Pan Vision Playground 2012
New games are in the making all the time, and we have to keep up with the news accordingly. Most of the times, I just check in on other game news sites and read the press releases coming my way, but once a year I get to visit the annual biggest gaming venue in the nordic for press, media and buyers. This year Tinne and Jenny got to tag along, and they both look forward to next year as well. We will also be at the Beep 2012 gadget convention in about two months.
We had a hoot playing some of the upcoming games, discussing what we tried, what we liked and what we disliked over dinner and in the car home. Other subjects in our girltalk aren’t for sore ears and should remain in the dark. The event was placed inside an old hangar of some sort, with 100 feet of the venue there was a dump space for scrap metal, and looking in the other direction, free time sailors was having a good time in the perfect weather. Below you’ll see us in front of a badass car, hanging out and having fun in a quite extraordinary environment.
Gaming booths worth mentioning is Far Cry 3, Assassins Creed III and of course the cars EA had placed on the show floor to promote the upcoming open world Need for Speed game subtitled Most Wanted.
Now to the primary reason why we were at the event; games! After the initial greeting, we ended up splitting in groups, trying out different games and then occasionally look for each other to see what the other girls were playing. My fiance was of course also at the venue, but for the danish version of Toms Hardware, for which he’s an editor, not this site – for obvious reasons. He looks silly in my dresses.
While the event didn’t meet my expectations, the games sure did. I simply joyed a couple of times, as there were games I didn’t expect to get hands-on with.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
I have had my eyes on this game for some time, and for each character reveal squealed a bit in excitement. I jumped when Drake from Uncharted was announced, a joyed when I heard Kat from Gravity Rush would be in there, and I’m still crossing my fingers that the rumors of Crash Bandicoot starring in the game will turn out to be true. There’s a few characters that I can’t help but think they aren’t quite blending in with the rest; Toro, Pappa the Rapper and Fat Princess seems odd compared to the rest. The rest of the rooster, Big Daddy, Drake, Kratos and Sweet Tooth for example, they fit very well together.
It’s a fun for all fighter, and no one will end up waiting for the rest to finish up as you just respawn when you’re killed – in the game mode that were playable at the booth at least. There’s no doubt that this game will be very fun to play with friends over a drink or five, but the fun stops there; I don’t think many people will sit down and play it for hours on end. The single most awesome feature of the game is that the background interferes with the fight, so the players have to account for what’s going on at the same time they are trying to take out their contestants. Up to four players can play at once, and Sony has promised that Vita and PS3 players can play against each other.
I was playing as Drake in most of the fights as I wanted to get used to one character – and I adored his powers as well. With the Super Power, Drake throws a barrel and when you hit the button again, he shoots the barrel, making it explode and damage the opponents – making a powerful strike to the opponents and thus their health.
It’s a new fighting style button wise, so I’d say that Tekken, Soul Calibur and Street Fighter players are equal in strength when PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale releases, and it’s a nice refreshment for both hardcore and casual players. It would also be quite easy to lure new gamers to play with you.
I did not expect a Wii U being present at the show – after all, the nordic region isn’t that big of a deal in the gaming business in the grand scheme of things. But as I walked around on the show floor admiring some of the great booths, I realised I was looking at ZombiU, and it was live play. I rushed to get a look at the controller, and it looked more robust than I had gathered from the pictures.
I watched eagerly as the guys in front of my took turns playing the game, and at last I got the controller handed over to me. I took a closer look at the controller from various angles, checking where the different buttons were located, weighing the controller in my hands to get a feel of it. Then the game started; I was a randomly named dude in a dark room. Looking around in the dim light, making sure there wasn’t any zombies about to lunge at me. Going through a creepy bathroom, finding a knapsack and going through the inventory on the controllers screen was a little unnerving. For now I felt safe, but I had to make progress in the game (that is what games is all about, isn’t it?) and I finally found a metal fence with a door in it – going through it unveiled a stairwell.
Now, my job was to escape from the The Buckingham Palace, and I’ve seen the previous guys fight for their lives against the infected guards. Looking between the map on the controller and the screen to make sure there wasn’t a zombie waiting around the corner. I thought I did pretty good, but I was killed before I learned how to neutralize the zombies and I had to start over again. On my way I met the dude I was playing previously, neutralized it and took the loot. I was killed shortly after and handed over the controller to the next one, as the queue had gotten large.
Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed
I gotta admit that this game knocked me of course a bit, it was even better than what I expected it to be! If they keep going in this direction with this game, people will end up calling it the next Mario Kart, this is how good it is!
What I truly adore about the game is the new big thing; transforming. From being a boat on water or lava, you jump out from the big waterfall, and before you know it, your vehicle is changing into a plane. The three tracks available at the playable demo was varying beyond what I’ve been playing in any racing game before – only due to the transform function. And of course there’s a good number of characters to choose from, and I expect more to be available in the final product.
