The Games of EB Expo 2016
Having worked my way through the Playstation booth last night I was free to focus on the rest of the show today. Getting out of bed early isn’t the easiest thing to do but it was very much worth it with my early start letting me get some serious game time in before the expo became too busy. I managed to get through my entire “must play” and still catch a couple of the live events that EB had put on.
This was my first game of the day and it seemed like a good place to start. Slow measured combat that mixes elements of a few games but feels very unique. The sword combat is very interesting and allows for some impressive tactical blade fighting. It is a system of move and counter-move, with button mashing punished swiftly and severely. I did find it a little hard to come to grips with the controls but I am pretty sure that if I had some serious time with it these weird inputs would eventually become second nature. As a side note, the game looks stunning and should be a treat visually in the full release.
Snow sports are back after a long break with Steep and I was very keen to give this one a go. The game threw me into the deep end with no tutorial to help but thankfully, with a little historical knowledge of other snowboarding games, I was able to work out what was going on. This game is certainly more of a sim title than most snowboarding games it values precision and skill over flash. The game ran as smooth as silk making the experience of rushing down a mountain exhilarating. If I have one issue after my time it is that the game didn’t look the best, with a few jagged edges showing up. This may be simply the alpha code I was playing on but I was honestly expecting a better looking game. If I had to choose however I would take smooth gameplay over flashy graphics so the looks aren’t a deal breaker for me.
Paper Mario: Colour Splash
While I was waiting for some of my fellow Player 2 writers to finish with their Final Fantasy demo I managed to spy a spare Wii U controller with the latest Paper Mario game on display. I then proceeded to spend an enjoyable 15 minutes hittings things with mallets, painting objects lacking colour and rescuing useless toad people. This feels very much like the Paper Mario games of old and in my mind, that is a good thing. There is some gimmicky card collecting going on with the combat but apart from that this should be a good buy on a system starved for good buys. Fans should certainly be looking forward to it.
Wow. This one is going to be great, no doubt at all. I managed to get some serious time playing as Emily in a wonderfully bizarre, interesting and imaginative level that involved ever changing rooms, clockwork soldiers and some electrifying traps. A showroom floor isn’t really the place to take things stealthily so I approached the game with a kill everything philosophy and was rewarded with combat and enemy AI that has been improved over the original. Also, Emily’s powers are quite different from Corvo’s with the highlight being a shadow form that can creep out of view and strike from the shadows, think of the Darkness from the game with the same name and you will have a good idea what to expect. Really shaping up to be a must play game and a strong GOTY contender.
Gears of War 4
Horde mode is my life. I spent so many hours in Gears 3 playing Horde mode that it was easily my most played title of that year. So I was super excited to play the latest version of Horde on the show floor. The basic formula remains the same as always but there are some nice refinements and improvements. For starters, bases and defences can be built anywhere, not just on predefined positions, making the game much more fluid in its approach to defeating the waves. The two new enemy factions also require a different approach with teamwork being essential to taking down these fresh threats. That is where my showroom experience was a little sub par as the teamwork wasn’t strong in my group of players. But lack of team support aside this game is looking great and Horde mode is more than enough to make sure I will be picking it up day one.
And that ladies and gents is my EB Expo for another year. Stay tuned over the next few days for more articles, previews and a brand new podcast.