Eurogamer Expo 2013 Awards

5 Oct

I spent upwards of four hours in queues and I’m fairly certain it gave me a cold, but I’d still rate this year’s Eurogamer Expo a solid 8/10, and not simply because I don’t have to drive there and back from Cardiff anymore. Here are the videogames that stood out from similarly videogamesey videogames with particular mastery of the vertical slice.

Best Game That Lots of Other People are Saying is the Best Game: Titanfall

titanfall

A few years back I was reading a Resistance 2 postmortem which detailed how Insomniac filmed multiplayer footage for trailers – stuff along the lines of “Can we get someone with a rocket launcher on the roof” and other stage directions. Everyone does it, of course, but I don’t believe Titanfall needs to. It’s almost overwhelmingly dense with cool stuff, happening everywhere and constantly moving – not once do I remember standing stilll. I do remember flanking hordes of AI enemies, making hasty jetpack-aided retreats and blasting apart an enemy mech with my own, before squishing the ejected pilot under a stomping titanium boot. It could be, honest to God, the finest marriage between momentum and gunplay since Tribes: Ascend – and with EA’s cash and Respawn’s shooter pedigree, one that’s likely to last a lot longer.

Best Game I Wouldn’t Have Played If I Hadn’t Gone With My Friend Greg, But Did and Enjoyed It: Elder Scrolls Online

eso

I couldn’t find it anywhere, but we’ve all seen the video: a mage hops off a wooden pier and spends about two thousand years slinging spells at an advancing mudcrab. It looked awful, and my interest in ESO managed to drop even further below what I can normally muster for any given MMO.

Happily, after some sneaky redesigning (which I can only assume came about by a lead writing “Fuck it, make it like Skyrim” on the office whiteboard), it’s in alluring shape. It is very much like Skyrim, all monochrome menus, squinty-eye stealth indicators and combat where you actually have to hit the bad thing rather than standing ten feet away and pressing “1” Jesus Christ how is that even remotely entertaining, but with the added rough-and-tumble playfulness of half a dozen extra adventurers knocking about. I probably won’t buy it unless a few chums do so first…but I’m basically hoping they will.

Best Game Which Didn’t Attempt to Push The Hardware It Was Running On In the Slightest: Octodad: Dadliest Catch

octodad

I don’t intend on buying either of this year’s big new consoles, but I was at least curious to try one out.  I keenly tracked down some queue-free PS4 stations in the little section Virgin Media had set up (the same place I’d checked out the slightly disappointing Oculus Rift earlier in the day), having keenly forgotten to enter the actual PS4 and Xbone booths, and had a quick blast through Knack and the Octodad sequel.

The wedding-themed tutorial didn’t show off anything – besides the setting, of course – that you couldn’t do in the original limb-flapping sim, but Eurogamer was a strangely perfect place to play it. For a solo game, it becomes exponentially more entertaining when other people are around – from the chorus of laughter that erupts when you break a window while trying to put on a bow tie, to the exasperated gasps when someone effortlessly struts clean down the aisle after you destroyed half the church attempting the same. It’s glorious, if a weirdly lo-def choice for showing off the PlayStation 4 – a machine that could go toe-to-toe with a PC twice its price.

Best Game That I Broke: Ratchet & Clank: Nexus

racnexus

When Insomniac aren’t directing adverts, they’re making the best 3D action-platformers on the market. Nexus is a skillful and immensely welcome return to the light, bright, jumpin’-and-fights of the PS2 and Future games; and that’s pretty much all you need to know about it. Especially since a slightly over-energetic assault on a turret position caused the demo to crash, somehow locking the weapon select menu on-screen and causing indecipherable runes like “DEBUG 029304830” to flash up. In the absence of a Sony rep who might know to fix it, I took matters into my own hands: I quietly set the controller down and left.

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