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This weekend I ventured up to the capital city of England to one of Europe’s biggest game expos known as Eurogamer Expo, or EGX. All of the big boys like Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Twitch, Nvidia and many others had stands dotted all around the show floor showing off their latest titles and tech. Although the queues were often astronomical (1 hour 45 just to try the new Call of Duty game) I managed to squeeze in some quality game time and tried out a few pieces of tech and a few games. Read on to hear my picks from an awesome weekend where the drinks and games flowed and I got to meet a load of awesome people from the community.
Firstly I will start with Nvidia who had an enclosed, blacked out stand showcasing their new graphics card range (The 900 series) and also showing off their new Gsync 4k monitors in partnership with BenQ, Asus, Acer and AOC. I had an in depth chat with the European marketing manager of Nvidia who explained that the new GTX 970 and GTX980 are blowing all other cards out of the water, he explained the 980 will outperform my current 680 by 90% at a 1080p resolution and even more when upping the resolution… Wow I think I know what I’m asking for for Christmas! He also showed off the new Gsync 4k monitors which had a “Project Cars” (a newly inbound driving sim) demo to play which looked incredible. I tried the game which was running at 60fps on a 4k monitor. The sharpness of the game and the way the lighting and shadows worked looked as lifelike as any game I had seen.
The system this was running on was of course powered by the new GTX series cards which are even more affordable now with the GTX 970 weighing in at around £260 and the GTX 980 at around £420. Seeing as the 780ti released at around £700 it shows that Nvidia are willing to compete with the price point of the AMD cards, essentially ruining the opinion that Nvidia cards are overpriced compared with AMD. I feel Nvidia is really running ahead in the graphics card race and with a number of peripherals like the Nvidia Shield tablet and games controller as well as software like Shadow Play the future of gaming is definitely looking more green than red!
Included in the Nvidia stand was the chance to play the 3rd generation of the infamous Oculus Rift. For those who have been stuck in a cave the past few years, The Oculus Rift is an upcoming virtual reality head mounted display offering an amazing virtual reality environment and was something that I had been looking to play for a while. The actual Oculus Rift demo area also had a huge queue so I managed to get my eyes into the rift after a short wait at the Nvidia stand.
The game on show was Eve: Valkyrie and boy did it come off well. The second you put on the eye – set and headset you feel full engrossed in the environment and almost transported into the game. With the headset on I turned around to talk to my friend only to be encountered by the back of my space ships chair and a lot of tech equipment in the game. Literally every angle has you engrossed and the gameplay felt smooth and great to control. I played against my friend Fred and you are both launched into a space setting (Imagine a space battle scene in Star Wars) with the aim being to shoot down your opponent as you pilot a ship. You actually feel like you’re controlling the ship and a turn of the head only helps you get a better view of your 360 degree surroundings. The one let down was that the tech demo was only in 720p making the edges feel a bit jagged although with feeling so immersed in the game this didn’t really matter. This is definitely a bit of tech I will be following and I’m extremely looking forward to a public release.
Next I ventured over to the Alien: Isolation stand. I have recently felt a load of hype around this game and the queue which circled around the booth confirmed that this was indeed a popular title. Finally managing to get through the queue, we were led into a dark room and shown a short trailer of the game before entering a competition booth where the aim was to get to the end of the survival level of the game without the alien catching you. Graphically the game looked superb (I was playing on the Xbox One) and the lighting, shadows and dark metally shades worked very well. The soundscape and music also really gave a creepy aura to the game and the intensity sure gained as you attempted to avoid the inbound alien as you crept around the abandoned surroundings.
The problem was the controls, which felt clunky with input lag being a huge concern. It felt like a second before the player character actually responded to movement of the joystick and, when moved, the action happened far too quickly on screen. Now, if this game was available on PC this is something that could easily be remedied, however, only being available on the Xbox One and Playstation 4 I couldn’t help but think the controls let the game down. I don’t know if the experience is the same as the PS4 but they say a PC version is being discussed so I think I’ll hold on until then before I make the plunge.
Next I ventured around to the Gauntlet booth and got the chance to venture into the remake of the popular multiplayer RPG title. The game had a very Diablo III/Torchlight feel about it. There was a demo level available to play, unfortunately there wasn’t any sound in the demo which didn’t allow me to feel properly immersed in the game. It did play very well though and I could imagine the four player multiplayer being very fun with friends although the game was very hard and I could feel a lot of rage quits during battling through the levels. The aim is to hack and slash through different enemies from wizards, necromancers, archers and many more whilst solving small puzzles and taking on different bosses.
As I said, it had a very Diablo feel to it which isn’t a bad thing. I just couldn’t get far into it due to the lack of sound but I could imagine a few friends battling through this being a great bit of fun and as you don’t require a mammoth PC to play it it should be accessible to most PC gamers. The controls were sleek and the combat system was well implemented. The game is available now so I’m looking forward to cracking some multiplayer action with friends with this one.
Last but not least a real gem that I found whilst walking around the “Rezzed” area, renowned for hosting the finest indie games. The game Lumino City may not be known to many but boy is it a game I can’t wait to get my hands on. The game is an adventure game created by State of Play Games and the developer was very hands on in his demonstration of the game.
The stand sported some amazing handcrafted paper, card and wooden models of the levels with a very niche and bespoke feel and these were replicated perfectly in the game. With Lumino City you play a young girl who is in search of her grandfather, a quest that allows you to venture through a beautifully crafted paper world solving multiple puzzles that stand in your way. Think Broken Sword style point and click item and world interaction whilst moving between areas and taking items found from previous scenes to help you with your tasks. The animation was very free flowing and the tasks difficult enough to have you pondering over your next move. This is a game I 100% recommend you check out and I’ll leave a trailer below just so you can see what the game is like.
That completes my round up of my Eurogamer 2014 adventure. I got to meet some great people from the wider gaming community as well as a load of friends in the YouTube and Twitch scene. Overall, it was a very busy weekend packed with Nintendo, Playstation and Xbox competitions, lots of screaming and enthusiastic fans, beer, large queues, product placement, and a lot of people talking passionately about their games and tech. I’ll definitely be attending the event next year and I can’t wait to see what new games are on the horizon