Day 1 At The EuroGamer Expo – Assassins Creed III, God of War: Ascension, Aliens Colonial Marines And More
The first day at EuroGamer Expo was massive and Captain Camper has coverage over the next few days for all you gaming fans. Despite a 2 hour queue to get in, and just as long for a few of the games, we’ve got a sneak peak at some of the title’s CC played as well as the developer sessions with DayZ developer, Dean Hall.
Thankfully it stopped raining for the 2 hours we spent queuing. Despite having a press pass, it appeared that 90% of the population of London purchased early access tickets as the queue to enter was huge. Thankfully though there was some nice eye-candy in terms of cosplayers and the Carmageddon crew had a wicked little 4×4 on display.
After myself and another editor finally got through the doors of Earls Court, we headed straight for the ZombieU booths to play the upcoming Wii-U title. Sadly there was already an estimated waiting time of 3 hours, which we felt would be better spent exploring some other titles. However, be sure to check back tomorrow as come rain or shine, we’ll be at those doors at the break of dawn to ensure we get some coverage of the nom-noming.
We did get a chance to sample some of the big names of the Expo, and there’s still plenty to cover for tomorrow. There was a massive turnout and every booth was filled within 10 minutes of the doors opening. This did mean we didn’t get to spend much time with each title but Captain Campers gaming prowess meant he was able to blag a little longer than everyone else by acting the idiot and having the developers explain even the most basic of features. We’re not going to bore you with thousands of words for each title. Simple brief opinion, basically letting you know if you should look at picking it up or avoiding it.
DUST 514 Preview
This was one of the titles I was most looking forward to and after seeing the massive queue at the Wii-U booth, I headed straight over to Dust 514. There was only a few stations available but the majority were empty which game me the opportunity to sit down and chat with one of the developers. Despite the advertising of a number of the games defining features, I couldn’t get around the clunky and unresponsive controls. I think games like Call of Duty and Halo have set the standard for FPS controls but when using my familiar FPS button layouts, I was quite often performing totally opposite actions.
The graphics weren’t overly impressive and the hit detection seemed way off. Combine this with an awfully awkward grenade animation, and my first few rounds were less than appealing. There’s a lot of features in the game that we didn’t get to sample, such as vehicle use and the huge territory wars, but they only offered a brief sample.
One of the most highly anticipated titles of the year and after just a few minutes playing it, I fully understand why. The controls were a little overwhelming at first as you have to bring up a circular menu to change your skills to the directional pad. Depending on your play style you can find yourself doing this 4-5 times during a single level, but the following awesomeness removes any concern associated with the brief pauses.
I played through the first level and burst into laughter on a few occasions, to the surprise and shock of a number of nearby players. Right from the start, within 15 seconds of picking up the control pad I assigned some random abilities and gave it a go. One ability allowed me to teleport/jump a short distance, while the other I equipped allowed me to take control of an enemy. I sneaked up to some crates ahead and took control of the first enemy I noticed. I then proceeded to walk him into an electrical fence where he exploded, in a rather gory fashion. Following my first kill I used the teleport skill to cross the barrier before taking an unarmed civilian by the throat and splattering his insides all over the floor. A brief giggle followed, again nearby gamers responded with rather strange looks and pointing. Do people not find slaughtering innocent civilians fun anymore? What’s up with that?
Anyway, I continued through the level a bit, using pretty much the same abilities until mid-way through. This is when I discovered the stop time feature that made the enemies about as threatening as a new born armed with a rattle. I’d freeze time, teleport behind them and slash their throats before they’d even taken a breath. These are just the abilities I had access to at the start. I cannot even start to imagine the creative kills players will be able to come up with after a bit of experience and more abilities. This is definitely a must buy title of 2012.
This was my sleeper hit of day 1. I’ve covered it briefly in a news article before, but this is the first time I got to play the game. It’s setting up to be a free to play, online FPS title that has already proven a massive hit in Korea. In typical online FPS fashion, players can choose a variety of classes and fight against enemy players. We had a good 15 minute round, and I loved every minute.
I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, the game features the same classes as practically every other FPS title with classes, and the map wasn’t all that amazing either. There was just something that felt really polished in regards to the shooting and movement mechanics. There’s also a neat feature that allows 2 members of the same team to climb high structures and reach high windows by activating small cut-scenes.
There was an awful lot of spawn camping which is going to be a big issue unless it’s addressed at launch. I felt bad doing it at first until I was killed 4 times in 30 seconds, but I then got 8 kills in a row simply by throwing grenades and placing claymores into the other teams spawn point. If you’ve played other lobby based online FPS titles, such as War Rock, this is definitely a game you should keep your eye on.
