Eurogamer Expo Preview – Part 3

In the previous two parts, I covered what highlights to expect from the Eurogamer Expo, and in this, the final part, I will summarise my own personal opinions of the games on offer (disregarding the ones covered previously) along with a few disappointments.

Games Covered

Fable III

The step from Fable to Fable II was quite a large one, whereas from Fable II to III it looks to be less of a leap. Looking at the game, simply in terms of its gameplay and style, you could easily be looking at Fable II, albeit a little more polished. The big differences come with new features added to the game that add huge improvements. One such example is the game’s world map, which allows you to have a look at the world as if it was a tabletop board game, able to zoom into locations and inspect characters and buildings for more information (such as locating a quest, and then quickly teleporting there).

This fantastic addition was somewhat overshadowed for me by the games pause menu, surprisingly enough. When you press pause, instead of getting a static text based list, your character is instantly ported into your inner chambers where you can run from room to room – which work as you would expect selections from a list. You can change your weapons, alter your characters appearances, view progress and even stand beside your characters achievements; something that is quite remarkable considering the game manages to drop your character in and out of the game on the fly – no simple feat.

Fallout New Vegas

Being a big BIG fan of everything Fallout it was an obvious choice to get my hands on the game first upon walking into the venue. As expected from the waves of screenshots and videos already shown of the game, Fallout New Vegas plays very much like Fallout 3. So much so in fact that you can almost imagine Bethesda having released the game as an expansion to continue on from Fallout 3, certainly not a bad thing. Developers Obsidian have managed to get to grips with the engine and continue that beautiful Fallout feeling with ease it would seem, and perhaps with more of a fitting and interesting location and back-story to go with it.

Dragon Age 2

Another title I am hugely anticipating is Dragon Age 2, the sequel to one of my favourite RPG’s ever – although one which was far from flawed. Hoping that Bioware have now smoothed some of the rough edges off of the original I hopped on for a quick go. Straight away the new dialogue wheel is present; familiar to anyone that has played Bioware’s other massive RPG series – Mass Effect.

Since there was little time to get immersed in a story I quickly skipped through it (forgive me Bioware writers). Solely interested in the new direction for combat, I was surprised to find it feeling more suited to the likes of World of Warcraft rather than what I’ve come to expect of the series, and of Bioware’s typical CRPG’s. Whilst there were few abilities available to begin with, a quick scurry into the games interfaces shows promise, with a large range of customisation at hand. I’m not quite sure if I’ll find the fast hack and slack based combat, relying on abilities to have completed their cooldowns, to be more to my taste than the slower queue based system.

Gran Turismo 5 (3D)

Finally it is nearly here, the game that is hailed as being the ultimate racing experience. I picked up the pad and placed on the 3D glasses ready to be immersed in all its wonder… and to my surprise that never happened. I was surprised to find that every aspect of the game I had anticipated to blow me away, failed to impress at all. The graphics, whilst clearly detailed with extremely high polycount on the vehicles, had lacklustre tracks with scenic details that stood out badly such as trees using the old sprite billboard effect. Secondly running the game in 3D was also a disappointment, with little difference from the normal version. Lastly, but most importantly, the games hardcore realism alienated me from the very first corner when I had to drop the brake to the floor or face some sand doughnuts. Something that many will no doubt embrace in all its elitism, but in my case it was the last factor to ensure it was a game I’d avoid this fall.

Hunted: The Demon’s Forge

Being a large fan of cooperative gameplay Hunted has been in my sights for some time now, and being given the chance to play the game at the expo alongside one of the developers was an experience I wasn’t prepared to pass up. Playing through the games short demonstration I tried both the ranger and melee characters, which were equally enjoyable and I was pleased to find the option to switch characters at key locations through a level. For those that haven’t seen the game yet (look above) think Gears of War, with a bow, sword and shield. The art style and general controls are very reminiscent of the Gears series, and that’s certainly not a bad thing. Whilst the experience was short and sweet, it’s one I plan to be extending when the game comes to release.

Killzone 3 (3D)

Having never played a previous Killzone title I feel somewhat inexperienced to pass judgement (it’s on my to-do list I swear!) so I’ll refrain from expressing how the game never felt much more than an graphics buffet (woops I went and said it didn’t I…). The main reason I wanted a taste of Killzone 3 was due to the large crowds it was gathering all wanting a look at how well the game runs 3D. Safe to say, it runs it well. Very well! Unlike Motorstorm the 3D additions are subtle, as the game isn’t racing towards you in the same way, but like a well produced 3D movie they add to the experience greatly and immerse you to another level. PS3 owners eagerly anticipating its release to test out their new 3D (or planned 3D) setups should rest assured that Killzone 3 is a great contender to benchmark with.

Sports Champions (Move)

Having played though the pick of Move titles available the one that stood out the most was Sports Champions, in particular the Table Tennis game. Myself and a friendly opponent went over 20 rounds swinging our PS3motes around like lunatics trying to not knock out the gamers queuing behind us. Whilst I can certainly vouch that the controller feels to have better precision than Nintendo’s offering there were still moments where the game had to emulate what it expected should have happened – resulting in the game doing something unlike the actions I was performing. There was also a clear lag on multiple games of anything up to two seconds, a length which could ruin a gaming experience.

Kinect Joy Ride (Kinect)

My biggest surprise of the entire expo was my sheer frustration with Kinect Joy Ride. Standing in-front of a large crowd I felt Move’d to take the stage and show off my driving skills. Placing both arms out pretending to hold an imaginative steering wheel I was off racing down the track! My experience was flawless, that was until I came to a corner and no amount of spinning, rotating or waggling my hands would steer the car in the direction I desired. Perhaps it was the fact that I was wearing a short sleeve shirt I thought, or that I am really a vampire and the camera is unable to see me perhaps… no matter the reason the experience left me with a bad taste, one which I don’t plan to expand upon any time soon.

As always, the above two experiences with the motion based peripherals and their games could simply have been due to a number of factors such as the lighting and positioning in the venue, but until the products see their final release it’s the only experience I have been given… for now.

That about sums it up for my coverage of the show floor for Eurogamer Expo 2010. Stay tuned for more detailed hands-on previews for some selected games from the list above. Over and out!

Reece Warrender

Reece is an obsessed gaming fanatic that finds enjoyment from any console. He began to enjoy games from a very young age but the addiction did not consume him till the days of Zelda – Link to the Past. Currently he is himself trying hard to break into the gaming industry, as a young programmer whilst also forcing his opinions onto the gaming population.

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