I've never been to London, I've never been to an expo before and next gen is right around the corner... so i thought, what better time to kill 2 birds with 1 stone?
I took a flight from sunny old Glasgow down to London, spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday there, played a whole bunch of games, took myself to the brink of bankruptcy on merchandise and had a great time doing so.
This is my blog of my experience, a run-down of all the titles i played and my opinions.
If you agree, disagree or otherwise, feel free to let me know in the comment section or leave tales of your own experience if you were there too.
BE WARNED, THIS BLOG MAY GET PRETTY LENGTHY!
------ Battlefield 4 (PS3, 360, PS4, Xbone, PC) ------
As a latecomer to the Battlefield franchise in Battlefield 3 and putting a silly amount hours into my PS3 on it, this was my first stop. After almost 2 hours waiting we finally got ushered into a massive 32 player booth.
This was my first hands on with the Xbox One controller, in terms of design it's definitely a throwback to the Xbox o... ahem original Xbox pad, which unfortunately i wasn't a huge fan of. Fortunately though it feels very similar to a 360 pad.
On to the game... The framerate was much improved from current gen as you'd expect, everything felt and looked really fluid. The first thing i noticed was a much better killcam, instead of the Battlefield 3 system of "look at this close up of your opponents face with a vague view of a rock and few leafs in the background!", instead the camera hovers at the spot you died and highlights your enemy in red so they can be seen even if they're not in direct sight. Controls felt much tighter thanks to the framerate, the small new additions to the environmental interaction are fun too, such as slamming a rail carriage door closed on your enemy who is taking cover inside while trying to take your base/protect the bomb plant. And as always, a damn pretty looking game, all in all a very good game and FPS/Battlefield fans will have a great time with it.
------ Call Of Duty: Ghosts (PS3, 360, PS4, Xbone, PC) ------
Once upon a time i was a HUGE advocate of the Call Of Duty franchise, COD4 to me was, and still is, one of my favourite games of all time, it got me into online gaming in a big way and took the entire genre to a new level which at the time very few could match.
On the down side of having a great privilege to get my hands on such a huge title months early, COD fatigue has well and truly set in for me for over a year now, so made less of an impact on me than it would have on a current fan.
Having said that, i like to keep things on an even perspective and i can appreciate it for what it is and what it does for those who still enjoy it. Ghosts looked very impressive, the level design of the map we played was well done and implemented multiple layers in a much more dynamic way then the traditional COD map of ground floor, upstairs and basement/cave. As expected of the franchise, it keeps its 60fps and controls are responsive and satisfying.
------ Octodad: Dadliest Catch (PS4, PC?) ------
This might seem overly high up my priority list, especially to those who don't even know what it is, but this was a personal favourite of mine at the show and something i looked forward to for quite a while.
It's almost slapstick humour just gets me, you play an octopus who is trying to fit in with humans and be a father and husband. L2 and R2 along with the left and right stick control your legs which have deliberate over-sensitivity so you go comically flapping around the mostly interactive environment.
In the demo on show your task sounds like very simple human tasks, but being a not so capable octopus in human clothes, the most simple of things like walking, putting a key in a lock or putting a bow tie on turn into melodramatic, chaotic scenes that just can't help but amuse me.
May not be for everyone, but it's a huge bunch of fun and can't recommend enough if you like fun indie games.
------ Titanfall (Xbone, PC) ------
This is one of the titles i didn't have a whole lot of expectation for being a little "meh" on the initial E3 trailer.
We waited 2 and a half hours to get to a relatively small booth for such a big title for the Xbox/PC. Around an hour into the queue we were given headsets and shown an introduction trailer which was actually pretty helpful in explaining the mechanics and loadouts.
The playable mode was essentially TDM which pretty much ever shooter fan will be familiar with, you spawn as a ground soldier with free running abilities which feel almost like an FPS Prince Of Persia, as you scale from object to object you gain momentum, so well executed run could potentially carry you from one side of the map to another in a single run.
Maps are specifically designed for both free running and shooting in equal measure to make sure you aren't just being dropped immediately as you try to get from one area to another.
Oh yeah... and let's not forget about the Titans! I thought the Titans would be overpowered and steamroller the foot soldiers, but they actually seemed pretty well balance and Titan players focused on other Titan players, they have probably been coded specifically to do less damage to humans than other Titans which is a good call. Anyone who played Starhawk will also be immediately reminded of the drop spawns too, when you wait the allotted time or gain enough XP you place a silhouette of your Titan and drop it into the map.
