Why I Found Gamescom Underwhelming

This time last week, I was trying to figure out where on earth I was supposed to get my fancy lanyard with the pink bit at the bottom, to say that I was part of the gaming press and let me get behind closed doors for my various interviews, game presentations and hands on time.

Very quickly, I found myself feeling a little apathetic to what was being shown, and I’m not entirely sure why. Looking back to last Tuesday, when I was in attendance at EA and Sony’s press conferences, I came away from them both feeling generally quite happy with what they had shown.

However, both of them had generally reasserted their position; EA rolled out new demos and footage of FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, Titanfall and Plants vs. Zombies, whilst Sony went all out with reiterating their love for indie dvelopers and what they can bring to their platforms.

In fact it wasn’t that there weren’t any new games; Sony announced a ton of new smaller titles, from Shadow of the Beast and Resogun to Helldivers and Rime, yet stayed away from the games which they had already shown at E3 and before. They didn’t have a big surprise title from one of their core studios, and this left them a little trapped.

When it came to the behind closed doors presentations, there wasn’t quite enough juicy gossip and game demonstration to catch my imagination. There wasn’t that big new announcement which everyone really wants to get their hands on, but rather tidbits of new information in amongst what we already knew. DriveClub’s vision has been stated repeatedly, we know roughly what Knack is about, and The Order had only talk of Ready At Dawn’s – admittedly lovely – new game engine.

Many of the PlayStation’s new indie announcements were playable, but I sadly didn’t have time to see many of them for more than a few moments, and the developers were often unable to talk about them in depth.

Maybe that’s where my apathy stems from? Or, due to being TSA’s sole reporter in Cologne, it could be sourced from the fact that I didn’t have the time/appointments to see the games that amaze me? I missed out on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, for example, and didn’t get to see Killzone: Shadow Fall either.

But there were a few games which really did capture my imagination. Wolfenstein: The New Order came out of nowhere and surprised me with its self-aware style of game design, whilst TitanFall really is as good as they say it is. Mad Max looks like it could evolve into a big winner, and The Division shows an incredible aptitude for comprehensive world creation from the guys at Ubisoft Massive.


The same could be said for Bungie’s Destiny, but this along with Mad Max and The Division, they are all just a bit too far off for the massed hands-on time which they would deserve. What they show was impressive, but I didn’t get to sit down and enjoy them, and had to take to the show floor to see what they had to offer with their presentations.

I have certainly found, as I write up all of the articles, that there were some excellent games on show. Yet, for every game which I really enjoyed seeing or playing, there was something on the opposite side, where – and I must stress, there was nothing I saw that was truly bad – they didn’t have a good example to show. Battlefield 4 struggled with not being able to truly demonstrate “Levolution” to its full potential; I also felt the same about Call of Duty: Ghosts and its dynamic multiplayer maps, though perhaps not as much.

That’s where the problem lies. These are all good games with high potential, but they were all in a very unfinished state. Some developers were able to work past this and show a great example of what they’re working on, but so many brought their game to Gamescom and I felt like I had to really search for the game’s potential and articulate it.

With the finalised console hardware soon to be in everyone’s hands (many games on show were still using PCs and target hardware) and more the matured/less hurried development able to come from that, fingers crossed that all the developers at next year’s Gamescom will blow my toe socks off.



  1. Gamescom overall was pretty flat but I felt Microsoft had the stronger lineup overall. I certainly got more excited about their stuff than Sony’s anyway.

    Like E3, Titanfall was considered by most the best in show (it does look amazing) and the news of FIFA being free was a huge deal.

    Sony on the other hand missed their chance to show off an impressive next-gen lineup and instead dedicated almost an entire conference to a bunch of 2D indie titles (not hating on indie titles whatsoever but they hardly show off the PS4s raw grunt).

    Obviously Sony will shift more units this Christmas thanks to a lower price and more friendly PR, but I personally would be pretty disappointed with the PS4s software lineup if I was getting their console this holiday.

    • you would say that imo your a xboxfan going by your posts on this site. if I was you I would play the games before telling PS4 fans they should be disappointed.

      • To be fair I didn’t say you (or anyone else on this site for that matter) should be disappointed. I was just saying if I had pre-ordered a PS4, the painfully limited exclusives at launch would be an annoyance to me.

        Killzone looks great obviously, but DriveClub looks very disappointing at the moment (30 FPS?!), while Knack really isn’t my sort of game.

        I was expecting Gamescom to bring loads of new PS4 titles to the table and instead we got a bunch of small indie titles which wouldn’t have looked out of place on the Ouya system. Wasn’t impressed one bit.

      • PS4 won best console & controller at gamescom think the PS4 will be fine. games look fine to me as well 33 games in the first month!! disappointed if you say so that is 10 more than MS have at launch.

      • you will be in for a shock on XB1 then there hoping to get 30Fps in DR3.

      • 30FPS in an open-world title is pretty much a given. In a racing game where things need to be silky smooth, 60FPS is an absolute must.

      • they are hoping to reach 30Fps on a next gen machine that is awful.

      • lol wow its nothing about being a fan of a certain system, bit silly.

        The PS4 line-up is disappointing and heck i love my playstation but surely it could be better. 2014 seems more promising and i’m stupidly enthusiastic for whatever Naughty Dog or Media Molcule will make.

      • I don’t get people who call games they have never played disappointing it makes no sense to me.

    • Why? Both 1st party games are boring tbh. It’s the multi-platform games what are the interesting games. But PS4 is cheaper so add 2 games and your good.

