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Eurogamer Expo

Eurogamer Expo: Booth Babes "Not OK" For 2013

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Booth Babes, Busting stereotypes, EGX, Eurogamer Expo, Sexism

Eurogamer Expo: Booth Babes "Not OK" For 2013

Ah, booth babes, the marketing throwback to the stereotype of the masturbating basement-dwelling pimply adolescent gamer that just won't go away. Well, until now.

Eurogamer MD Rupert Loman has announced that from next year, Eurogamer Expo will be implementing stronger formal rules and regulations restricting exhibitors from showering their stands in scantily clad women.

Click here to read more...

London Games Festival On Hiatus Until 2012

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Eurogamer Expo, London Games Festival

Key Events Not Affected

The London Games Festival, the organised collection of summer gaming events designed to "unite the UK games scene," will apparently not be running this year. No reason has been given for the hiatus, but UKIE reportedly plan to focus on making 2012's festival a massive success as it will run alongside the Olympics.

We really want to make London Games Festival 2012 a great destination for interactive entertainment and create a diverse group of events, we're looking to invest more into this event to create content that will encompass skills, entertainment, consumer focus, development, government, accessibility and tech events which will be launched/incubated by UKIE and TIGA. - LGF director Kirsty Payne

Most of the key events that fall under the LGF umbrella will still run unhindered, however, including the Eurogamer Expo and Intent Media's London Games Conference. [GI.biz]

RAGE Preview: Tim Willits Interview

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Eurogamer Expo, FPS games, Games previews, id Software, Interviews, John Carmack, RAGE, Tim Willits

rage_logo_from_video
Chances are that if you like shooting things in the face, you've played a game Tim Willits has been involved in. Now the creative director of id Software, Tim's been busy along with team preparing the studio's first brand new IP in a while: RAGE. We caught up with Tim to ask him a few questions about uncomfortable apocalyptic comparisons, the iPhone and how best to decapitate someone with a spiky boomerang...

Matt Gardner: You’ve already spoken a little bit about id Tech 5 and the desire from within the studio to craft a new IP, but why an apocalyptic shooter? In essence, why RAGE?

Tim Willits: Well, when we came up with the idea for RAGE it was actually before everything else was apocalyptic...that’s what comes of working on a game for too long. When John [Carmack] was finalising the MegaTexture technology we really saw the potential to create much larger outdoor areas that had a unique, hand-crafted look and feel to them, and we wanted to make a game that incorporated them. It was really just a natural progression after that. If we wanted to have cars, we needed to have muscle cars because that was the coolest thing to do, and we had to have machine cars on the muscle cars, so our choices for settings gradually became narrower and narrower. And you know we like to have sci-fi weapons like the BFG, so if we wanted these sci-fi elements and muscle cars and machine guns there was really only one thing we could do. Yeah, we could have put it on an alien planet, but that’s more work than it’s worth.

tim

There’s an asteroid called Apophis, it’s a real asteroid, in space and heading towards Earth. It’ll pass by in around 2036, and we just kind of said ‘Let’s do that!’ and so RAGE actually starts after Apophis has hit the Earth [important citizens having stowed away in cryogenic stasis in Arks so that humanity might rebuild]. Now I’ve heard this asteroid is not going to hit us, but we figured it might be kind of cool to take something realistic and put a fun little spin on it. So the game takes place 70+ years after Apophis hits. That was the basic background for the setting. When it came to destroying the Earth we were like ‘Oh we’ll use an asteroid...there’s one coming anyway!’

MG: Where did the name come from?

TW: (Laughs) Well coming up with a name is much more difficult than coming up with a game! It was available, which was lucky, and we found it just had all of these connotations. So there’s ‘rage against the machine’, you know, rage against the Authority in the game, ‘rage’ is found in the word ‘garage’, there’s ‘road rage’...actually, of all of the titles that we’ve had for games, it probably fits the best.

Jon Lester: We love the word ‘MegaTexture’and it’s come up a couple of times, but it’s also quite a scary word if you’ve not come across it before. Could you briefly tell us a little bit about what it involves, what opportunities and also what challenges this new technology has led to?

TW: Well, we call it ‘MegaTexture’, but it’s actually the ‘virtual texturing system’...though it’s easier to just say ‘MegaTexture’...

rage_gc09_screenshot_3.jpg_626

JL: It’s also cooler...

