UK Dtoider in the Midlands, I spend too much time ignoring Steamtoid, and used to spend too little time "organizing" EUFNF on the forums and c-blogs. I have a good enough gaming PC, an Xbox 360 (MATTE SLIM MOTHERFUCKERRRRR) and a DSi. Sometimes I play games on them.
Eurogamer is getting bigger and better. Whereas last year it occupied the Brompton Hall area of the Earl's Court complex, this year it had the considerably larger area of Earl's Court 1 and a whole host of premier games and exclusives to fill it. I've written this piece to recap what I did on the show floor and to highlight how much better your Eurogamer weekend can be when combined with Destructoid's UK community!
I attended the Eurogamer Expo on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday this year, and each day started the same way; Upon arrival I was hit with the realisation that I had no particular interest in any games, no plans of what to play and no future purchasing decisions depending any of it. This, if anything, gave me amazing freedom since it caused me to spend most of my time just wondering around until something caught my eye, enjoying the atmosphere, occasionally running into a friendly face and exchanging experiences. The first area to interest me was the retro games zone, where I assume almost every gaming platform to date could be found running a classic game. Not being particularly old school (and not being able to find an Xbox running Halo CE) this zone didn't stir nostalgic sentiment within me, but it did look fantastic and I love seeing these areas at events and this one was particularly more hands-on than the retro showcase at Gamescom this year.
Over in the 18+ area, the queuing for and playing of Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 dominated at opposite ends. Since I don't understand wasting time for a game that came out in 2007 and a game with a public beta out within a week, I was very happy to have all those silly people out of my way. I picked up a controller to play a co-op game of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North partially out of sympathy for the guy already playing it by himself, and found we were facing enemies vastly more powerful than I was used to in video game adaptions of the fiction, even for a mighty Dwarf such as myself. My Elvish friend and I were overwhelmed by big bastarding Uruks, and I left it at that. I found a 5v5 game of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier set up and elected to throw down with some randoms. Having spent the whole game sat in cover on a bridge near where our team spawned and doing nothing but pepper enemy craniums with bullets, I couldn't help but feel I missed the point of the game, even if I came out on top of the winning team.
There were several big hitters out on display, not least of all there was Skyrim. I have conflicting feelings for this game because although it is going to be fantastic I don't feel I'd enjoy it for the same reasons I enjoyed Oblivion (I liked breaking it). The people playing the game were out in the open so one could easily watch others playing it, it looks very pretty but I didn't see any dragons. Another game I didn't queue for just to play, but that I am sure I want to put inside me is Batman: Arkham City which after some cancellations also was showcased in a few developer sessions over the course of the Expo and I was lucky enough to be in one of them! The delightfully wacky Sarah Wellock took to the stage and talked the crowd through a playthrough of the showfloor demo (operated by a mostly capable test lead) and then gave an exclusive first look at some of the Riddler's new tricks and traps. This game is looking brilliant, the city itself which you'll be traversing as Batman is large, complex and jaw dropping (in the sense that my jaw dropped like so many chumps who felt the pugilistic rage of Batman during the session). And talking of Bat-justice, we were promised the chance to beat the shit out of the Riddler at some point in the game, so that'll be nice. They ended on showing off some challenge maps, using Batman and then Catwoman for a combat challenge and then a Predator challenge for Batman before having two audience members compete for a prize. The combat has been shifted up a fair bit with new moves (double takedowns, this is like Assassins Creed II all over again) and looks as great as ever.
It's worth saying that I played Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, despite my complete disliking of the series, just to get swag. I came away with two large t-shirts and two codes for the PC beta and shall be trying my best to get rid of them.
Do you know what is fantastic? Shut up, I'll tell you. It's watching Jurassic Park on the biggest cinema screen in the UK, which is what many members of Dtoid UK were doing on Friday night thanks to NikMonroe's addiction to cinema and just generally being awesome. And writing of awesome, on the Saturday night we were on the guest list for a party hosted by StickTwiddlers to celebrate and contribute towards the efforts of the charity SpecialEffect. The party was a great success and it was said that about one in every ten people there was a Dtoider, so at least ten percent of the people there were awesome yet I'd wager that most people there were. These two events aside, there was plenty of pubbing and general tomfoolery all weekend, as well as eating in excellent establishments and drinking delicious coctails.
I won't lie, I wouldn't go to Eurogamer just for the show alone. The community presence there is strong in numbers and in affection, and thoroughly welcoming towards everybody. I would strongly encourage any British Dtoider to get involved and Eurogamer is the perfect time to do it, my first experience with the community was at last year's expo where I also convinced Beccy (Panchromatic) to get involved (and oh boy is she getting involved!) and with her came Adam (DeathByLumber) and I can't imagine how dull life would be if they hadn't. Walking around the expo this year in a Dtoid tee was C-blogger Discarded Couch Sandwich, and I hope he appreciated the benefits of wearing such amiably recognisable apparel.
Returning to the games, I almost missed it but I eventually found Starhawk, much to my delight. I was a big fan of Warhawk and eager to see how the sequel is matching up to my expectations. I found it disconcerting that they chose to show off a single-player demo when the previous game was exclusively multiplayer action, but even more unsettling to me was the lack of weapon variety both on foot and during the small amount of time spent in an actual Starhawk. As much as I liked the feel of the old game, this demo did feel good. The sniper rifle gave a lovely HEADSHOT celebration when appropriate, the shotguns packed a punch and the building creation mechanism worked well even if I didn't understand why I was doing it (the subtitles were not working, lolalphabuilds). The almost cartoon-like graphics of Warhawk seemed to have been lost in this demo under a thick coat of brown realism. The Starhawks handled well enough, but I found the weapons difficult initially, as I had hoped for it to be like playing the previous game.
The Indie games arcade present at the show was busy when I wondered through, but I managed to get some time on two of the games in there. Blocks That Matter is a game combining platforming and puzzle gaming based around your ability as Tetrobot to destroy and place 4 blocks at one time, with different blocks you can place having different properties. The rules for placement and acquisition of blocks result in an intriguing, challenging experience and the game is available to demo and purchase on Steam now. I also had a try at playing Molecat Twist, which I found considerably more difficult. A puzzle game not too dissimilar from Lemmings, the blocks of the game world can be rotated by your direct actions and indirect actions via the molecats that you're (hopefully) directing. I felt that the attention and thought I'd need to give the game to even complete the level was a little too much for the time and place, and fled the terminal rather quickly.
Having seen the Mega64 advert for it, I was delighted to find Rise of Nightmares playable with a very small crowd around it. The control mechanisms were briefly explained to me and I found it easy to jump into. Movement is controller using the right leg (forwards or backwards depending on your desired direction of travel) and shoulders (they turn, and you turn). Raising both hands puts you into a fighting stance where both can be used to attack enemies (whom you automatically lock onto) along with kicks. The left hand by itself can be used to interact with items such as picking up weapons for fighting the undead enemies and opening doors. The right hand can be held in the air to automatically move towards your current objective without achieving tasks for you. The only problem I experienced was being unsure where to stand and having the console complain at me occasionally, but that was just my fault for being too poor for Kinect.
I also got to play on a single player level of The Adventures of Tintin: The Game, despite being a movie tie-in I enjoyed the level. There were three co-op levels and two single player levels available to play, it looked amicably like the film and had fun and easy platforming action. Probably a great game for kids, personally I look forward to the film more even if only for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost playing Thompson and Thompson.
We had our group photo taken on a fucking Tank. See y'all same time next year. <3