We take a look at the fancy new games that were showcased at this years Eurogamer Expo:
I had a chance to sit down and play a tutorial mission and the second level of XCOM. I was worried at first, a lot of elements have been cut since the original: you no longer have to move your squad out of the dropship, you can’t loot bodies, the technology and research tree seems to be much more linear and it doesn’t look like missions are truly random anymore. However, after playing the second mission I can confidently say that these alterations actually streamline the experience, rather then weaken it. You now focus more on keeping your men alive and defeating the enemy then wondering if your soldiers can carry an alien probe back to the dropship. There are some large improvements to the series as well: not only does the game look beautiful, but it plays beautifully as well, orders are much easier to make this time around, and an incredible amount of attention has been spent on the user interface to make it as accessible as possible. The most encouraging thing I can say about this game is that when the excrement hit the fan and floaters were vaporising my men left, right and centre: I was back, it felt just like the original.
I was sceptical that multiplayer could work in God of War, but boy was I wrong. GoW’s multiplayer seems to focus around a game-type called Favour of the Gods. Two teams (Spartans and Trojans) fight to the death in a large, multi-level arena with a huge titan thrashing about in the background. The arena has interactive elements, such as spike pits that players can trigger, and every player swings into the battle via zip-line. When the match reaches the halfway mark, the Gods present a holy weapon that must be used to destroy the titan. The game shifts from team-deathmatch to king of the hill, with every player trying to yank the holy weapon from out of the ground. When a player finally manages to retrieve the weapon, their team wins and everyone is presented with an incredibly gruesome takedown of the titan. It looks and plays brilliantly.
The latest Company of Heroes puts you in the shoes of a Russian general during World War 2 on the Eastern Front. The story revolves around a Russian journalist travelling along the front, which conveniently allows you to partake in some of the biggest battles of World War 2. Taking cover and flanking the enemy are still the primary tactics, but troops such as the flame-thrower engineering team allow for a much more spray and pray approach. I managed to complete the level by rushing my engineering team right into the middle of a German stronghold while charring everything along the way. The environment has a much larger role to play this time around, with deep snow slowing your men and tanks leaving tracks that you can follow. This latest outing manages to keep everything that was great about the original Company of Heroes and transport it to a much more brutal setting.
I should never become an assassin. In my playthrough of the demo I blew my cover multiple times, I only managed to kill the target by stumbling upon him and I must have killed half of the Chinatown Police Force. But most importantly, I had a blast doing it. From the short demo I played, I think this could be one of the best Hitman to date (on par with Blood Money). The developers have nailed exactly what it means to play Hitman with dozens of ways to kill a target. Some methods are hinted at by the game, but most can be left for the player to discover. I doubt that anybody else at Eurogamer killed the target by throwing a petrol can across a fish market and blowing it up. Ready your garrottes; if the rest of the game plays like the demo then we should be very excited.
Dishonoured blew me away. While Hitman offers dozens of ways to kill a target, Dishonoured offers thousands. A few examples of how people have reached the target in the demo: sneak their way in, shoot their way in, teleport across rooftops to jump in from above, find a secret passage at the side of the building, create a diversion and walk in undetected, creep into the building across it’s water pipes, possess a guard to walk through the front door, possess a fish to enter the building underneath… The possibilities truly seem endless. It feels like the developers have said: if you can do it, then it’s the right way of doing it. While queuing to play, the staff were telling us how one player managed to complete the demo in 56 seconds. Any other developer would see this as a failure, but Bethesda embrace and applaud it. Dishonoured doesn’t treat you like a child: it knows you are intelligent and offers you a puzzle, how you complete it is up to you.
Rocksmith was an unexpected surprise. The game takes the Guitar Hero formula but lets you do it with your real guitar. Ubisoft were showing bass, electric and acoustic guitars that plugged into the game. Players can tune their guitars through Rocksmith, play Guitar Hero-like games or just use it as an amp through the TV. Ubisoft plans to release new songs every week with 50 songs coming with the game.