TW: (Laughs) Oh, it’s definitely cooler! What we do is we construct the whole world using more or less traditional techniques, we can custom make set pieces, and then once the world background has been created the real magic comes from the stamping. So we have this whole palette of interesting things – from cracks to rusty spots, water effects etc. – and the guys can go in and stamp and just give the whole thing a distinct and unique look and feel that then gets merged into the other textures before being flattened out into one big texture [which needs far less RAM]. Basically, the artists can continue stamping until the day before we ship because there’s no performance hit, and it just adds a unique characteristic and personality to the game.

Click here to read the rest of our interview with Tim...

Swimming Under Clouds Hands-On Preview: A Masterpiece In The Making

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Eurogamer Expo, Indie Games, Indie Games Arcade, Piece Of Pie Games, PSN, Swimming Under Clouds

SucLOGO

It's an age-old story. Girl meets fish. Girl loses fish. Fish needs to surround himself with a bubble of water and use impressive fluid physics to find his way home through dangerous and picturesque dreamscapes.

Wait, no. Sorry. Swimming Under Clouds from Piece Of Pie Games boasts a truly unique premise and some of the most refreshing gameplay that I've ever had the joy to experience. It's a crying shame that it was tucked away at this year's Eurogamer Expo, because it was one of the most deeply memorable games of the entire show.

The achingly beautiful visuals come courtesy of graphic designer Mikaël Aguirre (aka Orioto), who was looking for a game into which he could shoehorn his considerable portfolio. His dreamlike vistas have a charming and fluffy quality that lend themselves perfectly to an Indie platformer. Charming doesn't do it justice. Aguirre is also behind the storyline, which originally simply featured a bubble of water that had to negociate the levels. However, he decided to add a heartbreaking story (and the fish) in order to make gamers genuinely care about the adventure... and trust me, you'll want to get this fish home. Sorry, there's something in my eye.

Fishy! Nooo!

Fishy! Nooo!

However, don't expect that the adorable presentation means that the game itself is soft and fluffy. Swimming Under Clouds will deliver a hardcore and exciting platform experience that draws upon classics for inspiration. Aguirre explained that Sonic was a major influence, as you'll need to pick up momentum and slide along multiple routes to ensure victory and a quick completion time. The fish shrouds himself in a bubble of water that functions (at the most basic level) like Sonic's rings. It protects him from enemy attacks as well as the unbreathable atmosphere, increasing in size when players net bubble powerups and decreasing when he takes a hit. The bubble also allows the fish to slide along surfaces; which currently feels tight, realistic and responsive thanks to the excellent physics engine.  Taking advantage of loops, ramps and jump combos will be a key part of the gameplay. Dynamic wind physics will also affect the experience for both the player and enemies, and savvy players will intelligently use it to devastating advantage.

Caption

Don't let the beautiful art design fool you. Players will need to use every loop, boost and jump to maximum effect.

Water is more than just a defensive tool. Players can opt to deplete their supply by spraying out a powerful jet that acts as extra propulsion or an offensive weapon to soak enemies or trigger switches. Sacrificing the all-important water supply against the need to deploy the jet is another deceptively deep mechanic... since the fish will be practically helpless without his protective bubble. Each of the fifty levels will feature three difficulty settings and hidden stars that provide extra points, making for some serious replayability value. Make no mistake: this is an exceptional platformer that deserves your attention even at this stage.

Swimming Under Clouds is still around 6-8 months from release... and quite frankly, I'll be counting down the days. Aguirre suggested that Piece Of Pie were courting PSN as their primary launch platform, as art games such as Flower and Flow tend to receive far greater exposure on Sony's service rather than the glutted Xbox Live marketplace. We wish them every success- and we'll keep you up to date with the latest.

B.U.T.T.O.N. Hands-On Preview: The Best Party Game Ever?

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
B.U.T.T.O.N., Copenhagen Game Collective, Eurogamer Expo, Indie Games, Indie Games Arcade, Puzzle games

button banner

If you happened to be passing the Indie Game Arcade at this year's Eurogamer Expo, you'd might have witnessed some truly bizarre shenanigans. You'd have seen gaggles of gamers holding hands, touching each other's thighs and running around the room. You'd have pondered the significance of a seemingly unattended screen that had lines of bystanders standing six paces away and eyeing others suspiciously. And you'd have laughed heartily at the hilarious spectacle of two overweight journalists doing pressups in the middle of the show floor- and then breathlessly sprinting over to their controllers only to be ruthlessly tricked out of a victory.

That was us... courtesy of B.U.T.T.O.N. from the Copenhagen Games Collective.

Read on for Brutally Unfair Tactics...

