The third part of our Eurogamer Expo round up covers Rock Band 3, SOCOM, Crysis 2 on PC, Little Big Planet 2, Gears of War 3, Motorstorm Apocalypse, The Fight, Saw 2, Kirby: Epic Yarn.
Rock Band 3
The Rock Band 3 area was a popular attraction with occasional sing alongs from the surrounding crowd. On show was the new keyboard peripheral and the midi guitar which are both new features in Rock Band 3. The keyboard naturally caught people off guard as many were playing for the first time, it lead to quite a few dud notes during performances. The keyboard makes for an interesting add on and allows for songs that feature piano instruments to be more prominent. I spent a bit of time watching the new midi guitar and I never quite understood how it works as I have never played a real guitar. The range of songs are quite good and although Bohemian Rhapsody was apparently banned from being played (everyone wanted to play it) we heard quite a few different genres of songs such as Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright (see video below) through to Rammstein’s Du Hast.
Matthews impressions of the game:
I’ve always been more of a Guitar Hero than a Rock Band person, but the next instalment of Rock Band certainly has a lot to offer and has the potential to pull me over to the other side. With plenty of brand new features such as pro-guitar, keyboards and vocal harmonies there is a lot more change to the interactivity of the game than with Guitar Hero’s new versions. It will definitely contribute to the clutter of our living rooms and emptying our bank accounts though! I volunteered my lead guitar skills and was grouped with my brand new band of strangers. When it was finally our turn we were denied the chance to play Bohemian Rhapsody. I wasn’t best pleased with the second choice song we got but I plodded through the song and enjoyed the experience anyway. I would have liked to try out the keyboards and pro-guitar but I was a bit intimidated by the potential difficulty and the surrounding crowd. The new pro modes will offer an excellent opportunity for more experienced musicians or those looking into taking up playing real instruments. I’ll have to wait and see if I end up splashing out for all the hardware required, however.
The video below shows Matt on the main guitar on the left with some other random people from the show.
SOCOM (Move Controller)
Our next port of call was the Sony Move area which showed a number of Move designed or compatible games. I had not tried Move before so like Kinect I was interested to see how well it worked. SOCOM was my first game of choice, it uses the navigation controller to move and the motion controller to aim your guns sights. The buttons were at first a little tricky as I had to keep looking at the controllers to what button was what but you soon get the hang of it. The precision for the motion controller to aim the guns sights was fairly good, close to medium range works well, though further distance required more accuracy and was trickier to get perfect. One thing I did notice was that you can play the game a lot closer to the screen than Kinect, this could be decision maker for those with limited space. The video below contains some gameplay from SOCOM and in the background you can also watch footage of The Fight.
Crysis 2 on PC (Matthews impressions)
While Crysis 2 on 360 was showing off networked multiplayer, in the corner with Nvidia there were some high end PCs pumping out visuals which put the console ports to shame. The single player demo of Crysis 2 took place in New York City under siege from a group of pissed off aliens. The graphics certainly impressed me although the game did drop frames fairly regularly. The gameplay seems to be slightly changed from the original Crysis as it didn’t involve changing between nano suit operation modes but still offered a range of abilities. The level wasn’t completely linear but was a lot less open than the sprawling levels in the original Crysis. I enjoyed the game but it didn’t really stand out as anything special other than how good the game looks.
Little Big Planet 2
Little Big Planet 2 was playable at the show with random levels to jump in and play on. It felt much the same as the original so there was nothing much to comment on. Below is a short clip of a co-op two player game.
Gears of War 3 (Matthews impressions)
Gears of War 3 is the next hugely anticipated game in the Gears of War series which has unfortunately just been put back. After a short queue I got to try out the brand new Beast mode. In this mode you get to play as the locust and fight the COG. It is basically hoard mode, but in reverse. In the demo I got to play as only a few of the available creatures. The first thing I tried was the Ticker where you guide one of these explosive critters towards humans and attempt to blow them up along with yourself. It can be tricky if they roll out of the way but when you manage to hit it’s very satisfying. The next thing I tried out was the grenadier. You play as a regular locust armed with a shotgun and a grenade. It plays basically the same as the standard Gears formula. Also available to play as was the Kantus. These are bigger and more powerful than the usual locust but you don’t get the chance to get into cover and can only roll. Their gun is quite effective at taking out COGs and the stranded. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try out the butcher or the wretches as they weren’t unlocked on the demo unit I was playing on. They did look very fun to play as, however. Forgoing any ranged weapons and trying to pummel the humans seemed very enjoyable. Unfortunately we was not allow to record footage of the game.
Motorstorm Apocalypse (Matthews impressions)
Motorstorm Apocalypse looks like it’s taking the Motorstorm series in a new direction with a focus on driving through dramatic environments which quite literally fall to pieces around you. I got to play this game in 3D and it had a good feeling of depth as you raced through streets while tower blocks crumbled beside you. I enjoyed the frantic feeling of zooming through the city whole avoiding the danger than the environment provided. This was only a very early build but it’s shaping up to be a very fun game.
The Fight with Move (Matthews impressions)
The Fight was my first experience with Sony’s new motion based input system. While at first I was very wary of the rather Wii like controller and its low tech method of motion tracking my mind was changed about the system. The Fight uses 2 motion controllers in tandem to track each fist. Before playing the game, a short calibration was required by stretching out your arms and then holding your hands together against your chest. During the wait for the game I saw nearly everyone else get beaten by the AI opponent so I was preparing to try and kick some arse. The game didn’t seem to use perfect 1:1 recreation of the movement but still seemed to offer a variety of possible moves. I played a much more aggressive game than some other people and didn’t spend too much time defending as I didn’t risk a real blow to the face 🙂 It paid off as I earned a victory against the virtual thug. It was very enjoyable to play and I felt like I had achieved something through my triumph. I do question how much variety the final game could offer though.
Saw 2 (Matthews impressions)
Right in the 18+ zone lies the 2nd game based on the immensely gory Saw series. While I didn’t play the game personally, I watched the demo intently as my friend fought through the game’s challenges. One of the earliest things you have to do in the demo is button bash your way through cutting out stitches to access a key hidden under your eye. The squishing and cutting sound of the scalpel tearing open the wound is one of the most horrific sounds I have ever experienced but this shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans of the series. The next challenge involved re-arranging a circular puzzle to match the symbol engraved onto the character’s chest. The puzzle was similar to the puzzles in Assassin’s Creed 2 which are triggered by finding the glyphs. The game involves a lot of references to the film series and has voice acting provided by Tobin Bell himself. The game could be enjoyable for those who have the stomach for it.
Kirby: Epic Yarn (Matthews impressions)
Another game which I watched but didn’t get the chance to play myself was the interesting new addition to the Kirby series. While at first it might seem like flagrant misuse of the term “epic” it does certainly look like epic fun. The game has a cutesy style with the art based on canvas, string, buttons and other craft materials. The game’s world has a surprising life and vibrancy to it. The players can go behind the canvas in the world just leaving a bulge as they move around. Buttons can be ripped out to open up the level which can also be torn and fold up. At the end of the level is a boss battle with a dragon which has a button on its tongue which needs to be pulled on to damage it. The button bounces back on its elastic tongue and smashes the dragon in the face. Once the Dragon has been dealt enough damage it just falls to pieces and the level is over. This is definitely a game which would tempt me towards buying a Wii.0