I was at the Eurogamer Expo last saturday afternoon. It was pretty ace: here are some of the highlights I saw and played.
Guild Wars 2: I spent a good 40 minutes on this, so it’s probably my most complete impression of the show. Well, it was great. I picked a human thief, and proceeded to hacky and slashy and dancey around for 40 minutes of early-game levelling fun. Firstly, the skills are interesting: you have a set of weapon skills which are different for every weapon type, and are added to as you use them: I gave daggers a go (you start with them) and swords (I found one), and you could see subtle differences from the get-go. The first skill you start with is pretty much just a normal attack, but once you start unlocking more, it gets interesting. The second dagger skill was a backstab which allowed you to jump behind the enemy and give them a jab – the second sword skill was a lunge where your character leaps forwards, slashes the enemy, then leaps back. This allows much easier dodging – although you can dodge at any time using the dodge button. The quests seemed pretty standard, up to a point. The main difference between standard MMO quests and GW2 was that you could basically do any objective any number of times to complete it instead of each objective a set number of times – I guess that makes it a little more convenient, but it doesn’t seem groundbreaking. All in all, GW2 looks pretty good for me. Basically your standard MMO without subscription and with much better combat. Looking forward to it.
Battlefield 3: Got to play it on the relatively few PCs that had it running (honestly, who plays FPS on consoles? Surely noone…), and after tweaking the mouse sensitivity from insanely low and accidentally pushing the game in and out of windowed mode, we got to play an 8v8 match. It didn’t last very long – maybe 10 minutes – but it was basically the battlefield we know and love with betters lookings, and also stuff. It’s probably not groundbreaking, but I still thought it seemed cool. The only slightly worrying thing was the lack of destructible scenery, but I’m going to assume that was due to the build we were playing more than anything else. It also reminded me why I loved playing BF games before, even though I’m not great (although I was second on my team at the expo! take that!): it’s due to the levelling and unlocking. Must compulsively unlock everything!
Saints Row the Third: It’s what you expect from all the trailers. GTA cranked up to level 13 insanity. The melee takedowns were satisfying, the driving seemed to be a little better than SR2 (especially the motorbikes, which were fairly terrible in SR2), controls were tight on the 360 pad, and it generally seemed like a solidly put-together sequel. Should be a long game too, so another thing to look forward to.
Mario 3d: A DS game? What? Yeah, that’s right. It was basically Mario 64 with more compact and concentrated levels, as far as I could tell. The 3d stuff didn’t play ball for me that day though – my eyesight (one eye long-sighted, one short-sighted) seemed to conspire against me taking advantage of it. Felt pretty good though, even if I was no good at it.
Skyrim: Now onto the games that I didn’t play, but got a good look at. Firstly, Skyrim. Good grief, it still makes me very excited, and I’m not going to go into why because that’ll just be me listing features everyone already knows about and then going “wooooo!”. It also makes me glad I’ll be playing on a PC because there was a little bit of slowdown on some of the 360s running the game. Me and my friend got slightly rebuked by the Bethesda bloke nearby to us “it’s a pretty old alpha code we’re using here today, so there are still some issues that we’ve dealt with”, he said. I believes you, Bethesda man; and even if they aren’t, you’re still including mod support and we all know that’s what made Oblivion great. Roll on November!
Mass Effect 3: It was too busy to play when we got in, and near then end we raced to a free 360 only to be told “sorry lads, we’re packing up now. No new people on the game”. Sad. Face. I’m gonna buy the damn thing anyway because Mass Effect is the best.
Zelda Skyward Sword: Ooh… New Zelda. Wiimotion plus makes the swordsplay a bit more realistic (Link actually holds the sword how you are holding the controller), but this essentially just makes me want to complete Twilight Princess, which I’ve had forever and not bothered to complete yet. Also flying looked tricky.
All in all, a fun day out, and recommended to anyone who’s as big a nerd as me (possibly even slightly less). A suggestion however: come early, and be savvy when on the lookout for free stuff. Because me and my friend basically got nothing. Nothing!