Crysis 2 Singleplayer Hands-On Preview/ PC vs Xbox 360 Comparison

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Crysis 2, Eurogamer Expo, FPS games, Games previews
Discuss:
Crysis 2

Crytek marines are a hardened fighting force... but their defence of New York was inexorably breaking under the brutal alien assault. A cadre of otherworldly Ceph units stood between the beleagured squad and their objective: an explosive detonator on the top floor of a nearby building. Luckily for them, we're going to provide  some serious Nanosuited backup when the 2011 release date hits.

Ceph Assault Troops are tough, fast and durable; dealing out accurate salvos of energy rifle fire at long range. Capable of impressive feats of mobility, the Ceph Stalkers are fairly weak and can't take what they dish out... but their enhanced mobility lets them leap around and flank unwary soldiers from behind and above. Luckily the default scoped SCARAB assault rifle is more than capable of dispatching them- and the nanosuit's enormous jump power allows players to take advantage of the tiered levels and secure high vantage points. Or leap off tall ledges and perform an earth-shattering ground pound that sends Ceph flying.

ceph stalker

Read on for Ceph Devastators and Devastating Graphics!

Motorstorm Apocalypse Hands-On Preview: Destruction Derby

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Eurogamer Expo, Evolution Studios, Games previews, MotorStorm: Apocalypse, PS3 games, Racing Games
Discuss:
Playstation 3

Motorstorm-apocalypse

I'm far from sold on 3D. In Virtua Tennis it cripples your depth perception so you move to engage with an object that appears to be in a position it really isn't and it's completely negated when it comes to driving games because whilst the object of control is rooted in the foreground, your focus is constantly on the horizon, rendering the 3D relatively useless.

Motorstorm Apocalypse finds a way to get around this problem and make the visual gimmick relevant by throwing things at you. Cars, rocks, people, buildings. The world is coming to an end, the cities crumbling into dust, and naturally the Stormers figure that what better way to celebrate this anarchic armageddon than to turn the urban wasteland in-transit into the racing funpark of dreams.

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Evolution found themselves wanting to do something different after Pacific Rift, they took a look at the current crop of racers on the market and, by their own admission, found themselves uninspired.

'The original concept for Apocalypse was actually an original IP we came up with called Urban Smash,' said Evolution's Matt Southern. 'But we were still working on Pacific Rift at the time. After completion we began scouring the forums and we came to the conclusion that we'd missed an opportunity in terms of urban racing. We dug Urban Smash back up and it laid the foundations for what was to become Motorstorm Apocalypse.'

But, as Southern notes in typically aggressive fashion, it was still not enough. For Urban Smash they'd gone to Washington DC and driven around a number of big American cities, trying to get a feel for what urban racing might entail, but they eventually made the decision to create their own city, an option that gave them far more creative licence and opened the door for far more of an emphasis on concept work.

Click here to see if Motorstorm Apocalypse is on course to deliver...

The Witcher 2 Preview: An Interview With CD Projekt Red - Part Two

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
CD Projekt, Eurogamer Expo, Games previews, PC games, RPG, The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings
Discuss:
PC

the-witcher-2-assassins-of-kings

Part two of our interview with Tomasz Gop and Marek Ziemak from CD Projekt Red. Not checked out Part One? Click here to travel back in time and read it as if it were yesterday!

GR: You’ve said before that some of the decisions you’ve made in the first game will affect the second game, similar to the Bioware titles; what would you say differentiates The Witcher 2 from, say, Dragon Age, or another high-fantasy RPG?

TG: Oh, that is tough. I mean, um…

GR: Because, obviously, they’re very well-regarded games, and you will naturally want yours to be even better.

TG: I want to start off with a sidenote: we’re not afraid of competition or drawing inspiration, because there are not too many RPGs on the market. It’s not like the shooter market, where everyone fights with everyone to get better guns or whatever, no. If someone likes RPGs, he will buy all of them. I mean, there’s like one or two deep RPGs coming out every year, so seriously, this is not an issue for us.

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But, we are different in many aspects, for example, because we don’t have a generic fantasy world. Our world has been described in books; Andrzej Sapkowski is a writer who spent a huge part of his life inventing the world, and that makes this a comfortable situation for us because we can draw from that world. A lot of things that happen in the game are really ‘easier’ this way: easier for people who read the books, and also for the ones that didn’t. Also, for our designers who are working on the game, because they can think “Ok, let’s introduce someone from Nilfgaard, a bad guy”. In a generic fantasy world, four designers will be sitting around and one of them will think “Ok, this will be a guy on a horse”, another will think “This will be a guy with wings, on a dragon”, and so on. In our world, that doesn’t happen because Nilfgaard is a clear situation, and everyone knows what Nilfgaard is. So it’s easier for us to implement the game, and we have a more solid, more consistent view of everything. If you read the books, there’s even an added value which is cool but, of course, it’s not obligatory to read the books to be able to play through the game, which we're definitely mindful of.