Natural Selection II Preview
If you’ve followed Gamers Heroes at all, you’re probably already aware that I’m quite passionate about Natural Selection II. I’ve already put dozens of hours into the game and we’ve got a full preview up and running. I won’t go into much detail for this one but I will say, check the game out. If it’s something that appeals to you, please support it. Hugh Jeremy was running around like a complete lunatic, explaining the games features and mechanics to every single person that came over.
The dedication and passion demonstrated by the developers and players alike is nothing short of impressive. Gamers are constantly crying out for innovative titles and developers that take risks and Natural Selection II is right here. Don’t let this one pass you by.
Aliens: Colonial Marines Preview
I had to wait in line for about 30 minutes to sample the latest title based on the massive movie franchise, but it was worth every second. Aliens Colonial Marines was a thrill to play, even when against a superior stacked team made up of the guys at SEGA. Despite my awesomely leet FPS skills, I was no match for the over-powered alien race and 12 hour head start the SEGA guys had.
Even still, I couldn’t have had any more fun. None of the Marine team were friends, all randoms that just lined up to play. However, the atmosphere and fear that the game provides automatically placed the Marine’s into a small huddled group exploring the map together. Safety in numbers proved true as we shot Aliens out of the sky with a quick blast of the Shotgun, and halted any mass advance with rapid fire from the Assault Rifle. Sadly this didn’t last.
After a few giggles and taunts, a rather large shadow appeared at the end of the hallway. As soon as this beast entered the light, every Marine basically froze. The rather large shadowy figure was a Queen, and boy was she pissed off. Our other editor was stood at the SEGA side and confirmed the laughter we heard as they slaughtered each and every Marine with a quick charge from the Queen before an onslaught of Aliens pinned us to the floor, throwing our insides all over the hallway. It did feel somewhat unfair as the Aliens have a pounce ability that pins a Marine to the floor and kills them within 2-3 seconds, unless helped by an ally. Combine this with the speed and agility of the Aliens and it takes some real reaction speeds to take them down.
There’s still time for some tweaks and changes but even now, the game is a great multiplayer title. A must buy for fans of the Aliens franchise.
Prison Architect Preview
My indie hit of the day, Prison Architect and it does exactly what it says on the tin. Players are given the responsibility to build and maintain their own high security facility. For an indie I was highly impressed with the UI and streamlined construction approach. Having never played or even looked at the game before, I was building execution chambers and new shower blocks within minutes.
The graphics could be a little better as the inmates and guards are 2D, which retracts from the experience a little bit. It’s not going to bust the simulation genre wide open but if you’re into Sim City, Theme Hospital and other building titles, it’s worth looking into.
Assassin’s Creed III Preview
This ones a bit tricky. Assassins Creed III easily has the potential to pick up GOTY and the videos have already made it clear to many that the single player experience has far surpassed that of the previous titles. But of course, letting us try the single player would be a stupid idea right? Instead we got lumbered with the ship combat demo.
Don’t get me wrong, the ship combat is a great experience, but it doesn’t really feel like the Assassins Creed we’ve all come to love. The graphics were nothing short of outstanding, from the ship damage models to the turbulent waves. The demo is already widely available so this isn’t really big news, but to those that haven’t tried it, the ship combat is not just an added feature. It could quite easily be a game in itself.
God Of War: Ascension Preview
In all honesty, this was the biggest disappointment of my entire first day at the EuroGamer Expo. I was really pumped to see what God of War: Ascension had in store but all that we were offered was a brief experience with a terribly mundane multiplayer. The sixth game in any franchise is going to have to meet a lot of expectations but even more so with such a popular series. I was so pumped for the single player, and to be greeted with a really poor multiplayer was like an uppercut from Mike Tyson.
It was quite fast-paced, to the point where 8 people sat down and got back up next to me during the first round, but even once you got the hang of it, it just didn’t seem that special. It was basically block a normal attack and reply with a heavy attack if your opponent in blocking. That pretty much summed up the combat as the grabs never seemed to work, even when the opponent had their back turned. The objectives involved running around and claiming small objects to place in certain parts of the map, pleasing the god of your side. The only interesting aspect of the battle was the end cut-scene where the winning team take down a huge cyclops. It was exactly what I was hoping to see in a single player experience, but sadly it was all automated.
I’ll check back tomorrow but there was no hint of a single player experience from the developers nearby, and as release is still a ways off, I don’t expect it to be available at all over the weekend. From my short experience, if you’re going to buy God of War: Ascension, do it for the single player after the demo’s are out.