Location: Earls Court, London. 1-3 October
I’m gonna start off by saying that I was very disappointed in this years Eurogamer Expo. I went on Friday 1st October and the only thing that made the day worthwhile were the Developer Sessions (I only wanted to attend the Peter Molyneux talk but went to the Deus Ex and Rage talk too).
The queue was huge but that was to be expected, I only wish we had gotten there earlier in the day (but my morning was taken up making sammiches as we rightly assumed that the food there was expensive lol!). We left Oxford on the Oxford Tube at about 7:30am and got to the event about 20 minutes before they opened the doors.
I’m very surprised at some of the people who said that they didn’t get to see a single Dev talk, I mean the games were going to be there all day, the Devs weren’t.
First things first was getting in the queue for the Peter Molyneux talk. By the time we got inside and into the queue it was by the HMV stand where Infamous 2 was playable. A nice woman started talking to me about how she was a big Fable fan (yet when the queue started moving she’d stealthily made her way in front of about 10-15 people…I hate queue jumpers!!!). Anyway, I enjoyed the talk and tried to take a few pictures although unfortunately the flash kept bouncing off the back of some guy’s head a few rows in front of me so the pictures were dark.
After the talk we saw Andy Farrant (SuperKaylo) and Dan Maher (MrPointyHead) who were posing for pictures outside the conference room, I was waiting patiently for my turn (behind 1 or 2 people) only to have about 20 other people push in front of me…so I never got a picture :(. So moving on we jumped straight into the queue for the Deus Ex talk (we were queued opposite the HMV tills at this point) and saw that Peter Molyneux was signing posters, I left my fiance in the queue and tried to join the Autograph queue only to be very rudely told by a HMV attendant that he wasn’t signing any more, despite there still being more people joining the queue…why me!? Still I got a few free posters from them. The Deus Ex talk was very interesting, the game looked amazing, nothing in it was new, but still a very good looking game.
Now we finally had our chance to walk around to try out some games, or more accurately, we finally had our chance to walk around and look at games! I was amazed at the complete lack of moderation on any of the game booths. I saw 1 or 2 volunteers walking round but noone telling people to finish their turns and let other people have a go, apart from the Kinect booth (who was unfortunately manned by Ben Talbot of OXM) and the Fable III booth’s. At one point we were sat at one of the tables having a drink in the 18+ area for about half an hour and not once did anyone move off the games at the Medal of Honor wall, the surrounding mob must have been annoyed! The same applied to the other games that we could see from our seats.
It was somewhere between 3-4pm now and the first game I managed to have a go at was Fable III, I had to wait a long time but it was worth it although my game had to be restarted by one of the Fable attendants as the guy previous to me had gotten to an area he shouldn’t have.
Attendant: “Have you only just started?”
Me: “Yeah, I’ve literally just sat down”
Attendant: “Ah ok, I don’t know what the other guy did, you shouldn’t be here (in the game)”
He then asked me how I wanted to play (ie, fighting, adventure/quests, or a bit of both…I chose a bit of both) so he went through some kind of Dev menu and set up my game for me. It was cool, the demo was deliberately made for events like this to prevent spoiling the main game. My character was put into some kind of twisted desktop game with me as the main playing character whilst 3 worshiper guys (dressed similar to the Shadow Worshipers from Fable II) narrated the story, I would walk around in this story about an evil baron who’d kidnapped a princess, talking to cardboard cutouts of villagers trying to save this princess. The narrators basically took the p*ss out of itself going on about not giving away spoilers and not making it too easy for me, one of them had some kind of fixation on making this scary foggy place all “nice” and “pretty” with the other 2 constantly correcting his mistakes…I loved the humor!
We had a walk around the whole venue again, failing to still see any moderation of queues, and found our way to the Kinect booth. The 3 games on offer to try were Kinect Adventures, Joy Ride and Sports. Also stood at the back watching the 3 games was the VERY tall Phil Harrison! But he didn’t have a go. My fiance and I had a go at Joy Ride which seemed to respond better to me than him (I won 1st place woot!).
Now was our last Dev session of the day, Rage. We joined the very long queue wondering whether we were going to be told that we wouldn’t make it in, luckily we were told by a staff member that we would be getting in. Next thing we know someone with a huge armful of T-Shirts starts handing them out telling us that they’re for having to wait for so long and being so far back in the queue. The queue starts moving in a stop start kinda fashion, then there was the group of people trying to get us to download some kind of app for a smartphone, and finally we get up the stairs again. We enter the room and the guys on stage were already talking, nice of them to wait for everyone to get in before starting ya know! Again the talk was interesting, the gameplay looked amazing (on Xbox 360 too) and some of the questions asked were cringeworthy! Who thought it was a good idea to tell Tim Willits that his game looked like Borderlands and Fallout 3? (I mean it kinda looked like a hybrid of the 2 but still…)
Next we moved onto Fallout: New Vegas (only because there was a machine free, but this was one on my insta-buy list anyway so glad I played it). I started it from the beginning which wasn’t probably the best idea as I had to go through the intro and making my character etc, so I didn’t really get much proper game time. It looks good but more or less the same as Fallout 3…only more brown with hints of colour as opposed to being very grey in Fallout 3. Crysis 2 was next on the Xbox 360. It was a multiplayer demo pitting you against other people at the Expo, it took a bit of getting used to and there was alot of team killing (grrr!), going off that demo I wouldn’t pre-order it because I’m not that big on the multiplayer side of games but if they had a single player demo on offer I might be tempted otherwise.
The last 2 games we tried were Gears of War 3 and Need for Speed Hot Pursuit. The Gears of War 3 demo was the new Beast mode where you choose which species of the Hoard you want to play as and try to take out the Humans, I liked it, hulking round as a Boomer with a meat cleaver was epic! (no pun intended), then there was Need for Speed. This wasn’t one on my radar (it certainly was on my fiance’s list of must haves though) yet I found it really enjoyably and easy to pick up. It didn’t help that one of the EA guys kept asking me if I was ok with the controls whilst I was trying to drive causing me to mess up…yes I am a female gamer and I know how to play games!
So overall I enjoyed the talks and the games on offer, what ruined the day for me was the lack of moderation and how unfair it was that people had free reign to sit on a game for what seemed like forever, also I found alot of people to be quite rude. If future Eurogamer Expos are like this then it’s gonna take something really special to make me endure this again.
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