Category Archives: Eurogamer

EGX 2015: Star Wars Battlefront second impressions

Star Wars Battlefront

With a huge booth featuring a massive Tie Fighter, the queues to participate in the massive 20 vs 20 battles were ranging anything from 90 minutes to three hours in length. An introductory video gave some oversight of the collectibles on the battlefield and the controls for vehicles available and after a short wait, we were fired into our first massive, pitched battle. As the Imperial forces on Hoth, we got to experience first hand the sights and sounds that so far we have only seen in the strategically edited Battlefront video from E3 a few months ago.

As you arrive on the battlefield, you can see multiple objectives to capture. Relay points dotted throughout the map are held by Rebel forces and you are tasked with capturing these points and preventing the Rebels calling in fresh support to stop our AT-AT from destroying the shield generator.

Scattered throughout the environment are random pick ups which either grant you access to temporary improved weaponry or to unique and iconic star wars vehicles such as the AT-ST and Tie Fighters. Using these strategically can turn the tide of the battle, and on more than one occasion, helped us push forward to the front of the Rebel’s defences.

Those familiar with Battlefront will instantly click with the simplified load out screen. Once you have selected your armament, whether it be laser rifle, heavy blaster, hand blaster or the iconic E-11 Blaster Rifle, you are then able to pick between one of two gadget rotations. Hopefully this will be somewhat expanded in the full release. These include Anti-vehicle weapons, personal shields, thermal detonators and even jump packs.

What truly made this game stand out as the AAA of choice, for me anyway, was not how it played, but how it sounded. From the familiar whine of blaster fire, to the raucous thump of the AT-AT rounds to the muffled activation of the personal shields, it all just oozed of an honest and respectful homage to the series.

I for one was originally unconvinced given the staged presentation given at E3, but after having turned my hand to the game myself I can say that it looks likely to live up to expectations.

EGX 2015: Need for Speed impressions

Need For Speed

High on my EGX list was the Need For Speed reboot. After 22 varied iterations, I was unconvinced that a reboot could do anything for the series, and at this point I am still slightly unconvinced. Graphically the game looked stunning, but I did not find anything truly new or revolutionary to the gameplay. At the start of the demo we were allowed a few minutes to pick a car and tweak its settings to our liking. Those familiar with NFS Underground will recognise a lot of the configurations, but even those new to the series should be able to pick up and modify their car with ease.

The one thing that stood out at the E3 showing was the new “action” camera. In practice this worked perfectly, with the camera rotating out to an off bumper view as you drift around corners and not once did it feel like the camera hindered your control over the action.

Once out on the city streets, a wealth of races, time trials and sprints popped up allowing you to quickly compete in a variety of events throughout the city and with random police patrols it was not long before I was careening headlong down narrow alleys and pathways in an effort to avoid the inevitable jail time my reckless driving would entail.

Overall, although it does not seem much has changed, it appears to be as fun and exhilarating as any previous incarnation with a framerate that keeps the action flowing. If you like your arcade racers, this should be quite high up your purchase list.

EGX 2015: Mirrors Edge Catalyst impressions

Mirrors Edge Catalyst

With massive queue’s lasting upwards of 3 hours, the 8 berth showing of Mirror’s edge was a thing of beauty. The City of Glass is still the same dystopian society plagued with nondescript white buildings, pastel orange bill boards and red interactable environments, but beneath the rooftops lie the sprawling, dark, myriad of pathways that make up the undercity, which you can now explore. The cyberpunk feel to the entire introduction and technology, which attempts to retrofit an explanation for Faith’s ability to see these parkour markers, is a welcome addition to the game.

The new open world structure to the game reminded me of games like InFamous and Crackdown, and with the collectibles dotted about the area there is a ton of content on show already.

The graphics have been greatly enhanced from the previous title, with amazing lighting, reflection and model fidelity throughout. On the downside, we were limited to a small section of the world for the demo, and being a pre-alpha build it was all running on PC. This is now, without a doubt, high on my radar and if they can manage to get half the graphical functionality to run on the current gen consoles, this could be a very successfully title in the New Year.

EGX 2015: The main floor impressions

egx

After five long years residing at Earls Court in London and following the success of last year’s Rezzed, EGX has transitioned to its new home 100 miles north at the Birmingham NEC. With this move came a new approach, as the larger NEC allowed for a much bigger show to be put on. That said, I must admit to being slightly disappointment with the content on show this year.

A large portion was devoted to games that were already out, have had a large deal of existing coverage or had massive pre-release demo/beta access available. Titles such as Mad Max, Destiny, Darksiders, Elite Dangerous, FIFA, Metal Gear Solid and many more took up more of the stands than the ‘to be released’ or teaser games that we have seen in years past.

So, instead of doing an in-depth of each of the games on show, most of which you probably know a lot about, I will pick a few that impressed me the most and also focus on some of the technology on show, and the huge selection of Indie games that took up a large section of the EGX Show floor.

DQHeroes

New Technology at the show came from both the VR headsets residing at the Sony and HTC booth’s and although I did not get the pleasure of a hands on myself, discussions with those leaving the booths make me very excited about what Occulus can do for our big black box. On the other side of the hall the Leftfield and indie sections had some rather unusual controllers on display.

