Rabidgames at the Eurogamer Expo 2011

Rabidgames was there and experienced all of your usual expo fun – and expo annoyance, of course.

First of all, Rabidgames did not play each and every game.Partly because Rabidgames is not interested in certain genres and platforms, partly because Rabidgames is not interested in all multiplayer games: Yes, Uncharted 3 looks good, as do Assassin’s Creed Revelations, Old Republic, Battlefield 3 (ok, this game looks simply amazing) and Modern Warfare 3 – but multiplayer is just not appealing to everybody (including yours truly Rabidgames). And there are always some curiosities: Rugby World Cup 2011 is a pretty fast Rugby game where players literally bump INTO each other all the time. It looks really funny. And Beat ’em Up gamers are a breed of their own: They come to an Expo and do nothing but playing their beloved Street Fighter 424677 or Marvel vs Capcom 8th Edition hours upon hours …

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
As mentioned above, it was a multiplayer demo. Manhunt (not related to the infamous game) is a mode that came off pretty weak. First Team A hunts Team B, then  the other way round. Stealth kills give you more points than running around and slaughtering people – fair enough. But it usually is just people running around on killing sprees (just like Brotherhood‘s multiplayer). Fun for 10 minutes, and that’s it for Rabidgames. The graphics are good, though. If you like multiplayer, you might like Revelations‘ multiplayer: it is certainly different from your usual shooter reaction quick test galore …

Batman: Arkham City
Rabidgames had only 10 minutes to play the demo … well,  Arkham City is basicall Arkham Asylum in a bigger environment with more gadgets and more stuff to do and surely looks like fun for Batman and action fans. However, the controls were a bit unresponsive outside of fighting and the grappling hook felt way weaker and slower than the perfect one from Just Cause 2. Unfortunately, Arkham City is not in Rabidgames‘ list of games-to-buy-in-2011 – it only seems good while tons of other games promise excellent entertainment on a higher level …

Dark Souls
It is hard, it is challenging, it is confusing … it just looks like fun. Rabidgames has learnt some things about Dark Souls: Never underestimate two skeletons, never ever underestimate how much your life bar goes down after 2 hits from those skeletons – and never ever, ever fight rats which poison you with some attack so you slowly die afterwards. Is there a cure? Hopefully in the full version … Oh yes, a thing that should change until release: the controls feel a bit clunky – be very, very careful when you run down some stairs if there is a bottomless abyss next to it … Bottom line is – and may be an unpopular one: Except being a tough challenge, Dark Souls is just an average RPG: Graphics are ok, the gameplay is ok … but it is neither extraordinary good nor does it add anything special – except being incredibly challenging, of course.

Mass Effect 3
Oh Bioware, what have you done? The demo level at the EGE played just like a shooter. You have to help Mordin to save a female Krogan (guess who wants to lay hands on her: Wrex of course) and shoot your way through hordes of Cerberus enemies. Rabidgames chose to play as a Sentinel: If you use all your powers and those of your team, it plays out like ME2 – but some other guy who played just before Rabidgames played as a soldier and just shot and meleed his way through the demo. It worked. Hell, he didn’t even level his team up. Add in some grenades, and Mass Effect 3 feels like a shooter even more. Rabidgames does not approve.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2012
The technical issues which were present in the demo are gone – but the goalkeepers are still … basically, let’s face it, they are all abysmal English goalkeepers in fact! Apart from the goalies, PES 2012 is a solid football experience. While the competitor, FIFA 12, plays like a football textbook, PES 2012 is the real thing as you watch it on TV or play yourself out there (do people still do that?).

Behthesda’s shooter looks like a bastard child after a mating experiment between Borderlands and Fallout. Is this a bad thing? Hell no! The driving and the shooting alone are good fun in Rage. But it is tools like a RC car full of explosives or a sentry turret defending your open flank which have the potential to make the game really great. Controls are easy to learn, graphics are great and the sound is awesome – Rage has all the ingredients to be in the Top 10 of 2011.