Did that answer your question?

GR: Yes.

TG: That’s good, I almost got lost! *Laughs*

Click here to read the final part of our interview with CD Projekt Red...

The Witcher 2 Preview: An Interview With CD Projekt Red - Part One

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
CD Projekt, Eurogamer Expo, Games previews, PC games, RPG, The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings
Discuss:
PC

the-witcher-2-assassins-of-kings

Last Friday I got to sit down alongside GameRant's Phillipe Bosher in the press lounge at the Eurogamer Expo, and between us we fired a barrage of questions at CD Projekt Red's Tomasz Gop and Marek Ziemak to learn a little bit more about The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings...

Dealspwn: In relation to the first game, what did you want to do with The Witcher 2? How did you want to step it up?

Tomasz Gop: It’s really important to start off with a few important facts: we’re not doing a totally different game here. Seriously, we’re really happy that a lot of people liked The Witcher 1, so we’re really sticking topretty much the same principles. I mean, the story is going to be at least as deep as it was in The Witcher — we’re still basing the game on the story - it’s the main feature of the game. We’re going to be telling a mature, non-linear, engrossing story. But in regards to the things we’ve changed: we’ve looked at improving the things that people liked, and deeply changing the things that people complained about. So, the emphasis on the story is definitely still going to be around; it’s going to be the story of a morally questionable world where you never know what’s going to happen, where you have to think about what you would do, and not about what you would do if you wanted the game to recognise you as a good or bad player. And we’ve changed combat, for example, because some people thought it might’ve been too hardcore in The Witcher. We’ve done a lot to keep the same level of complexity, but not everything is obligatory.

the-witcher-2_aug23_06.jpg_626

Ultimately what I want to say is that it’s the same kind of game. It will be the same kind of game.

Marek Ziemak: And, remember, there’s totally different technology in the background right? So…

DP: Right, because [The Witcher] had Aurora, and now this is a new engine.

TG: The first one had the Aurora Engine, yeah. After doing the first game, we thought “Ok, if we want to progress with the game further, if we want to implement new ideas, Aurora won’t do this time.” Ok, there are things that we want to change deeply and there are things that we only want to improve, but even for these smaller improvements, it still was not enough to use Aurora. That’s why we just sat down and implemented our engine, it took a year or a year and a half for prototyping things and so on. We started doing this right after the release of the first game, and after eighteen months, this is when The Witcher 2 started on the new engine.

Game Rant: So, you say that it’s going to be quite similar to The Witcher; if this is the first time someone had seen The Witcher series, why would they want to start with The Witcher 2? What is compelling about this game, when compared to the first one?

TG: Just like The Witcher, this is still a standalone game: it’s a totally separate chapter. I mean, you don’t have to play The Witcher to know what’s going on in The Witcher 2, and besides that, the game still introduces everything that’s important to you, without telling the whole story of the first game. In case you don’t know, or don’t care, whatever’s the case, you don’t have to play The Witcher.

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MZ: But we still encourage players to go and play it!

TG: It would be great! *Laughs* Yeah, it would be perfect if people played the first game. But why would people want to play The Witcher 2? Well...we’re developers that have played a lot of RPGs ‘back in the day’, and that’s what we wanted to do; we wanted to do the game that way. This is why we sat down to make these games - both The Witcher 1 and 2 - because, as long time genre fans, we think this is how RPGs should be made.

Click here to read the rest of Part One of our interview with CD Projekt Red...

Dead Space 2 Hands-On Preview: Iron Man & Demon Rugrats

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Dead Space 2, Eurogamer Expo, Games previews, Horror games, Necromorphs, Survival Horror Games
Discuss:
Dead Space 2

Dead Space 2 Hands-On Preview: Iron Man & Demon Rugrats

It takes a very particular kind of game to make someone jump and squeeze out a small yelp when surrounded by several hundred bustling gamers in the near vicinity. It's somewhat embarrassing for the person involved, particularly if they're a rather large bloke who looks around quickly to see if anyone noticed his moment of terror, only to find that the girl and the next station is beaming wickedly at him. 'I hope you packed a change of underwear,' she remarks. I laugh and say that I was hiccuping. She looks far from convinced.