Mindfork, from Zaubug really made an impression with their “banana” controller. This was not a controller in the shape of a banana… it literally was a banana. Sensor wires were inserted into a banana that had been cut in half, and attaching a simple sensor to your finger allowed the circuit to be completed. Touching the left half of banana turned left, right half turns right. So simple, elegant and utterly bizarre. The Developers even invited us to bring a fruit of choice should banana’s not be our thing.

MINDFORK

This simple game sees you guide a ship around a rapidly altering arena, with the aim of surviving as long as possible. Mindfork was sufficiently addictive in itself, and though they are currently aiming at the mobile market, with a more mainstream version running on an iPad at the stand, the developers have confirmed their intent to release on consoles in the future. If they do, I hope they release a fruit controller special edition.

Next up has to be the most bizarre controller of the show, even more so than the banana controller. Line Wobbler was an Exile Game Jam entry from creator Robin Baumgarten. Using a strip of LED lights, a metal Spring Door Stopper and an accelerometer, Robin has crafted what has to be the most unusual and tactile game I have experienced in a long time. It goes to show that inspiration can strike you anywhere, as the main catalyst for this game was Robin watching the video of a cat twanging a door stopper from the other side of a door that made the viral rounds a year or so ago.

The idea behind the game is exceeding simple. you control the green “player” as he travels from the start of the dungeon, (one end of the strip). to the other. Pushing forward on the modified door stopper moves you up the path and releasing or pulling back returns to the beginning.

Along the way you will encounter enemies (red LED’s), lava (yellow and Orange LEDs) and conveyor belts (white LED’s) which you must overcome to reach the dungeon end. waggling the stopper side to side converts you to attacking mode, so timing your attacks on the enemies is key, and yellow lava is passable where Orange means instant death.

It is unlikely that this will ever make it into our homes, but the developer has confirmed that he is currently looking at an official arcade version and even considering a multiplayer version in the future, so this may be making appearances at future game shows.

Line Wobbler

EGX 2015: Cuphead impressions

What a fantastic title Cuphead is going to be. The stylish 1930s animation inspired platformer is hard as nails, but it’s cutesy animation and humor is irresistible. It’s Itchy and Scratchy meets the original Popeye cartoons. Funny and very heart warming, but don’t let this trick you or take away your attention, because the action will swiftly kick you hard should you not give the game the respect it deserves.

Cupheadscreen

Cuphead has a super smooth frame rate allowing the gorgeous visuals and subtle 30s animation filter to wrap the whole experience in something I wanted to pick up and hug – it’s going to be a huge hit in 2016 and I will be shocked if it doesn’t feature highly on people’s GOTY lists.

EGX 2015: The Division impressions

The Division plays super smoothly, combining third person combat, technology, cooperative gameplay and competitive multiplayer – that’s a lot for Ubisoft to handle and they’ve pooled all their knowledge and skills from their other titles to realise The Division.

Working with two other teammates, you must secure some loot from an NPC faction, with many other roaming factions lurking about the area. Should you engage them, they will attack you, and rather mercilessly too. As you make your way through the somewhat linear game space, it opens onto a plaza where other human teams meet head on – now it’s crunch time – do you engage them or work together to secure the area and escape on the chopper?

It seemed to be a blood bath on every game I watched and on the game we played, yep… I shot first and asked questions later. Signaling the extraction chopped means you must dig down and endure 1:30 minutes of relentless attack from gunfire, grenades and turrets from rival teams and the many NPC factions.

The Division

 

The cover-based combat is intense, and teamwork is the only way to win – there’s no room for lone wolves – that’s a one-way ticket to being dropped and forced to respawn, which makes you lose any loot you were carrying, forcing the whole process of extraction over again, this time with one of the rival human teams attempting to get out.

This was a mere taste of what’s to come when The Division launches in March 2016 and there’s so much more to this ambitious title – I got to experience a small dynamic to the game, which was super solid and nicely polished with graphics and textures looking super sharp.

Just from a small glimpse into the world of The Division, I really like what I’ve seen and played. Even though I have several questions about the gameplay, I’m super excited to play more when the beta kicks off in December.

EGX 2015: Star Wars Battlefront impressions

With limited time at EGX, first on my hit list was Star Wars Battlefront. Sure, there were other games on my list that I was more excited for, but the Star Wars fan in me was screaming to make this my first hit to see if the game could deliver on the Star Wars and Battlefront promises made by DICE.

Introducing our play session was a video deck of Admiral Akbar, and after a short briefing I was running across the surface on Hoth. It’s huge, open and rather intimidating. While there are pointers to objectives, you are left to your own devices, admittedly making me feel a little lost as to where I was going and what our objective was, which was to support an attack on a Rebel base with two AT-ATs in a 20 vs. 20 match.

Battlefront

To merely say that Battlefront looked stunning doesn’t nearly do the game justice enough. It was unbelievable. The draw distance, the textures, and the attention to detail – it was overwhelming – after I had finished playing, I wasn’t quite sure if I had just taken part in the new movie or played a video game. You really feel entwined into the Star Wars universe; you are a grunt struggling to fight for the Empire (or attempting to repel the invasion as the Rebels). The whole experience took me back to my childhood memories of the film and toys I grew up with.

The game played really well, and no it doesn’t play like a reskinned Battlefield! The game lasted for around 20 minutes, although it seemed to be over in the blink of an eye. I need more from the game to give a definite yay or nay, but with a beta about to kick off, I decided to hit up my next game… The Division.