Saints Row: The Third
Mindless violence is fun. With SR3, it is simply amazing! Whatever you do, be it beating up grannies with dildos, be it annihilating gangs with airstrikes, be it a weird TV show minigame, be it driving a tiger in the passenger seat through the city … it’s all insane fun. Just add even more customisation: You want your character to have not a male, not a female, but a zombie voice? You can do it. You want to run around city as rabbit, a toad or simply butt naked? Feel free to do so. The only drawback are some graphical glitches and some pop-ups which don’t belong in 2011. But those technical issues are quickly forgotten when you start playing SR3. I bet you have probably never seen that many people laughing because of all the insane stuff happening on screens. Rabidgames cannot wait for 18 November … damn you, SR3 for killing my social life for months to come!

If you wanted to play Skyrim at the EGE, there were 2 rules: 1. Be early 2. In Case you did not heed rule no.1 –  Queue forever. But as soon as you start playing, the troubles are forgotten and the fun begins! To make it short, Skyrim is simply amazing. Great graphics, great gameplay, big world – Skyrim simply is a RPGamer’s wet dream come true. The only weird thing is the new menu which has been completely redesigned – but you might get used to it. Otherwise, the landscapes are great and … excuse me? Really? Shit, Rabidgames‘ 20 minutes of playtime are over. And what a long wait until Rabidgames will meet the lands of Skyrim again …

WWE ’12
Yes, this game certainly feels like authentic wrestling. Finally, THQ got it right. It is easily possible to lose a match if you get countered at the wrong time now, but this also means you can win an allegedly hopeless match, too. The matches start with quick strikes and grapples and everybody up on their feet in no time, but after 5 minutes each attack counts and a successful attack gives you time to breathe (or grab a chair). The animations are smooth, the A.I. really deserves the I. now and WWE ’12 is definitely the best THQ wrestling game … and not just cause Rabidgames said so.

Rabidgames also attended some Developer Sessions (basically, one guy from the respective developer team tells you something about the game and shows 10 or 20 minutes of gameplay – oh, and of course you queue longer than most sessions last):

Hitman Absolution is … well, it looks alright, but – if you are told about the freedom of choice – please show what you mean and talk to the audience instead of just running (and bit of gunning) through the demo. The impression from the demo level (Agent 47 is hunted by cops and escapes, killing some pigs and wearing their uniform in the process) really makes you wonder what kind of game Hitman Absolution will become.

Prey 2 … oh boy, this is going to be an awesome game! A new protagonist, new weapons, and, most importantly, a new gameplay: Developer Humand Heads’ Crhis Rhinehart showed off a city on the planet Exodus where Prey 2 will take place, calling the design “Alien Noir”. Plus there’s freedom. Lots of freedom! Killian Samuels, the new protagonist, is a marshal gone bounty hounter. Combine alien city, freedom and human bounty hunter: This means you are in that city and can either just roam (and jump) around looking for easy bounties or citizens in distress or you take missions (one bounty mission was shown where you had to take down an alien mob boss, fighting his crew and chasing that teleporting son of a bitch). If you capture bounties alive, you can choose to interrogate them (interrogating of a Guantanmo kind) which might even kill them – so please be careful. And there’s even more: You will have lots of cool gadgets at your disposal. Prey 2 looks just amazing! Top hit in 2012 to be.

Bioware did not only give us a release date for Star Wars: The Old Republic (22 December in Europe), but trustworthy doctors Ray Muzkya and Greg Zeschuk also told about Bioware‘s origins, its ambitions for the future and so on. While it was sometimes interesting and sometimes confusing (Bioware games are allegedly built on 4 pillars: Action, social and story interaction, exploration and customisation plus some social component on top), seeing those great past games like Baldur’s Gate or Jade Empire makes you really sad when you look at the dumbed down Bioware games of today, the likes of Dragon Age 2 or Gears of Mass Effect 3

Ubisoft chose to let us play some multiplayer demo stuff instead of the fun looking singleplayer demo of Assassin’s Creed Revelations they presented at their Developer Session … why? Anyway, both guys from Ubisoft explained how they built Constantinople with all its different districts and moods. We also learnt Ezio will have assassins serving him again (hooray for standing idly by while my assassin apprentices kill 10 guards).

Rabidgames says: EGE was surely worth spending some time there. Big winners were Saints Row The Third, Skyrim and Rage – and of course Prey 2 (even if it was not playable)! On the other hand, Mass Effect 3 lost some of its appeal for trying to hard to be a member of the shooting clique. See you next year, EGE!

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