TGR@EGX – Our Eurogamer Expo Roundup

this was the best yet…

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That’s another year of Eurogamer done for me, but after going the last four years – I thought this was the best yet. A bigger floor space (I think?), certainly more spaced out helped it feel bigger. More screens for the bigger games reducing wait times as much as possible although there were still some long queues and long demos. Final Fantasy 15 for example was a 30 minute demo, but with 40 playable machines.

Anyway, here is a summary of what I was able to sample which may help inform your seasonal buying habits or give you a little taste of what to expect. I’ll start with Playstation VR as it was my most anticipated and probably deserves a bit more commentary…

Playstation VR (https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/explore/playstation-vr/): I really liked PS VR. The headset is light and comfortable with an adjustable ‘strap’ which goes around the top of your head and the viewfinder section sitting in front of your eyes. It felt a bit like that classic cartoon skit with the stick and the carrot dangling in front which you can never reach. It did feel a bit like it was about to fall off my nose, but of course it wasn’t resting on my nose – so couldn’t fall  off!

There’s a button to move the screen closer/further from your eyes to help focus. I didn’t really play much with this but did have a little bit of light coming from below (where my nose is) which wasn’t great. I soon ignored this though anyway and will be less of an issue at home I think but towards the end I adjusted it further to remove this.

From the outset it looks a bit weird with the lights but you can’t see this when you’re ‘in’ it anyway. On the game I played it was clearer where I was looking (at the centre of the screen) with the outsides blurrier. This is a bit like ‘real life vision’ where your periphery blurs. The difference being that as you move your eyes to focus, in VR you need to move your headset. This is deliberate for PS VR as the pixel density is greater in the middle of the screen. It’s not what I was expecting but made sense once I was using it.

The real worry for me was eye strain and sickness. My eyes felt fine – I don’t wear glasses so can’t comment on comfort and I only played for 15 minutes so can’t really comment on eye strain but I felt neither strained or sick afterwards which was good. In fact the only slightly weird bit was at the end when the headphones came off, the lady took the controller and I looked down at my virtual hands and had a moment of panic when I moved my real hands but my virtual ones didn’t! I’ll take this as a sign of good immersion!

 

RIGs (Playstation VR) (https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/games/rigs-mechanized-combat-league-ps4/): RIGs was the game I elected to play as I wanted to try something that was mostly a game rather than a tech demo. A fast paced FPS would surely test VR, and I’m pleased to say I really enjoyed it. It’s a fast paced mech shooting/sports game – if you kill a few opponents in a deathmatch, you become ‘overcharged’ and need to jump through a ring to score a point. I liked the game, time will tell how much depth is there though.

It starts as you get into a mech and it’s amazing how you’re in a workshop with other pilots walking around and you’re hoisted into it. As you enter a giant arena I was looking all around at the scale of it – it felt incredible. The controls are simple, left stick moves  forward/side/back and you aim by looking at your opponents. This felt strange at first but very quickly felt really natural – your head is basically the classic FPS right stick (it’s how you look/aim to shoot in every FPS!). Quickly I’d be running, looking around – if anything it gives you more control and freedom than other first person shooters. I came away impressed and excited at the prospect of playing more.

 

Gran Turismo Sport (http://www.gran-turismo.com/gb/products/gtsport/): GT Sport was set up with a racing rig and force feedback wheel. It felt great to play, a good sense of speed and looked really nice, very smooth. Sadly still no damage but the AI did at least move about a bit more than the classic on-rails Gran Turismo but I’m not convinced it’s still that dynamic. The racing was great however which is what counts.

 

WWE 2K17 (https://wwe.2k.com/#): This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I’m a fan so had to play it. It looked great, felt smooth, the new characters seem to have more unique moves captured to their behaviours and they’ve fixed one of the most annoying bugs from the previous title (the option to choose who you are actually targeting).

 

Brawlout (http://www.brawlout.com): Skeptical about this one, it’s basically Super Smash Bros without Nintendo characters. There’s no shame about it either and they’re taking it to the Smash Bros tournaments to show it off so must be fairly confident about it. So they should – it was really good. It felt tight, simple, with some good moves and great characters – all are animals. I played a gorilla called Olaf Tyson who has freezing powers. Was good fun, had a few good games with it – be interesting to see what else is in the game as Smash Bros has a lot of items (way too many of late in my opinion) whereas Brawlout at the show had none – and was better for it.

 

Gang Beasts (http://gangbeasts.game): Gang Beasts is a multiplayer party fighting game. You stagger around as a colour character and use momentum to try and throw your opponents off buildings, into fires etc. It’s comedic; controls are punch, kick, grab, headbut. There was a lot of excitement around this but honestly I felt it a little too random for my taste and it could do with some tightening up. Probably one more for when you’ve had a few drinks.

 

Mantis Burn Racing (http://www.voofoostudios.com/game/mantis-burn-racing/): Another one I was looking forward to, Mantis Burn Racing is a top down racer. It’s due out in a few weeks and runs at a super smooth 60fps and 1080p. There are no weapons (which is good) and already plans for free post DLC content (expected price for the game will be £12-£15). Handling was really good, fast and smooth with shortcuts available on tracks. Particle effect were also very nice with dust and mud being thrown up. Mantis Burn Racing is also supporting PS Pro running at native 4K with a full 60 frames a second. A large single player with RPG elements is also included – excited for this one.

 

Hitman (https://hitman.com/en-us): Already out in episode form so not much new to say about this other than it’s a great game and you should get it.

