So I touched on this when I wrote about Hitman: Absolution earlier this week, but last weekend saw me head up to Reading for a Microsoft event titled The Gathering 2011. I was there from the Friday evening, sadly missing out on seeing a few games on the Friday afternoon, until the Sunday morning and overall I had a fantastic time. Basically the time was spent playing games, making friends and generally having a good time.
Now I’ve talked about Hitman, Halo, and Ghost Recon but there was far more than that there. However, the rest of the games I felt I didn’t really spend enough time with or gain enough knowledge about to really warrant giving them their own write up. They do still deserve something though, so here’s my thoughts on the rest of what was there.
To be fair I actually could have written about Tomb Raider in its own article. In fact I nearly did. However, it was exactly the same demo that Al has written about before. It’s certainly worth saying though that everything about this game is seeming amazing at the moment. It’s not like I’ve seen a huge amount of the game or the island so far, but the two sections I have seen were both exceptionally impressive.
What really stood out was the way it made me wince. I don’t want to be clichéd and call the game gritty but there’s just some quality about it that really got through to me like few other games have. It’s not just Lara’s misfortune that got to me either; there’s a point where Roth, Captain of the ship that Lara was on and her mentor it would seem, is being tended to by Lara after a wolf’s tried to eat him. She exposed one of his wounds and I couldn’t help but recoil from the screen a little.
After a week to reflect I really can’t pick between this and Hitman: Absolution as the best thing I saw. Either way it was certainly a very strong showing from Square Enix.
Batman: Arkham City
My preview of Rocksteady’s second Batman outing did go up after I’d come back from The Gathering, but it’s written based on my experiences at EGX. Whilst I did see a good amount at The Gathering, a lot of it was pretty similar to what I saw at EGX. It’s hard to say much except to tell you that I’m even more excited for the release next week, although my excitement seems to build pretty much every time I see anything about this game (ok, perhaps not so much with the news about Catwoman).
The main difference from EGX was that I did get a chance to play in one of the game’s challenge rooms. It was a combat challenge, and I tried it as Batman. Chaining moves together is even easier than it was in Asylum, and new elements like triple combos really come in handy here. More important than how it played though was that Rocksteady were taking everyone who played’s score to form a leaderboard. Why is this so important you ask? Well I can came in the top ten, at about seventh if I recall. Go me!
Deus Ex: Human Revolution – The Missing Link DLC
This is a little tricky for me to write about, as I haven’t actually played Deus Ex: Human Revolution. In fact my total time with the Deus Ex franchise is probably under ten hours. That said, this seemed like more of what people like from Deus Ex: Human Revolution going by what people said. Interestingly you’ve had all your abilities stripped away when you begin the DLC’s campaign, so you have to start afresh. For those of you who fancy a bit of a change from how you’ve specced out your character in the main campaign then this seems like a good bet.
The other aspect worthy of note is just how good this looks. Given how much smaller this area is than the main game (it lacks the open hub areas) Eidos Montreal’s artists have really gone to town. It’s clear almost instantly that a lot of work has gone into the textures, and people in the room who had played through Human Revolution seemed suitably impressed.
Before I forget, I should mention the DLC’s boss fight. It seems the developers are keenly aware that no-one really seemed to enjoy the boss fights from the main game, mostly due to the fact that you needed to be set up for combat to stand a chance. In response to this, the The Missing Link’s boss fight has been balanced such that if you want to stealth your way through you again, the same goes for combat, hacking and social. Although the boss fight itself wasn’t on show, hopefully the DLC’s finale will live up to that promise.