Eurogamer Expo 2009

Eurogamer Expo 2009

Feature

Join Hooked Gamers as we discuss all the great games on show at this year's Eurogamer Expo that took place in London at the Old Billingsgate convention hall on October 30th and 31st. In layman’s terms it functions as a small-scale consumer equivalent of a show like E3.

Forza Motorsport 3 (360) with 3 screen setup – hands on demo
Eurogamer Expo 2009
Although Forza 3 has now been out for a couple of weeks it was clear that Microsoft were keen to keep the market buzzing for the game. What interested us about the game’s display at Eurogamer was the chance to try it out using a 3 screen setup and Xbox 360 racing wheel.

The multi-screen technology may be out of most people’s budget as it requires 3 TVs, 3 copies of the game and 3 system-linked consoles. If you have got the money though, you should definitely invest in this! The front screen is your windscreen with the left and right showing the view from your car’s windows. Its great fun to play and incredibly immersive, but unfortunately the first-party racing wheel was a bit of a let-down. There is a lot of force feedback in the wheel itself, but none at all in the peddles, making it very difficult to judge gear changes and braking.

God of War III (PS3) – hands on demo
The PlayStation 3 definitely had the strongest representation at the expo and this was due in no small part to the monster that is God of War III. On show was a polished up version of the E3 demo from earlier this year. The graphics were truly gorgeous and the violence was as brutal and satisfying as ever.

It is clear from the time we spent playing that there is much more emphasis on fighting the goliath enemies and even platforming than there was in the PS2 titles. Now if only they could tone down the use of QTEs we could all be happy!

Heavy Rain (PS3) – hands off demo
The lines for Heavy Rain prevented us from playing it ourselves, but we spent plenty of time watching the masses persevere with its mix of interactive storytelling and puzzles. Graphically it was one of the best games on display, with truly stunning facial animations.

The controls appeared to be a bit clumsy, using the triggers to control walking directions, which was made more awkward by the fixed camera angles – very reminiscent of the early Resident Evil games. You also had control over individual limbs using the R1 and L1 buttons.

It was hard to get a real sense of the game’s quality in the expo environment, but if the dialogue and mystery is well written then it could turn out to be a very interesting exercise in video game storytelling. At the very least it will certainly add some fuel to the fire of all those “video games are art” arguments!

MAG (PS3) – hands on demo
Eurogamer Expo 2009
One of the games that appeared to be intriguing attendees the most was the 256 player gun-fest, MAG. From the time we spent playing it was very clear that the big inspirations for the game are Modern Warfare and Battlefield. The gameplay felt very much modelled on Battlefield’s match structure of capturing objectives to move further into the map, though on a much larger scale. The shooting also felt very like Modern Warfare with its control scheme of left trigger for sights and right trigger for shoot.

Like most PS3 online titles MAG will live and die by its community. If people are willing to communicate and strategise then if could be great fun. However, on the few likely occasions when the 256 player servers are full it will probably be incredibly chaotic. Couple this with the game’s lack-lustre visuals and a lot of players will be unlikely to put Modern Warfare down to even try this out.