It isn't often we get big gaming events in London so I was looking forward to Play.com's Live show at Wembley at the weekend.
Although a vast majority of the games on show were already available in stores for some time there were a few unreleased titles to get my grubby hands on. I had a play with Haze, Gran Tourismo 4 prologue, Football Manager Live, God of War for PSP, Bourne Conspiracy, Grid, and Rock band
Plus there were a closed show and tell of Farcry 2 which was the big highlight of the event.
Aswell as the games they had some other entertainment to keep the crowds happy. This including some bands, blu-ray movie demos and of course the booth babes. Ubisoft clearly spent the most on the booth babes with a near constant performance by the Rainbow Six Vegas 2 Show girls to Elvis' Viva Las Vegas.
There were numerous contests including prizes of trips to Las Vegas (courtesy of Ubisoft), PS3s, 360s and a brand new Ducati motorbike (from Sandisk).
It was clear Microsoft was looking to expand its demographic from just hardcore games as there was a serious push for the casual gamer market. Reps were announcing "xbox is for the whole family" and had a selection of casual games and events. This included a dancemat game with dance off contests and some recent xbox live arcade casual games. I also got preached to about the xbox arcade price drop making it the cheapest next/current Gen console.
Playstation seemed to be focusing on promoting their "coming soon" line up as there isn't a great selection already out. They had rolling demos of Street fighter 4, Little Big planet, Haze and the same tired old Killzone2 trialer.
The main feature was a Gran Tourismo 4 contest. 4 PS3s were set up in race car rigs and fastest lapt times won prizes and a chance to go to the finals at another event and win £50,000. Needless to say I failed to come close to the target time. In my defense I forgot to adjust the seat and so the brake was so close to my foot I was constantly pressing it without realising and had to move my foot to the left whenever I wanted to not break instead of just easing back - not a problem I'd have in my living room if I do get this game.
While Most of the screens at the show were the black Samsung screens that seem to be becoming the HD standard Playstation were using beautiful Sony Screens that looked vastly superior to the samsung ones and made the 1080p games look even better.
There was a poor showing for Wii, which as a Wii owner was disappointing for me. Only the niche and obscure games appeared at the show and then only in the developer boths like THQ and Sega. Nintendo had no dedicated area. At least the Wii games had the smartest booth babes of the show who actually knew how to play and demo the games
I was sad not to see Force Unleashed, Spore, or Super Smash Bros Brawl at the event.
There were a few things at the event that were simply laughable
Mac gaming - A row of Macs running games that had been out on PC for 2yrs+ including titles like Quake 4 and Neverwinter Nights. LMAO
Booth babes that knew nothing about the games. I asked the God of War babe about how to do a particular attack and she admitted to have only played the game for 10mins and could only tell me how to open doors. Brilliant.
Scalectrix!? I think it was an iWant sponsored event but they had a scalectrix set up in a prominent position and some related contest. They also had Dr Who and what I can only describe as Nerd gadgets for sale. On 1 hand they are trying to show gaming is for everyone and on the other hand they are viewing gamers as supernerds that would be into the obscure stuff they were selling.
- Visually top notch although not breath taking
- Game play was fluid and paced right
- Nothing to get too excited about
- easy to get lost. Most people stopped playing not when they died but when they couldn't find the next objective
- Looks even better than in the videos
- Running a November build on windows XP looked breath taking and being assured that latest build is looking much better plus there is a DX10 version which will add extra eye candy
- Incredible AI leading to great replayability - No scripted event, NPCs go and do what they want. Buddies that can help you out. Killing an NPC or buddies is permanent and causes reprocussions. For example killing a leader of a clan will cause the next in line to take his place and he may have a completely different character to the last leader.
- coming out on PS3 360 and PC
- most visually impressive driving game I've ever seen. First in 1080p
- handles a lot better than PGR4
- features TV options in the game menu including watching car related shows like top gear
Football Manager Live
- Great vision by the developers
- Can really see it has been 5 years in the making
- Every Football manager wannabee's dream
- can't say too much now have to listen to the podcast on Friday
- Only booth were the booth babe had actually played the game for more than 5mins
- Game control was surprisingly accurate, good combination of IR sensor and gyro/accelerometer
God of War for PSP
- Cannot believe it was running on a standard PSP. Incredible the graphics and running really smooth.
- Must have for PSP owners
Army of Two
- Interesting new game mechanics make it stand out from the swarm of other fps shooters now on consoles
- Steep learning curve if you skip the tutorial
- encourages tactics and team work (aggro management, back2back, using shields, healing)
Ghostbusters rolling demo
- Graphically looked like a PS2 game.
- Seems the Wii version of this game would be much more fun than other formats with the tools the Ghostbuster team use suiting the wii remote
Condemned rolling demo
- Stuff we've all seen before
There was an Unreal Tournament 3 Lan contest but seemed to be only for organised clans. There were some top clans their from Germany and US all sponsored up and playing like they were super robots.
- Managed to grab hold of 3 DVDs over the two days. Knocked up, Ice Age and Spongebob movie
- Final Fantasy Posters
- Key fob and Metal car reg plate form Stuntman
- Mini book/comic from Conan
More pics on my flickr