      Titanfall isn’t coming till next year anyway so that means no difference to this years line-up…

    • Didn’t Destiny win the Best of Show award at Gamescom?

      • Have to say the only xbox exclusive I liked the look of is Titanfall. Thankfully it’ll be coming to PS4 then :-)
        Other than that its 3rd party only for me so far. Really wished Naughty Dog had something early for PS4.

    • “but I personally would be pretty disappointed with the PS4s software lineup if I was getting their console this holiday.”

      I dont get this, the launch line ups are so similar. What in particular makes the Xbox launch seem so much more appealing?

      • I suppose it all comes down to personal tastes. For me, whilst Killzone looks stunning, DriveClub and Knack don’t appeal to me in the slightest.
        Dead Rising 3, Forza 5, Ryse, Project Spark and Killer Instinct however all look great to me, with Titanfall, Quantum Break and the new Kinect Sports shortly after.
        For me there is no contest in that regard.

    • “they hardly show off the PS4s raw grunt”


      • That’s a hell of a way to clear your throat.

      • Looks pretty but its nothing we haven’t already seen in Super Stardust HD :)

      • we have never seen a game like titanfall before have we above :)

      • I’m sorry, but can you not see the thousands and thousands of voxels all being rendered and interacting as individual physics objects?! There’s one hell of a bit of grunt needed to push that!

      • @Skibadee – Titanfall has some great ideas but, at it’s core, yes it has certainly been done before (its a shooter after all, lol).

        To be clear, I’m not for one second accusing the PS4’s software library of lacking potential innovation, after all indie basically equals innovation.
        I’m just saying, while the likes of Killzone make you look at the PS4 and think “wow, that’s pretty”, most of the indie titles on show could have easily worked on an Android device. It just seems a bizarre step to focus so much on those games when your new console is brimming with technical potential.

  2. With all the hype for this years Gamescom i must admt i found it quite underwhelming, there was nothing really mind blowing to come out of it for me. I think my feelings toward Gamescom are because i was expecting some footage from the big hitters.

  3. I like the look of Knack & Planetside 2 is a new game to me never played it Killzone looks the most nest gen to me out of games so far.

  4. I didn’t have the fortune to go behind closed doors but had similar feelings on the show floor.
    For me I felt that it was an extension of E3, and in some cases a repeat.

    It was nice to see the Titanfall mech up close and feel the initial buzz of the crown being wowed by the big screens.

    However, Destiny looked like an almost verbatim repeat of E3. EQN had tech issues and mostly repeated SOE Live. The Division I joined too late and was 1 spot out form being able to see it that day.
    MK8 is very much like MK7.

    I think I would have gotten the most out of it if I was a League of Legends player/fan as the PC hall was nuts.

    • Oh, I also got hands on with Beyond… in a truck outside my hotel on the main street, promoting Gamescom. This was a little more interesting.

      Maybe the internet has just spoiled things.

  5. I think the real problem is E3 and the first half of this year. Hardware was revealed and E3 was a giddy show of Sony frothing PlayStation’s creamy goodness across the entire gaming world. We’d all been whipped up into a frenzy and everything a couple of months later (ie. Gamescon) was just going to feel so very dour in comparison.

    It’s either the above or TSA sent a miserable git to Gamescon. :-P

  6. I liked what was shown overall but I found most of the conferences to be a bit ‘relaxed and groovy’, like they’d done all the hard work for the year and gamescom was to just show a bit more of the same to keep us going until the next gen release.

    Obviously not related to gamescom itself…but I wish EA had revealed Bad Company 3 instead of Battlefield 4 for next gen. For me personally, it would have been a much better reveal for the new consoles. I absolutely loved Bad Company 2!

  7. I don’t see the big deal with Titanfall, and still don’t understand how it had best at show at E3, but then again I haven’t played it.
    I didn’t think much of EA’s show, and Sony’s was just game after game at one point. Although, if you’re not interested in indie titles, Sony’s show would have been awfully boring for you.

    By the way, Tef, did you win the pretzels and beer when Command & Conquer was being played?

    • I would imagine it appeals to people for different reasons but for me Titanfall focuses on several aspects which are important to me:

      1. Its multiplayer. I hate single player shooters so the fact they are putting full focus on the multiplayer component is good news to me.
      2. Given it is from the old Infinity Ward, you know the gameplay is going to be fast paced and feel great.
      3. Unlike Battlefield where vehicles are extremely overpowered, the Mechs are apparently very balanced, with both foot soldiers and Mechs having different pros and cons.
      4. The “Mirrors Edge”-esque gameplay is apparently brilliantly integrated and feels natural, opening up the battlefield in every dimension.
      5. It features human players and BOTs. Something that most shooters even now fail to implement. Sometimes I want to be able to fire up a round against some sims, ala Perfect Dark and Timesplitters and its awesome Titanfall is going to offer that option.

      For those who aren’t huge shooter fans, I get it, the game probably just looks like another dude-bro gunfight, but personally the game is dripping with potential and looks one of the more “next gen” titles we have seen thus far.

      • Yeah. It’s that, pretty much. I have a preview coming, I think. I can’t keep track.

    • Ha! Nope, but that was a lie. The pretzels and beer were for everyone.

  8. you know, if you need a hand covering gamescom next year, i could always drive up to cologne and help you out. as a favour to TSA of course and nothing at all to do with the fact i’ll get to play and see shiny new games.

Comments are now closed for this post.