of Peggle running on his PC and making sure his planes are doing the rounds in Pocket Planes on the iPad. When he’s actually not found playing games he’ll either be at the cinema watching the latest film releases or at the gym attempting to get fit - attempting being the important word there

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