Dead Space 2 Hands-On Preview: Iron Man & Demon Rugrats

My apparent lack of manliness aside, Dead Space was a pretty creepy game. I'm not talking Doom 3 scripted jumpy bits (Doom was never really meant to be a scary franchise), I'm talking oppressively tense, deliciously dark and pervasively scary. It put the 'horror' back into 'survival-horror'. But it was also rather satisfying, too. Slicing, blasting, cutting and sizzling the limbs off of the grotesque Necromorphs was a lot of fun. Isaac might have died a fair few times on his travels, but he took a whole bunch of them down with him.

Dead Space 2 Hands-On Preview: Iron Man & Demon Rugrats

Dead Space, then, was a resounding success, its Wii incarnation criminally overlooked and still one of the finest games on that platform. A sequel was inevitable, this is EA after all, and so we got to business at the Eurogamer Expo following our look at the game out in Cologne to see how the thing played.

Is Dead Space 2 just as pant-wettingly terrifying as the first game? Click here to find out....

Gemini Rue & Fractal Previews: Indie Games Arcade

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Adventure Games, Cipher Prime, Eurogamer Expo, Fractal, Gemini Rue, Indie Games, JBurger, PC games, Puzzle games
Discuss:
PC

indie games arcade logo

As I've said before (and will continue to do so until I'm blue in the face), the Eurogamer Expo contained more than big-name titles from enormous emergent monopolies. The Indie Games Arcade showcased sev We've already covered Scoregasm, Revenge of the Titans, Skulls of the Shogun and Frozen Synapse- and here are two more incredible Indie experiences for your delectation. Fractal and Gemini Rue deserve your rapt attention, guys- so don't let them slip under your radar!

Gemini Rue

SCUMM Point 'n' click adventures used to be all the rage back in the day- and Gemini Rue plans to ride the hefty wave of nostalgia by providing a delightfully retro experience along with a gritty Blade Runner-eque vibe. Players will follow the lengthy twisting narrative from two perspectives: a private investigator named Azriel Odin and a mysterious escapee known as Delta Six. The world of Gemini is bleak, grimy and swathed in perpetual rain; providing a stylish and oppressive  setting in which to explore, unravel a conspiracy and occasionally engage in some action sequences.

Read on to discover the joys of Cipher Prime's Fractal- as well as the secrets of Gemini Rue.

SOCOM 4: Special Forces (With Playstation Move) Hands-On Preview

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Eurogamer Expo, Playstation Move, preview, SOCOM 4

socom 4 logo

SOCOM 4 was one of the first action games to confirm compatibility with Playstation Move, but the likes of Killzone 3 and Heavy Rain have managed to eclipse it from the headlines over the last couple of months. Many cynics have doubted whether Sony's new peripheral will really add much to the third person genre or action games in general... but after twenty minutes, my own negative preconceptions came under withering fire.

Much like a fair few Wii games out there, the Playstation Move controller provides 1:1 manipulation of an on-screen reticle that can rotate the point of view when moved to the edges of the screen. Players can zoom in to aim by holding down the central M0ve button and squeeze off shots with the trigger. The circle button allows players to snap into cover- and whilst this is currently a little too stolid and clunky for my liking, the overall principle works like a charm. Popping out of cover and nailing enemies with precise bursts of fire is intensely satisfying- and feels much like a lightgun shooter at times. On the flipside, it takes a little while to get used to the new setup (especially learning that L1 isn't the aim button anymore) and- on a personal note- the reload button is uncomfortably far away from my thumb when I'm holding the Move controller. These are small peeves when compared to how intuitive the experience turned out, and I was honestly surprised at how much fun I was having.

Third person combat with responsive lightgun immediacy? Bravo, Playstation Move.

Third person combat with responsive lightgun immediacy? Bravo, Playstation Move.

Read on for squad commands and a little nitpicking!

Frozen Synapse Preview: Indie Games Arcade

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Contract Bridge, Eurogamer Expo, Frozen Synapse, Games previews, Indie Games, Mode 7, PC games, Turn-based Counterstrike
Discuss:
PC

frozen synapse logo actual

Tactical turn-based strategy tends to provide long, protracted battles that scare off plenty of potential punters with reams of numbers and long periods of waiting around. However, Mode 7 are set to provide a unique experience that they describe as "turn-based counterstrike." Frozen Synapse focuses on instantly accessible missions that last only ten minutes or less... yet deliver the hardcore, brutal and unforgiving decisions that armchair generals crave from their favourite genre.