I mentioned Wonderbook in the E3 article, and I’m still looking forward to this game. It was great to see a live walkthrough of the game, and that it really worked as shown a few months ago. The game has it’s flaws of course, the demo version even more so as expected; if the Move controller went out of sight from the EyeCam, the system had to be rebooted for it to work again. More games for the peripheral was also mentioned at the show, a very interesting look-for-clues game with a cartoony environment going by name Diggs Nightcrawler, another Wonderbook game I now look forward to.
I had a hoot being at the event, trying out upcoming games. There’s a couple games I look forward to.
Resident Evil 6
You know, I’ve been looking forward to this game. I was wondering what they would do with it, whether they would go back to their incredibly scary, survival horror heart or steam ahead on the gung-ho, action-packed train.
Keep in mind, that I actually enjoyed Resident Evil 5. I find that as long as I don’t think of it as a Resident Evil game, it’s a pretty good fun co-op action game. So when I sat down to this demo I was quite open minded.
The campaign branch screen (where I could choose 1 of 3 demo paths; Leon, Chris and Jake) was spooky, full of shadows – a great sign I thought! But, as I made my way through each of the 3 branched demos, I found myself realizing that they were very action oriented. Granted all the demos were in the dark, but there wasn’t much cautious creeping through claustrophobic corridors wondering whether you’ll become dinner for the zombie hiding around the corner.
It all felt very run and gun, most of the screens were flooded with enemies and offered very little ammo. It was a different kind of adrenaline rush, not that it was bad as such – I definitely enjoyed the demos, they just didn’t showcase the variety I was hoping for.
I’ll be keeping the open mind I started with, as nothing was really confirmed for me, and hoping that in the final product it becomes a fantastic mix of all the good things about both play styles. But I have to say that the demos felt very one sided.
Assassins Creed III
Wow, just wow. This game is looking great! Ubisoft were showing off a walk through demo with their representative, so unfortunately I didn’t get my own hands on it. But everything was looking top notch.
The scenery and attention to detail was superb and the attacks looked exceptionally fluid, maybe not a big surprise considering he’d been doing it all day but I was certainly enthralled watching him kick ass. From stalking deer in the forest to blending in for some classic assassination everything looked just as it should.
My only wish was that I could have gotten a feel for the controls myself. But I can’t wait to be swinging in the snowy treetops and taking out the bad guys with my own bow and arrow from the town rooftops!
Devil May Cry
Devil May Cry is a game that easily won my heart in its original outing on the PS2. Fantastic combo-based gameplay, aerial awesomeness and a super sexy protagonist to boot. The levels and monsters were fairly creative even if the story felt a little flimsy. A new Devil May Cry game making use of updated graphics sound like a dream come true but the demo at Pan Vision Playground was a bit of a disappointment.
The new “Emo Dante” is still reasonably hot, but it just doesn’t feel the same. The colors almost seemed washed out, and the gameplay between enemy groups felt stunted as if I was just waiting for the next group to rise up. There was definitely enough combos introduced to mash through and enough enemy bundles to pulverize, but it felt quite repetitive even with all the various combos being thrown at me.
In conclusion, I think the demo didn’t really portray the game in a good light. It was great to see that they’ve not lost their touch with making the combos awesome and it felt a lot like a Devil May Cry game, but the segment I experienced wasn’t exactly thrilling.
It was fun to be back at the event for the second year. While it was smaller, both in size and number of games and attendees, it was cosy and with a few really nice booths.
With quite an impressive back-catalogue of games in the hugely popular Crysis series, the third installment seems to have all the bells and whistles of a sure hit.
Getting to play this game wasn’t something I had planned on initially. I had walked past the booth a few times and seen people wait in line to get to play it. A friend of mine mentioned it looked interesting and that we had to try it, so I thought why not?
Sitting down at the table and getting ready to play was quite interesting. A booth employee told us that the AI was not perfected yet and that we would be playing the “regular” skill level, which was understandable considering that the release date is in February 2013.
There were really great headsets available, which made me appreciate the sound design a lot! There is nothing more exhilarating than when you’re playing a game at a conference, and you forget everyone around you because the game sucks you in. I was completely hooked after the first rounds of shots were fired.
The gun design as well as the maps you were running around on, were exquisite. Getting your hands on a gun was very fluid as well, it didn’t feel forced and you could carry three weapons as it were. I played with a sniper like bow, a handgun and an automatic rifle. The last of which, I swapped out a lot for other automatic weapons I would find either lying around or pick up after I’d killed an enemy. That’s essentially what I liked most about the game, the variety of weaponry – I loved the bowgun which I used a lot.
The maps and graphics around me we pretty breathtaking, and I would often find myself wanting to stand still so I could take it all in. The demo didn’t allow much standing around since enemies would continually engage you in battle. Something that really stood out though, was the water physics in the game which were really beautiful. Both when walking around in it, and when it splashed on your screen. Not since BioShock have I seen such pretty water, a major plus.
Honestly, I could hardly comprehend the level of detail that was presented to me. This will be a game that I am certainly keeping my eye on and getting my hands on come February.
And with that, it all ended in a drinking party. Some were of course drinking more than others, but we were all there for one reason; Games, and the love for the adventure they all represents.