 

Beasts of Balance (https://beastsofbalance.com): Intrigued by this, Beasts of Balance is a physical stacking game. You take a beast and touch the base to ‘connect’ it and place it on a stand. The beast then appears on your tablet screen with a score. Over time the score diminishes so you’ll need to buff that beast and stack others to increase your score – or create hybrid or evolutions of them to keep the score going up. I really liked the physical stacking element, the link to the digital game and the possibilities of combinations. Lots of people can play this so a good solo or social game. The pieces themselves are really nicely made, they look fantastic too. I was so impressed I ordered it at the show.

 

Super Arcade Football (http://superarcadefootball.com): Spiritual success to Sensible Soccer, it’s a top down fast paced football game. Simple controls for move, kick, shoot and tackle it was good fun.

 

The Krucer Parallax (http://thekrucerparallax.com): The Krucer Parallax is a space shooting game but where you control five ships at once. I struggled a bit with the joystick and throttle controls (user error rather than game) and looked like a fun game if you’re into those sorts of things.

 

Unbox (http://www.unboxgame.com): You play as a box. Bit weird but kind of cool as you roll about a big level. Think similar to Mario 64 in terms of levels but they’ve really packed in lots to do, with exploration, a big single player and Mario Kart style racing for multiplayer (as well as lots of other mini-games).

 

Zone 100 (http://www.zone100game.com): Actually a studio side project, you control a ship with simple controls – boost, slow and turn. The turning is actually the level rotating around a cylinder – that level populated with lots of objects you need to avoid. If you die, you restart at the last zone of which there are 100. And it gets faster. Much faster. Lots of colour, serious concentration and some score attack competitiveness at the show made for quite an attraction. Really good little game.

 

That was all the playtime I had at the show but got to take a look at a fair few other games. Impressions are obviously limited but from what I could see, here at my thoughts:

 

CoD 4 Remastered (https://www.callofduty.com/uk/en/infinitewarfare/buy): Huge queue, lots of fan interest. Looked very smooth but I’ve played this an awful lot a few years ago. Do I need to play it again? Lots of others definitely want to.

 

Dragon Quest Builders (http://dragonquest-game.com/builders/us/): Minecraft in the Dragon Quest universe. Looks cute actually and appears to have more RPG/combat elements than Minecraft.

 

Motorsport Manager (http://www.motorsportmanager.com): Love the iOS game, it’s a serious motorsport management simulation. Looked nice, also looked quite involved. I think this will be a big hit.

 

Sonic Mania (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxmtYdEWVzo): Sonic, back to his roots. Lots of interest in this one, nice to see the old Sonic sprites. Not sure how much I really want to go and play some classic Sonic but some of that is probably years of bad taste of rubbish Sonic games. Hope this is good (certainly sounded positive).

 

Killing Floor 2 (http://www.killingfloor2.com): Manic FPS action, looked bloody. Seems to be a big hit on PC and was running nicely on a PS4.

 

Aragami (http://aragami-game.com): Out fairly soon, looks like a cross between Tenchu and Mark of the Ninja. Cell shaded stealth action, bit sad I didn’t get time to play on this one but it looked great.

 

Battlezone (http://www.rebellion.co.uk/games/battlezone): Virtual reality Battlezone, heard a lot of positive feedback on this. Looked very cool.

 

Black and White Bushido (https://www.goodcatchgames.com/game/black-white-bushido/): Looks a bit like Nidhogg where you fight someone else on a 2D arena, however the white ninja gets completely hidden in plain side on white sections, vice versa for the black one.

 

Brutal (https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/brutal-ps4/): A dungeon crawler on PS4 made up of a character set. Very stylised, wish I had play this. It’s on the store now.

 

Super Dungeon Bros (http://www.superdungeonbros.com): Looks like a cutesy but serious co-op dungeon crawler. Another one I wish I played.

 

Yooka Laylee (http://www.playtonicgames.com/games/yooka-laylee/): This really looked good. A hark back to classic 3D collect ’em up platformers, imagine a high def Banjo Kazooie and you’ve got it. Judging by the size of the queue this is going to be a massive hit.

 

Gas Guzzlers Extreme (http://store.steampowered.com/app/243800/): Car combat game, looked nice but hard to get a real read on car combat without playing.

 

Flight of Light (http://www.crystallinegreen.com/flightoflight/): Colour coded rhythm based racer. Looked interesting.

 

Drive Drive Drive (http://drive-drive-drive.com): Arcade driving where you race three tracks at once, switching between them to take over from rubbish AI to try to win them all. Neat idea.

 

Nature’s Zombie Apocalypse (http://aniode.com): Looked like a twin stick survival game where you choose an animal and give it a gun to fight zombies. Looked ok, not sure I’m keen on giving a lion an AK47 – perhaps the real weapons should be replaced by something a bit more ‘fun’?

 

Overcooked (http://www.ghosttowngames.com/overcooked/): Wish I’d played this, work together to run a kitchen. Big queue, loads of laughs coming from this.

 

Snake Pass (http://www.sumo-digital.com/snakepass/#http://www.sumo-digital.com/snakepass/%23): Looks like a 3D arena puzzle platform game where you control a snack winding around things to get to collectables. Looked really nice, had bright and colourful graphics.

 

Horizon Zero Dawn (https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/games/horizon-zero-dawn-ps4/): Heard lots of people talking about this one but sadly was by pre-booking only. Big queues and all behind closed doors.

 

Political Animals (http://www.politicalanimalsgame.com): Didn’t see this at the show but got a leaflet for it so not sure how I missed it. A political election simulator starring animals. Doesn’t sound hugely different from the upcoming US election but interesting concept.

 

That was it, that’s all I saw – some really good stuff coming out, a lot on early access (Steam) already with a vast amount also aiming for console release (and a lot this year). I’m particularly excited about my Beasts of Balance game turning up in October and Aragami / Mantis Burn Racing both out in a few weeks. I think I’ll also keep my PS VR preorder…

 
 

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