The attractive wireframe presentation presents a birds-eye view of randomly generated battlefields in which small teams of operatives hunt each other down. Mode 7 explained that they'd purposefully removed the choice and unit setup for most of the gametypes in order to focus on quick turnarounds and on-the-fly decision making; and players will soon get the hang of creating complex paths out of simple checkpoints, stances and rules of engagement (each of which are only a click away). Combat is brutal and usually results in one-hit kills, but effectively using cover and remaining dead still allows your squad to get the drop on foes. Once each player decides ready to proceed, 5 seconds worth of action takes place simultaneously as both sets of waypoints and engagements resolve themselves. It's slick, deep and easy on the eyes thanks to the subtle and attractive visuals.

A few clicks are all you need to construct effective strategies. "Easy to learn and hard to master" is a bit of an understatement...

A few clicks are all you need to construct effective strategies. "Easy to learn and hard to master" is a bit of an understatement...

What could Frozen Synapse and Contract Bridge have in common? Read on to find out!

Revenge of the Titans Preview: Indie Games Arcade

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Eurogamer Expo, Indie Games, PC games, Puppy Games, Revenge of the Titans, RTS games, Tower Defence games
Discuss:
PC

revenge titans logo

Tower defence may be an incredibly popular subgenre, but it's all too easy for to fall into over-familiar and derivative cliches that keep them from making much of a splash. Thankfully Revenge of The Titans, from Indie developer Puppy Games, is preparing to reinvigorate the formula by providing a stylish hybrid between tower defence and real time strategy.

The principle starts simply enough. Your base needs to be protected from the ravening titans that arrive in linear waves... and players will do so by deploying- say it with me- defensive towers. These powerful turrets deal major damage to enemies within their range, but they need to be manually reloaded by clicking on them after they expend their ammunition. Not only that, but the Titans aren't restricted to the obvious roads and pathways and will merrily take a detour to munch on a poorly-placed structure, meaning that overlapping fields of fire have never been more important.

However, this is where things take an interesting turn. Whilst killing the Titans will ensure a slow trickle of credits into your coffers, a wide range of base structures are also available to build. The most basic of these is the refinery, which harvests nearby crystals and converts them into credits. Constructing and fortifying your base is a nostalgia-packed reminder of 'turtling up' in Command & Conquer, with commanders needing to sacrifice defensive fortifications in the short term to construct a working infrastructure that will pay dividends down the line. However, constantly flitting around the map to manually empty refineries, reload turrets and click on a selection of storable powerups makes the experience a lot more manic.

Click here to read more...

inFamous 2 Hands-On Preview: Ride The Lightning

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Eurogamer Expo, Games previews, inFamous 2, PS3 games
Discuss:
Infamous 2 | Playstation 3

infamous2logo1-550x3352009 was a damn fine year for sandbox games that imbued you with special powers and left you largely to your own devices and the battle was primarily fought between two game: mass murder simulator Prototype, a game that for all its wonderfully ridiculous silliness tended to take itself far too seriously, and PS3 exclusive inFamous which managed to differentiate itself somewhat by placing a larger emphasis on narrative, securing Amon Tobin for a brilliantly atmospheric soundtrack and giving you a version of that most trendy of game mechanics at the moment - a morality system.

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Quite frankly, original superpower sandbox games were a bit of a novelty and both games did solidly if only because they were both phenomenally fun and incredibly addictive - even if Prototype sometimes left you feeling oddly queasy at times (dropping from several hundred feet onto a pedestrian and then surfing their stunned corpse down the street will do that). They came, we played them, we had fun.

But sequels can't rely on pure novelty alone, they have to shake things up a bit, tweak the things that went wrong and offer us incentives to come back for another bite of the apple. There's been no word from Radical entertainment regarding a follow-up to Prototype, but you'd better believe Cole McGrath, the electrically-fuelled courier boy of inFamous fame, is coming around for another go and we got to spend a brief bit of time with him at this year's Eurogamer Expo.

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It's worth pointing out that it's almost as if no-one wanted the public to really see this game, tucked away as it was, unmarked, on only two stations in a remote corner of the hall. Thankfully, it's complete lack of promotion meant that the wait was marginal and it wasn't long before I was busy frying things with lightning powers that would give Emperor Palpatine nightmares.

Check out my impressions of inFamous 2 after the jump....

