Day three at the Eurogamer Expo has been my last for the year. A visit to Progress Wrestling is due tomorrow and occasionally some things take importance over games. Shocking I know!
Day three started with a trip to Greggs for some cakes before joining the hordes queuing up for Early Entry. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, the Expo needs to have a dedicated press day, or at least give the press a two hour head start each day over everyone else. Case in point, just after 11am this morning when normal pass holders were allowed in, there was a queue of over two hours for Evolve. While I am slightly interested in Turtle Rock’s follow on to Left 4 Dead, I’m not interested enough for two hours.
Before my disappointment with the Evolve queue, I made my way to the Sony area to bask in the PlayStation blues and take a blast on Bloodborne and The Order: 1886. Sony’s reps were kind enough to let me jump straight from Bloodborne to The Order, no easy thing on a Saturday morning when the hordes are baying at the door.
I was really impressed with Bloodborne, while I enjoyed the time I spent with Dark Souls 2, it was a tough challenge with a dingy medieval aesthetic that I didn’t really gel with. Bloodborne however is taking on a whole new look with a vaguely Victorian London vibe and a much cleaner and distinct art style. I wholeheartedly approve of the new look and was soon into action with a blunderbuss and huge cleaver. I was having a blast until I fell at the feet of a fairly large brute. Very good prospects in store for From Sofware’s next title.
Ready at Dawn’s title, The Order: 1886 didn’t quite blow my socks off. It might be that the demo was a bit too short but it felt like a new-gen take on the third-person games that dominate the start of each console cycle. It certainly looks absolutely stunning, I couldn’t tell when cut-scenes were ending and the gameplay resumed, it was very slick. The Victorian setting seemed to be well crafted, but that is my impression on a very limited demo. I did get to blow up a distillery though which I really enjoyed.
After the disappointment of learning about the size of the Evolve queue, I made my way upstairs to the developer sessions to take in a talk from Glen Schofield about Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. I plan on writing some kind of preview on this relaunch of Call of Duty soon.
A clutch of indie games filled my afternoon with Calvino Noir leading the way. This was a noir, side scrolling, point and click sleuth ’em up. You are set in some strange republic which is possibly being run by a dictatorship, and after arriving at your inn, you are given a job – meet up with a mole working inside the government and steal some papers. This introduction played out nicely and I would have paid more attention if I wasn’t fearful of breaking the game again. When I started to try it out, I was frozen out, luckily after a restart things were working fine. Having received my mission I set out to locate the mole, hiding from guards, climbing down ladders into cellars and generally trying to be sneaky. I failed in my efforts, a spot of running up some stairs caught the attention of a guard who I wasn’t quite able to hide from. Definitely an indie title I want to check out again.
I mentioned The Escapists yesterday and today I gave it a quick blast. It really feels like the alter-ego of Prison Architect as you lead a prisoner through his daily life. You do your job, in my case the laundry. You take favours from prisoners, be it roughing up a fellow inmate or bringing them contraband. All this while attending roll call and lights out. The rebel in my flared up pretty quickly and I was immediately running around after dark. I wasn’t able to keep away from the guards though and my demo came to an end. I get the impression the demo was sped up somewhat, but I would certainly like to take a closer look.
I didn’t get to play L.A Cops, but it always had a crowd and from what I saw, it might be something I will try and dig up some more details on once I get home. I tried co-op adventure Never Alone with a randomer. It is set in a snowy world with a girl and her wolf along with some spirits who you can jump on to bridge gaps in the ice. I would have played more, but my lack of Mad Skillz when playing with a random passer-by meant I scarpered with embarrassment.
Lastly from my indie wander was Tango Fiesta from Spilt Milk Studios. Glorious solo or 4-player local co-op blasting reminding me of some classic titles I used to play with my neighbour on his Mega Drive. Must pay attention to this again.
After my indie escapades, I took a sit down to watch the Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor developer session. The game is out in a couple of weeks so I won’t spend too many words on it, and I know Kevin is keen to play it, but this looks like a welcome entry into the lore of Lord of the Rings. Not many games have done the books justice, but this one just might do a decent job at expanding what we know of Tolkien’s world.
By this point I had bumped into ex-Reticule writer Ben Borthwick and we had a wander around and general catch up. We did try out WWE 2K15 and had a brutal slobber-knocker between Goldust and Cesaro in a hardcore match. Chairs, steps, sledgehammers and the announce table were all brought into play before I pinned Goldust in what was a 5-star classic. I’ll be giving this edition a miss I think, hopefully by next year the team at 2K taking care of the franchise will be able to fully realise the potential of the new-gen machines.
I ended the day with two more developer sessions. The first was from Mike Bithell for Volume, a different indie stealth game to Calvino Noir but very promising. If I have time I will share some further words on this mix of Thief and Robin Hood soon.
The last session was on Evolve, and while it looks truly bombastic…it isn’t going to be my cup of tea for long-term play. There are some great ideas that take the Left 4 Dead mechanics quite a bit further, but 4-player co-op against a human controlled monster…I can take it or leave it surprisingly. Give me more Bloodborne instead please.