A look back at Eurogamer Expo 2011
This years Eurogamer Expo finished on Sunday and now that I have recovered I want to share my experiences from the show, along with some thoughts from fellow staff members Bradley and Josh.
Bradley and I attended last years Eurogamer Expo and had a great time. It was in the smaller hall which did get congested on the busier days, both in terms of moving around and waiting to play games. This year, the expo moved to the main hall which was much more spacious and more importantly better laid out and organized. We love to queue in UK and for the most part the queues were fairly short. This year the expo felt more like a games show than the previous year, the atmosphere was spot on with developers and staff on hand to answer questions. Of course, the always sexy booth babes were there handing out swag.
Battlefield 3 was our first port of call. We got there first thing on Thursday so they were still setting up the multiplayer games, it gave us a chance to play the single player mode on the PC. It was as good as we expected, amazing graphics and good gameplay. We came back later in the day to play the multiplayer mode on the Xbox 360. I won’t go in to too much detail as you can freely play the open beta to see for yourself. Apart from some visual glitches the game appears to run very well and we immediately felt at home – and we play Bad Company 2 a lot!
Next up we had a chance to try out the OnLive service which has been steadily growing in popularity. I have been following OnLive since it was first announced some time back. I have a US account so have been able to try the service before it was launched in UK at the Expo. The OnLive stand was popular throughout the expo, I think mainly because free OnLive consoles were being handed out but I hope also because OnLive is a very interesting service. We will have a full review of Onlive and the console soon, I do recommend you try the PC client as it is much the same experience as on the console. If you are in UK you can purchase your first game for £1, you can’t even buy a burger for that now!
Of course, we couldn’t leave the show without checking out Halo Anniversary. That felt like slipping in to an old pair of shoes. The graphics looked the same as previous games, the controls and gameplay felt the same. My feelings are games have moved on both graphically and technically and it all felt a little dated, no doubt Halo fans will lap it up but this game was not for me.
RAGE has been on my radar since it was first announced and getting my hands on the demo did not disappoint. A number of levels were available to play, from an exploration level to gun fights and even a vehicle combat section. The gunfights were what I most interested in so I chose that. Graphically the game looks great, with plenty of scenery to take cover behind or if you prefer to go guns blazing you can do so. You probably wont last long doing the latter as I quickly found out, but I least I got to try the character revival mini game in which you must match a sequence of directional joystick presses and then stop a moving bar in the correct position. Successfully completing the sequence will revive your character, failing means game over. Using the blades is great fun, throwing them in an enemy’s direction will usually hit the target with satisfying decapitation and limb losses. The game is exactly what I wanted so I will be buying when it is out next week.
I have to say I have fallen out of love with the Call of Duty series over the past couple of years, like Halo it has started to feel dated. I spent some time on the new Modern Warfare 3 Spec Ops mode playing Co-op with my friend John. Enemies come in waves and you must destroy them to continue. We played through 11 rounds before we were asked to move on, it was just as we were both getting in to the game so that was a little disappointing. The waves feature different enemies, from regular soldiers, dogs and helicopters. Killing or destroying them earns you cash which can be spent on purchasing new weapons and equipment, through to buying a squad of special forces soldiers to help you in the next wave. Decent enough fun, but probably not enough to make me buy the game.
The Replay Retro (replayexpo.com)area was one of my favourite areas of the show. Just about every retro computer and console, from BBC Micro and Commodore to PS2 and Dreamcast were on show and visitors were welcome to play. One of my all time favourite party games ‘Mashed’, was available to play in four player greatness. It is still as fun as ever and first time player of the game, John, loved it! A sequel of sorts called Wrecked Revenge Revisited (wearewrecked.com) is out soon on XBLA and PSN and we can’t wait to get our hands on that!
The Indie Arcade was a cozy experience and perhaps the only letdown of the show due to the area being enclosed in a walled area with a ceiling. Despite there being plenty of space surrounding the area, everything was enclosed in a cramped and sweaty ‘corridor’. On show were various indie developed games including one that has been on my radar Xenonaughts. I am a massive X-Com fan and Xenonauts follows the game very closely with some improvements in the right places. The game is looking great and anyone with even a slight interest in turn based strategy games should check it out now at xenonauts.com.
The above games were the highlights of the show for me. Other games I played included Ghost Recon Future Soldier which looked very slick, much the same for Forza 4. I am big fans of both series and they both did not disappoint. Skyrim was another big game, while I did not play the game myself I did watch others play it and the game looks amazing. Fans of the series won’t need to play the demo to know that so get your preorders in as there is nothing to worry about!
Eurogamer Expo 2011 was a great show, apart from the bad choice of the Indie Arcade ‘corridor’ everything else was perfect. Thank you to all the Eurogamer staff and volunteers for putting on a great show, and everyone that we met over the couple of days we were there. We can’t wait to see you all again next year!