Media Molecule Developer Session: Zombie Pandas, Tarzan Impressions and Vomiting Cheese

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Eurogamer Expo, Games previews, Little Big Planet, LittleBigPlanet 2, Media Molecule, Platform games

mm_logo_580px

Media Molecule took to the stage at Eurogamer to applause normally reserved for rockstars and with good reason too. Forget motion control, forget 3D, forget fitness games and minigame-stuffed party titles, if there's been one truly revolutionary thing to hit mainstream gaming in the last few years it comes courtesy of these guys.

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Play Create Share might just seem like a mantra to some, a nifty tag to help facilitate user interaction. But it goes much deeper than that. At a convention housing a career fair, following an address on Thursday that advocated taking education by storm and showing the public that game design is not only a legitimate, but also important, career option, it was telling that of the four men presenting Little Big Planet 2 to an expectant audience, three of those men had been hired straight out of the community.

Power to the people might seem to be a hackneyed term, but it's clear that the guys at Media Molecule believe in it and, with Little Big Planet 2 they're continuing the path upon which they set out with the first title, but with a jaw-dropping level of additional depth should budding designers desire. The tools on offer this time around make the original game look like it simply gave you empty bog roll tubes and sticky tape.

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Understandably, some gamers out there will just want to play around with the pre-existing levels and let others in the community take the lead with the level editing gear. But there are new treats in store for everyone. For starters, Media Molecule have placed much more of an emphasis on the characters – Sackboy and chums – rather than the levels. Whereas in the first game it was very much a case of '90% of the cool stuff we'd implemented was part of the level design', now the interactive nature of the game has been elevated thanks to a barrage of character upgrades.

Jump the break to find out what's in store in LittleBigPlanet 2...

Skulls Of The Shogun Preview: Indie Games Arcade

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Eurogamer Expo, PC, Plush Apocalypse, Skulls of the Shogun, XBLA

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We continue our coverage of Eurogamer's Indie scene with Skulls of the Shogun from Plush Apocalypse. It's a turn-based strategy affair that eschews some of the tired old trappings of the genre, swapping hexes for free movement and po-faced pomposity for a gleefully colourful style. The basic premise is to control a small army of phantom Samurai who fight their enemies eternally in the afterlife, and in many ways, it resembles a complex game of chess with infinitely more personality.

Each player can control five units per turn, which run the usual gamut of infantry, cavalry and archers. As you might expect, cavalry have a high movement range but are restricted by certain terrain types, whereas archers command a high attack radius but are worse than useless in close combat. Moving and ordering each soldier to attack is simple and effective, with a red circle delineating the their maximum range for the turn.

The general stands at the head of each army and fulfils an interesting dual role. He's the chess king and the queen rolled into one, with a powerful dual attack and massive defensive prowess being offset by the fact that if he dies,it's game over. Knowing when to roll out the general to secure key locations and when to turtle him up is a key part of the strategy.

Read on and SCOFF DOWN SOME SKULLS!

Scoregasm Preview: Eurogamer Indie Games Arcade

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Charlie's Games, Eurogamer Expo, Indie Games, Insane, Scoregasm, Twinstick shooter

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The Eurogamer Expo may be playing host to some of the most anticipated AAA titles of the coming year... but listen up, folks. The Indie Games Arcade contains some of the most imaginative, creative and genuinely fun game experiences to be found in Earls Court 0ver this weekend- and we'll be bringing you in-depth previews as well as opinions from the developers themselves. First up is Scoregasm from Charlie's Games.

Sometimes a name can be mysterious and misleading ... but Scoregasm does exactly what it says on the tin. Charlie Knight, the creative force behind Charlie's Games, explained that he was fed up with every level of twinstick shooters taking place in identical "square boxes" and having the same basic flow- and thus designed the experience to constantly challenge the player with new experiences. Each level boasts a differently-shaped arena, surprising new enemies and incredible visuals. Collecting powerups and accumulating points constantly power up the ship's weapons to insanely devastating levels, each of which are stackable with each other.

Frantic doesn't begin to describe the action. Technicolour hordes swarm towards the ship, and unbroken walls of projectiles soon threaten to engulf and destroy the fragile craft. The sheer ferocity of the assault is enough to make even hardened SHMUP veterans break a sweat. Luckily it's also one of the most responsive shooters I've ever played, since Charlie spent the best part of a week getting the movement exactly right. Rather than settling for standard analog control, Scoregasm actually equates each thumbstick movement to the same distance on the screen, and it makes weaving through bullets extremely intuitive. It's 1:1- and undeniably brilliant.

