Day 1 at the Eurogamer Expo was a late arrival for myself thanks to travelling and checking in to my hotel. So I didn’t get to the show until three in the afternoon at which point things had got very busy.
With hordes of people everywhere (especially the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 stands) I made a move to the indie stand where I knew Cliff Harris was showing off Democracy 3. I popped along and had a chat over pizza and met Mitu the developer of Redshirt.
After more walking through crowds I went upstairs to the over 18s area and joined the queue for Black Flag.
Assassin’s Creed then proved to be my first game of the show. I have to admit I didn’t know what the hell I was doing as it was entirely devoid of objectives that I could see. However, the demo was set on the boat which is at the heart of the game, the Jackdaw. Lacking any sense of what to do, I went diving for treasure, which led to me drowning once and getting attacked by sharks another time. I did like the fancy animations of pushing off planks for a speed boost and squirming around barnacles.
On the sea I was even more useless, somehow managing to destroy one Spanish ship and ramming some others.
I’ll note that this demo I played was on the PS4 and it certainly looked lovely on the massive screens. A massive step up on what would have come on the PS3, but certainly not a world changing improvement on what I would expect it to look like on my PC. The new DualShock 4 control pad felt nice, though I couldn’t get the touch pad to do anything which was annoying. I did nearly break the demo when entering the Captain’s room on the Jackdaw and approaching a map which apparently needed PSN access. A few error messages later I was back in the game only to be cut off my a rep after playing for my allotted time.
Realising I had not made best use of my allowed quarter hour with the game, and not wanting to queue up for half an hour again I carried on walking around the over 18 section only to see Black Flag once again, this time on PC and entirely lacking in any queue. Needless to say I jumped on.
Surprisingly, playing the same game I had just finished trying on the PS4 on the PC proved to be a much more satisfying experience.
This demo had some actual objectives as I had to set about capturing a Spanish fort. This required wrecking the defences of the fort with cannon and mortar fire which was great fun, especially seeing the walls of the defensive towers crumble.
As I went about this I encountered some more naval combat, this time having some success as I was able to shoot my cannons at the Spanish ships. After bringing them to a half I jumped on board with my crew and promptly defeated the defenders before using the supplies to improve the Jackdaw.
Once I had cleared the sea and destroyed the fort’s defences it was onto an all out assault. Cue some inept duelling as I totally ignored the classic Assassin’s Creed approach of jumping off things to launch a funky special killing blow on the enemy.
After killing a Captain of the defences I strode boldly into the target room, watched a little cut-scene and smiled as I realised I had been left alone to really play the game. A pleasant change from the strictly limited time with the PS4 version.
I’ll probably have some more thoughts on Black Flag soon, working on a tablet will take some getting used to.
Day one at the Expo complete, I look forward to trying Watch Dogs, Battlefield 4 and maybe The Sims 4 tomorrow. Dedicated PS4 and Xbox One time is certainly not guaranteed.