Hey…. Low high points

So as Dosser already informed you we recently had the chance to play a bit of Halo 4 at the Eurogamer Expo. It was epic, the atmosphere among the Haloites there was one of nervous excitement and from the moment we stepped into the conference hall waiting for Frankie to begin his play-through of the third level in the new campaign appetites were well and truly whetted. The campaign looks brilliant, seems to be a really clever mix of classic Halo gameplay and the new exciting elements on show. All of the Forerunner weaponry has a completely unique look but also retains enough familiarity that you can immediately recognise what role each weapon will fulfill. What we were all really looking forward to though was getting some hands on time with a bit of Infinity slayer.

I have to admit I have been somewhat apprehensive about the additions the good folk over at 343i are bringing to the table, as a long time Halo fanboy I was worried that new load-out options, new weaponry and the added ordinance drops were going to make my beloved franchise into a COD clone… Far from it. 343 have undoubtedly taken note of some elements of the worlds biggest selling fps but they have made them their own and incorporated them into the Halo sandbox seamlessly. The most important difference for me between Halo and the military based shooters out there is that it makes you feel like a super human bad ass. In Battlefield, for example, you can spend an entire round pinned down in a corner trying to hold off a full on assault from wave after wave of merciless opposing troops as a Spartan however that feeling of fear is completely removed and Halo 4 is setting itself up to be no different in that respect. Overpowered weapons, insane assassinations and tremendous speed are a Spartans best friend, you find yourself whooping with joy after pulling off the most insane moves and surviving with barely a millimeter of shield bar remaining. Even when loosing a firefight I felt like I wanted to get back into the fight and have my revenge, the new instant re-spawn gives you the ability to do just that launching yourself back into the high octane, adrenaline pumping battle mere moments after you were mercilessly plowed down by your enemy can give you the drop on your opponents as they try to recover from your previous battle, this fact puts even more emphasis on ensuring you keep moving, there will be no snipe camping in this game, that much I can already tell.

My weapon of choice from the main load-out options was without a doubt the returning Halo 3 favourite the Covenant carbine rifle, not quite as powerful as the UNSC equivalent (the DMR) the carbine has a much higher rate of fire which means those players with a steady aim can often shred down your shields and pop in the decisive head shot before the opposition has fired off the first round. I didn’t really experiment with too many armour abilities but I think the thruster pack is shaping up to be a real life saver in a pinch, the Promethean vision is no doubt a game changer in a one-on-one situation and the hardlight shield could prove to be incredibly effective …. if I could just figure out when to use the damn thing.

Specializations are going to be a key element in multiplayer and having a good balance in your squads abilities could very well turn the tide in your teams favour which will massively increase the importance of having a team of Spartans you are used to playing with. Halo has always been more fun with friends and these additions will no doubt increase the importance of building on what is already an exceptional community. While we didn’t really have time to actually fool around with these aspects during the frantic action packed ten minute rounds it was still evident that each choice in your load-out will make a substantial difference to your gameplay experience. The one thing that irks me about the experience is the apparent lack of gameplay differences presented by playing as a Spartan IV as opposed to the earlier games Spartan II’s which the extended fiction informs us are far more powerful and well trained super soldiers, that said the Spartan III’s in Reach presented very little differences too and I never complained about that.

Spartan II’s vs Spartan IV’S what is the difference?

Truth be told I was so incredibly excited to actually be at a games con let alone playing Halo 4 that I was always going to love it really, add to that playing with my fellow TeaBaggers and some great other people from the community including the gents from Dust and Echoes and the one and only MCG_Mushball aka Mitch we were left with all the ingredients to have something really special. I probably would’ve had just as much fun playing Halo 2 over in the retro zone with these guys but we didn’t. We got to play Halo 4 and … it …. rocks.

Hve you played Halo 4 yet? What did you think? Does this installment entice or disgust you? let us know, follow, comment, rinse, repeat. Spartans Never Die.

