EB Games Expo 2012: Day 1 Impressions

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I got back from the first day of EB Games Expo here in Sydney a couple hours ago. Long day! I think by the time you're all done reading this, I'll be labeled a cynic. Keep in mind, these are quick impressions of the games I sampled, because I am knackered and need sleep.

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The Games:

  • Halo 4:
    The multiplayer was what was showcased, none of the single player. It just felt like Halo multiplayer. Graphics didn't seem amazing, like what I've seen floating around the internet, so I guess they're hiding all the awesome textures in the single player.
  • Metal Gear Rising:
    I can see this being fun for awhile. My understanding is you have a "Fuel Cell' meter that enables you to go into "Sword mode" for a limited amount of time. In sword mode, time slows down and you can set the angle of your sword slash for enemy consistency. I don't know how it's going to end up as a game, though. I don't see this one mechanic making me want to sit through a handful or more hours -- Unless its 75% cutscenes and a couple of hours hacking people apart and firing rockets at Gekkos.
  • New Super Mario Bros. U:
    It's pretty much more New Super Mario Bros. It supports up to 5 players, 4 players controlling on-screen characters (with Wii-mote) and the player with the WiiU controller assisting by adding temporary blocks or stunning enemies. I guess this mode is called Boost mode and was what was featured for this demo.
  • PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale:
    I put a few rounds into this. I think the only way I can describe this is imagine Super Smash Brothers (insert flavour here). Now distill it until you've removed all the fun. Now make it feel slower. That's my impression of PSASBR. The character diversity feels awkward, the level designs feel rather plain. Ugh.
  • Ratchet and Clank: Q-Force:
    I don't know what to say about this, really. To me, it just felt like more Ratchet and Clank. Not a bad thing!
  • Scribblenauts Unlimited:
    If you've played Scribblenauts or Super Scribblenauts, it's the same concept, except you do your manipulation and word entry with the WiiU controller, while others can watch on the TV. You can get multiple quests a level now, it seems.
  • Silent Hill: Book of Memories:
    This didn't click with me at all. It's a top down dungeony-crawler thing with RPG stuff. Not a fan of the controls, in particular the process for opening something and then looting it.
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time:
    Yes. It was tasty.
  • Skylanders: Giants:
    I never really followed this, but I played the battle arena versus mode and won in 26 seconds. Essentially, I discovered how my character worked first, ensuring victory over my wife. They gave us a Dark Spyro Skylander for playing.
  • Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed:
    It's sort of like Mario Kart, except you're a car, no wait there's water, you're a boat.. Nono... You're a jet.
  • Tokyo Jungle:
    I'm pretty sure I am going to pick this up, because my wife and I played this together and she enjoyed our Pomeranian and Deer escapades, however short they were. Beagles need to be nerfed.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown:
    This looks pretty interesting. Granted, I only got to play through the tutorial, it does have this tactical turn-based thing going for it. Combat is pretty lethal and like certain other games, seems like it could "resolve" fairly quickly.

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WiiU:

The success of this console, I think, really hinges on Nintendo's first through third party developers really creatively utilizing the WiiU controller. A lot of the third party games I've seen have really just been using the screen as a map. Ineffective utilisation of the hardware coupled with shovelware could end up being a death knell for the console. I also think Nintendo needs to be extremely clear on what peripherals are needed for what, as confusing the consumer isn't going to be a benefit for them.

The controller itself, to me, isn't that heavy, but my wife seems to disagree. Also, the controller itself remains surprisingly cool, despite the screen inside it.

One worrying thing is on ports. I'm hoping the preview copy of Assassin's Creed 3 is just an old build, because there were serious frame rate issues.

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Panels:

We attended two panels. The first was 'Ladies in Gaming'. Hosted by Geek Bomb's Maude Garrett and Rae Johnston, it contained panelist from various aspects of the gaming industry. I'll be honest, we were mainly there for "Hex" of Good Game fame (co-host), as well as, Janet Carr (creator and exec-producer of Good Game\Good Game: SP). However, Rebecca Fernandez (CMO of Convict Interactive/ programmer), Tash Richards (Creator, Editor-in-chief at SaveGameOnline), Kirsty Sculler (Games Lecturer), and Snezana Stojanovska (Regional EA Asia PR Manager) all provided some great discourse on how to get in to particular fields of the industry as well as their own personal experiences.

Later on in the day there was a somewhat impromptu panel with Charles Martinet. He is the voice of Mario, Luigi, Waluigi, Wario, baby Mario\Luigi, Paarthurnax from Skyrim, and others. He seems to be a really happy\upbeat guy and has a pretty interesting origins story for the voice of Mario. Apparently he refers to Miyamoto-san as "Papa"

There's still a few games I haven't given a go (Injustice, God of War, others) or written about here (Like NatGeo for Kinect). Not sure if I'll give them a go, as I expect tomorrow to be significantly more crowded than today and my primary goal is to hunt down the Good Game crew.

Oh and here's Ed Boon:

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Behold! Polygon's favourite Sony product!

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Well I went more in depth that I anticipated (I uploaded photos?!), so I leave you Slenderman dancing with Juliet Starling:

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I hope you're happy now, LivingTarget.