Probably the biggest surprise for me and something i'll definitely have my eye on for release.
------ Killzone Shadowfall (PS4) ------
I cut this one kind of thin, i was literally among the last group of people on my last day to get into the over 18 area of the Sony section. I was excited to try this one out as i've been a fan of Killzone this gen and was eager to see how it felt to play a shooter with the Dualshock 4.
The feel of the controller definately held up, and i can confidently say that the Dualshock 4 is leaps and bound beyond Ps3, 360 and Xbox One pads, it's bigger and wider to allow a solid but comfortable grip and the triggers just felt natural to use even for PS3 vets who are used with using the shoulder buttons in place of the triggers for shooters. Sony have definitely hit a home run with this one and working directly with devs when designing it has paid back dividends.
On the not so plus side, i wouldn't say Shadowfall was disappointing, but the build they brought to Eurogamer was really, really early pre-alpha (as confirmed by the reps there) and it felt like it. The framerate was choppy and the match was only 6v6 in a relatively big map, but the foundations are definitely there, once this has gone gold and has been finely tunes it's going to be a great game.
The guns really felt like you were firing a gun and character actually flinched like they were taking rounds to the chest instead of just wading through your shots like demi-gods who don't feel pain. The lighting and effects were excellent and little environmental touches like ziplines make it diverse and allow you take different routes and preven the same maps or modes feeling too samey.
Shadowfall has work to be done, but i have high hopes for it upon release once they have time to focus on polish and performance.
------ Dying Light (PS3, 360, PS4, Xbone, PC) ------
This is one title that almost completely slipped my radar basically right up until i saw it's booth next to Battlefield 4. Having had a horrific experience with Dead Island (it was almost completely broken when i played at lunch), my faith in Techland as a studio was pretty poor with minimal expectations. However, my buddy i was with at the show had a much better time than i obviously did and talked me into playing because, well i paid to be there so no reason not to.
Dying light is basically a spiritual sequel to the Dead Island series, it has similar survival goals, open explorable worlds, custom weapon crafting and naturally zombies.
At first glance it looked pretty much the same, but a Mirrors Edge style free running system has been implemented to give a more fluid, open feel and it has definitely won me over a little. A full day/night cycle has now been implemented and zombies react differently at different times of day to mix up gameplay and vary how you tackle missions.
Graphics and performance have been dramatically improved from that of Dead Island, without this significant performance boost the free running and much more fluid animation simply would not work at all and would be a chore to play, thankfully it all pulls together to bring a surprisingly good package that should satisfy new players while keeping enough of the old to keep existing Dead Island fans happy.
------ Tearaway (PS Vita) ------
I'm just going to be straight up with this, i am a massive man-child, i'll be 24 as of my birthday and i just can't resist Media Molecules work, their talent at providing awesome gaming experiences while making charming hand crafted worlds and adorable characters is unmatched.
Tearaway is a gorgeous game, the paper craft world, vivid colours and cute characters just dive right off that OLED screen and pull you in. This is a 3rd person platformer which has you going around the world meeting little character who ask you to complete creative tasks to earn scraps of paper to advance to the next area.
This requires things like taking a picture and using it as a texture for a character, or using the touch screen to cut out a crown and stick it to a charcter who will then wear that crown for the rest of the playthrough, or using the rear touch to have your finger appear to pop straight through the vita into their paper world and move objects/clear area's etc.
If you have kids or are a child at heart yourself, you won't be able to help but get sucked into this game, definite day 1 for me.
There were way, waaaaaaaaaay more games both that i played and wanted to, but my hand is starting to cramp up now and i've taken up enough of your time with my ramblings.
Overall i had a great time, the atmosphere was amazing, all the reps were friendly and helpful, there was tonnes of merch to blow my cash on and i'd recommend you visit in a heartbeat, if you get an opportunity to visit Eurogamer or a similar event, dive in, it's great fun =)
Like i said, if you agree or disagree with my opinions, have experiences of your own etc, drop some feedback in the comment section and we'll be sure to have some fun sharing and debating.
(Almost) first in line
Epic Battlefield booth
My panorama of the show floor
The awesome papercraft Tearaway booth
PS4 hardware in the flesh
My first hands-on with the Dualshock 4
Hectic Sony booths