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More importantly, the ship can emit a close range radial pulse that annihilates nearby enemies and incoming fire. Rather than the limited stock of smart bombs that most shooters tend to arm players with, this ability can be used indefinitely... so long as you're continuously killing foes in order to recharge it. This may sound relatively simple, but it's absolutely vital for success.

As you'd expect, score is king. Not only does your total dictate the difficulty settings available in the next level, but scoring highly enough treats players to a Frenzy. Fireworks explode, new waves of enemies spawn and swarm, and the audio bursts forth with what I can describe only as an electro-synth orgasm. It's a glorious assault on the senses.

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The campaign will feature 43 levels and multiple difficulty levels, but to add extra variety, a number of minigames provide an unexpected breath of fresh air. Making coleslaw by shooting vegetables into a shredder or shaving a man's face is a hilarious change of pace! Despite occasional funding problems (which is unfortunately a regular occurrence in the Indie scene), Charlie explained that gameplay development evolved organically rather than sticking to a rigid plan- and it's great to see a game that strives to be constantly enjoyable rather than taking itself too seriously.

Scoregasm is currently available to preorder- and the beta's currently underway. Why not head over to Charlie's Games and check it out?

Hunted: The Demon's Forge Hands-On Preview

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Cover based action, Dark Fantasy, Eurogamer Expo, Hunted: The Demon's Forge, Hunted: The Demon's Forge Preview, inXile

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inXile Entertainment's Maxx Kaufman and Matt Findlay used to play a lot of tabletop roleplaying games and text adventures in their youth... but in their minds' eye, they envisioned a high-octane fantasy adventure that focused on visceral action and eyepopping vistas. Now they've got the chance to make it happen, courtesy of Bethesda and more than a little obvious inspiration from a few other intellectual properties out there. After enjoying their Eurogamer presentation and getting some hands-on time on the show floor, here are my impressions of Hunted: The Demon's Forge.

Hunted is being crafted with three key concepts in mind: cooperative play, cover-based action and reimagining the fantasy genre. Whilst there are plenty of third person shooters and dark fantasy brawlers out there, inXile are planning on merging the two genres and adding one of the most impressive cooperative modes we're heard about in a long time (at least on paper). Players have the choice of two mercenary characters: the burly Caddoc and the scantily-clad elf Elara. As you'd expect, Caddoc excels at shredding and bludgeoning foes to death with melee weapons while Elara specialises in ranged attacks. Well, she is an Elf after all- and some cliches never change.

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The two mercenaries are directed to the town of Dyfed by a mysterious spirit who informs them that there'll be plenty of work to do and money to be made. Upon arrival, however, they discover the village in ruins and the abducted by hideous ghouls. Delving into the shadowy bowels beneath Dyfed, the action soon descends into tight corridors and spacious arenas that are strewn with plenty of cover to hide behind. As the sniper, Elara plays much like any standard third person shooter protagonist; needing to avoid close-range engagements and shooting targets of opportunity from cover. As a beefy fighter, however, Carroc can afford to break cover and brutalise foes at short range.

So far so standard. In fact, the action is jarringly reminiscent of Gears of War both in terms of basic mechanics and visual flair, with a selction of SWAT turns and cover rolls to call upon. The left trigger aims. X and Y deal with light and heavy attacks. You know the drill. Don't get too complacent though, because the theme of cooperation goes far deeper than most games we've seen before.

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Read on for cooperation and exploration!

Eurogamer Roundup: Games We've Already Seen - Part 2

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Def Jam Rapstar, Eurogamer Expo, Games articles, Games previews, Halo Reach, Killzone 3, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, PES 2011
Discuss:
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood | Halo: Reach | Killzone 3

Not quite everything on the show floor is exclusive material and there's some stuff here that we may have seen before. However, to help those of you out who weren't able to make it we've assembled a barrage of overlapping links to jog the memory...

Halo: Reach

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Playable on the floor of the Expo, Bungie's farewell to the Halo franchise is an epic that's not to be missed. Need more proof? Check out Jon's review to find out why Bungie will be missed.

Def Jam Rapstar

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Regular readers will know just how much Def Jam Rapstar impressed us out at Gamescom. Well, 4mm brought their hip-hop revolution to London this weekend, along witha  big fat stage and bustling crowds on both days. Whether you've got rhythm or not, here's the reason why Rapstar's making a lot of justified noise.

PES 2011

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With both Konami and EA vying furiously for floor space, it's been good to see the public courting both with their sporting attentions. Our FIFA review is on the way, but if you're yet to make up your mind, you can start off with our review of PES 2011 and find out how the series is bouncing back.

Click here to read more...