– Eremenko

Dishonorable Zombie Expo

(Eurogamer Expo 2012 earls court London)

Well we are back and it was amazing. My first ever visit to a video game conference was so much fun, we played some great games and met some even better people. I’m going to talk about a couple of things I played that my fellow blogger here did not. I want to start however by thanking everyone who took one of our cards and spent a little time having a chat with us and sharing their experience, the atmosphere was brilliant and everyone was so friendly so “Thanks guys”. Right grovel over onto the games.

dishonored wallpaper

(Dishonored)

Probably one of the most polished games at the show was Arkane StudiosBethesda published first person assasination adventure. It’s to be expected that this game would look and play as great as it did because it’s due for release in a little under a fortnight so I would expect we were playing the final build.

The demo on show threw the player in on a mission to take out a high profile target. It becomes immediately obvious just how much emphasis has been placed on player choice. Starting off in a back alley I proceeded up to the main street. On first impression the games cartoony art style looks great, while it might not tax the 360’s processing power too much with graphics it more than makes up for that in depth, the world is active and people bustle around their business in a very believable way. I dropped back into the alley after having a look round and climbed up a nearby fire escaped to see if I could find a way up to the waypoint indicating my target. My way forward was blocked but on the way back down I noticed a wall which I cleared in one leap. Into the water I went swimming off round to the rear of the building I found a huge water wheel which I rode up into the targets premises.

This was just one of many ways to gain access to the building and I feel it is this freedom that will be pivotal to the success of this game, once inside it was time to try out a little combat. I would like say that I stealthily made my way through the steam punk stylized warehouse taking out guards without being spotted unfortunately for me that’s not how it went down, luckily though this title hands you a plethora of options when it comes down to taking down the unlucky henchmen. On offer in this demo were many of the powers that I imagine will be unlockable throughout the campaign and they did not disappoint. The ability to posses npc’s,  summon rats, whip up a wind storm and teleport along with a large selection of weapons meant you were never short of ideas when things went bad.

The graphical style and artistic inspiration may not be for everyone but I think this is going to be a killer title and a must buy for me….. it may have to wait until after Halo 4 though.

(ZombiU)

This game has drummed up a lot of interest since the WiiU title was first announced and this was evidenced by the fact that we had to queue for almost two hours to get our hands on the new fangled tablet controller for Nintys forthcoming console. It was well worth it though. Dropping you in near tower bridge in the Expos host city of London the game drips with atmosphere and terror. Making your way through some sewers and up to the surface by the riverside you are quickly met with some fantastically animated Zombies and the tension mounts. Given a couple of weapons with very little ammo, a trusty cricket bat for melee and an unlikely “scanner” of some description you feel straight away that survival is going to be as difficult as it is terrifying. It’s the control system that is truly original here using the tablet screen as your scope for sniping, managing your inventory and scanning your surroundings is something completely unique to Ubisofts survival horror offering and it works very well.

Both scary and innovative this game could prove to be the standout WiiU launch title (should they manage to get it together in time) and it could prove to be a real console seller among the more hardcore gamers. The other titles on offer for the new tech were more of the same old Nintendo cartoony platformers, which while excellent games, wont necessarily appeal to your average Xbox and PlayStation gamer but judging from the lines around the Ninty section I think sales of the WiiU wont be a major concern for the family gaming giant. Still our favourite little pointy eared sword wielding, bomb throwing, bow toting, green smock wearing elf was notable by his absence (although i did see a few Link cosplayers.).

All in all a great expo see you there next year everyone.

– Eremenko

Game Scone

Apologies for the awful pun

gamescom 2012 playstation cologne

With Dosser covering PAX and our upcoming visit to the EuroGamer expo just around the corner I decide to belatedly blabber about the Gamescom footage I took time out to watch. Starting with the Sony conference.

I want to point out I love my PS3 there are some amazing titles including some of the most beautifully rendered well manufactured games but this years conference wasn’t about them it was all about Innovation!

Seriously how many times/ways did the boys at Sony want to tell us how their new IP‘s are going to be compelling and vivid? Quite the list of titles on display this year chaps but are we really supposed to believe that this is all so new? Ninty started the motion control fad with the release of the Wii in 2006 yes the PS3 has better graphics, yes some of the titles look really impressive but Sony are selling Move like it’s a new idea.

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