Eurogamer Expo: best of the rest

Naturally, at a gaming exhibition, some of the hands-on time doesn’t justify a lengthy piece or in-depth analysis.  With that in mind, check out my summary in my “Best of the Rest” picks:

Most pleasant surprise: Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet was something of a bland proposition.  I didn’t like the first, and thought the endless snow-bound combat was as dull as wading through treacle.  Imagine my chagrin, then, when Lost Planet 2 crushed those unfavourable impressions.   The visuals were crisp and pleasing, the combat smooth and unfussy, with the use of grappling hooks adding a fun twist to truly three-dimensional combat.  On the strength of this demo alone, I am very tempted to pick it up on release.

Lost Planet 2 looks very promising

Most bonkers gameplay: Bayonetta

Initial appearances might suggest Bayonetta is little more than a Devil May Cry clone.  However, with Japanese magazine Famitsu scoring it a maximum 40/40, it begs closer inspection.  Despite the protagonist being a gravity-defying incarnation of the most delusional fantasist, the boring stereotype serves up lashings of fun and unexpected combat.  Massive thigh-high leather boots will descend to squash celestial hordes, hellish dragons will appear to devour gargantuan opponents, and epic boss fights will quite literally land you in unexpected places.  In my limited time with Bayonetta, I barely scratched the surface of the combat, but even my brief stint hinted at a bafflingly diverse array of special moves and intricate combos.  Best of all, it was nonsensical fun.  Definitely one to watch.

One game to rule them all: God of War 3

God of War is all about spectacle, and oh my, what a spectacle it is.  I stood looking on in awe, exclaimed out loud at several points, and thoroughly enjoyed the seamless flow from one superb scene to the next.  Admittedly, the combat hasn’t taken any noticeable leaps, but who cares?  When a game flows with such seamless polish as this, and every part throws out an unexpected wonder, you will forgive a lot.  Not that you’ll need to – it looks finished already.  And as for the fixed camera…  What camera?  I didn’t even notice it or think about it until afterwards, that’s how perfect it was.

Most traditional sequel everyone wants to see: Battlefield: Bad Company 2

A brief hands-on with Battlefield: Bad Company 2 left me impressed.  There’s not much to say other than that it seems to be every bit the refinement current BF:BC players want to see.  Particle effects look great, sound is dynamic and intense, gameplay runs smoothly, and there were no noticeable hiccups in all of what was going on.  Graphically, it’s noticeably a step on, but best of all, DICE seems to have moved on with the Frostbite engine destructibility.  My session was brief, but I will say that either destruction is now totally dynamic, or that the destruction “cut away” templates from the first are more varied and cunningly disguised.  Fans can rest assured that the entire package looks very promising.

Heavy Rain has stunningly realised characters

Most hyped let-down: Heavy Rain

It’s perhaps unfair to say that Heavy Rain was a let-down, exactly, but I certainly left with mixed feelings.  The story looks cinematic and gripping enough, but I didn’t witness the endless variations of each promised scene.  In the now-famous shop scene, detective Scott Shelby has to stop a robbery in progress.  I certainly couldn’t seem to get myself shot or end the scenario in any way other than wrestling the would-be thief to the floor and knocking him unconscious, despite having several tries.  Perhaps I’m being too cynical, but the in-game “triggers” felt like little other than cleverly-disguised QTEs.  Regardless, though, the facial animations are superb: it sounds like an odd observation to make, but the eyes of characters in particular are brilliant.  The world-weary hangdog expression of Scott Shelby; the painfully damaged openness of shopkeeper Hassan: the essence of each character is perfectly and instantly relayed.

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