Habboi's Blog of Games Design and All Things Awesome!

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Sunday, 25 September 2011

Eurogamer Expo 2011

Hey all,

It has been a while since I last updated this blog. The truth is I was concentrating on my career in games and didn't have time to write large topics. I had some interesting ones planned out like how the games industry needs support in this country and I may revisit that someday but for now I'd like to open up with a post about my day at Eurogamer Expo 2011 that I visited yesterday.

First of all it was a fantastic day. I got to experience pretty much all of the anticipated AAA games that I wanted to experience. I also got to see a preview of Hitman Absolution which was incredibly epic and very cinematic. After seeing it in action I'm definitely sold.

You can view a leak of it here but I would personally wait until an official version is released.

So back to the show, the first game I tried was of course, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. We had 20 minutes to go anywhere we wanted to and experiment with the combat. I started off as a Khajiit and we were given iron armour, a bow, sword and a fireball spell which is actually more like a wide spread flamethrower.

The demo takes place in the exact same area that has been shown in official trailers so I took it upon myself to explore places that hadn't been shown yet. Obviously with 20 minutes I had to hurry so I followed the path down to Riverwood and quickly carried on and took a different direction from there out into a wide open field.

There I saw giants next to a large open bonfire and beyond that was a small stone tower. I noticed a wooden fort that was even closer to I went there first and saw a man wearing the exact same iron armour as me with the inverted horns. He pulled out his sword and slowly approached me so I pulled out my sword and backed away slowly.

I didn't test this but I believe that had I left the area he would have left me alone but since it was a demo I decided to be silly and go on a mass killing spree. I soon found out that the fireball spell is "very effective."

While fighting them the music playing in the background was over the top epic. It was such a small battle but just like classic Elder Scrolls, the music is always loud. After killing the remaining men and women I headed back towards the stone tower where I saw people in robes. I talked to one of them and I believe they said they were daedra (black eyes) and that they were part of some religious cult. I didn't talk for long because I was curious what was inside the tower.

Nothing much to my surprise. It was exactly the same as the one shown in the trailers where the player fought a dragon. I quickly went downstairs as I heard the words "5 minutes left" and to my surprise there was a wooden door just outside the tower. I went inside and was greeted with the loading screen.

The loading screen is black with fog rising from the bottom accompanied by the player model on the left which can be rotated with the analog stick or a weapon or armour with a description about it on the right. The loading times were surprisingly long as it took a good 20 seconds just to load a tavern that I entered in Riverwood. However this is a preview build and it was running on the Xbox 360 so there were a few times where the framerate dipped.

Back to the dungeon, inside I was greeted by men and women in iron armour who attacked me on sight. A quick flamethrower spell to the face and a slash here and there and they were swiftly dealt with. I saw some cell doors on either side of the corridor and a "money bag" which I could pick up. At the end of the corridor was a semi naked man who suddenly went nuts and shot lighting bolts at me. He was no match for me and unfortunately the demo ended there.

Overall I got a good taste and I am eagerly looking forward to the game. The combat was certainly improved as each slice of the sword made the camera stagger and the sound effects were gruesome. I swear, when I killed one NPC, the sound effects as it imitated a finishing kill were some of the nastiest sounds I've heard in a game.

Other games that I tried were Counter Strike Global Offence, Mass Effect 3, Dark Souls, Battlefield 3 and many indie games.

Counter Strike was just the same old game with a makeover. It was terrible playing with a controller so if you do get it I strongly suggest a version that lets you use a keyboard and mouse.

Mass Effect 3 was the same as 2 but a little prettier. That's all I can really say.

Dark Souls, the spiritual successor to Demon's Souls is literally the same game only with some minor changes and an increase in difficulty.

Battlefield 3 was interesting and it certainly felt realistic but since the demo only allowed us to walk around a small city with no vehicles I was disappointed.

The indie games were certainly "different" to AAA games as expected. There was a curious game where you had to rotate hearts on a wheel and figure out how to make them all face upright. There was another where you had to defend earth by building tower defenses out in space and shoot off invading aliens and comets. You have to see it to really understand it because it was all over the place and very addicting. Finally my favourite indie game was called "Greedy Bankers" on the Ipad and it featured a square grid battlefield where the objective is to form large rectangles or squares by dragging small coloured gems with your fingers. The fun part about it is that it's a two player game that is shared on the same screen so you can steal gems from each others side and it becomes really competitive and funny. Definitely my highlight of the day besides Skyrim.

Finally I never had the chance to see this "3D" technology that was introduced a while back so it was a pleasant surprise to see it being showcased at the Expo. First of all I tried the 3DS and the game running on it was The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D and sadly I didn't like the 3D effect. I adjusted the slider up and down and I found that it was most effective when it was near the off part. I could see how it worked though as the fountain in the market stood out compared to the background but it hurt my eyes quite badly.

The next 3D I tried was the Sony PS3 one with glasses. This was a lot better and for the first few minutes it just seemed like the character model stood out more but suddenly this black fly flew from the corner of my eye and I slapped the air trying to get rid of it. The people who were sitting behind me laughed at my confusion. Of course it wasn't really a fly, it was a black dust particle that was brought out of the screen and into my face. I must admit it was quite effective. Another effect that popped out was a small waterfall that I passed under and it felt like I was about to get drenched. Quite funny.

I really enjoyed the expo and I will hopefully go again next year provided there are some top games to enjoy. I wanted to try SWTOR but the lines were too long and it closed early for some reason just when the queues were starting to get short.

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