Borgieman does whatever a Borgieman can
Sun, 24 February 2008
eGames and Entertainment expo is often referred to as the Australian equivalent of the E3 Expo in America. With a statement like that among critics and fellow nerds, I knew I had to check this out for myself. For those who don't know eGames and Entertainment expo is a three day coming together of all things video game related. It makes any gamer young or old, casual or dedicated feel right at home. Fortunately for me I was able to attend two of the three days of this event (special thanks to Australian Ninja for hooking me up with the bigwigs for the media pass).
[NINJA'S NOTE: This piece was due to run a while back, but then some dodgy assistant editor type disappeared on holiday for several weeks, forget about this article, then deleted it not once but twice! Apologies to the hardworking Borgieman, I'll have to send you a complimentary Gravity Gun, I hear they're all the rage with the kids these days]
First thing was I got my Media Pass and walked around before the place got moving. Then I noticed the gigantic inflatable Master Chief's head that puts the Halo 3 Legendary Edition helmets to shame. At that place they were showing off Halo 3 and the yet to be released Mass Effect. I'm sure everyone is familiar with Halo 3, the final chapter of the Halo Trilogy to 'finish the fight' as Master Chief. For those who don't know Mass Effect, it was from Bioware who were responsible for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire which were both good games and Mass Effect is no exception. Unfortunately I never had my chance to play it, but from what I saw I can safely say that it brings promise to many gamers.
The Nintendo section was PACKED. It was a no brainer that the crowd bringer for Nintendo was Super Mario Galaxy. I managed to play for ten minutes and quite frankly Nintendo have definitely raised the bar in the platforming genre. The graphics were very much eye candy, and pleasing to the senses. The gameplay felt smooth, I had little to no troubles with the Wiimote + Nunchuk control. Super Mario Galaxy is a must have for everyone. After the demo was over, I managed to get a Super Mario Galaxy Frisbee and Super Mario Galaxy bubble blower. Nintendo were also showing off their Wii Zapper (looks more like a Super Scope, in my opinion) with the games Link's Crossbow Training and Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles.
|After ten years of suffering, ten years of endless nightmares, it would finally come to an end, the PSP would be his escape from madness |
When I first used the Wii Zapper on Links Crossbow Training, it felt a little awkward, but not bad. Link's Crossbow Training is quite an unusual shooter for it's free movement with the nunchuck and tricky shooting style. It's something you need some practice to get better at. My impression of the Wii Zapper improved when I played Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles. At least the gameplay is easier to understand and get a grip of. You may also recognize the button events in certain moments of the game like in Resident Evil 4. I thought it was kind of neat. I saw Pokemon Battle Revolution. It's like a beefed up Pokemon Colosseum. The battle animations are improved; unlike in Colosseum where a slash can hurt from far away, which I thought was stupid. In Battle Revolution they actually run up to attack. But apart from that, there was really nothing new. I would only recommend this for those obsessed with Pokemon and in this case, the kids.
Their DS section was showing off the games that everyone can relate to. By that I mean Brain Training, Nintendogs and games of that kind. There was a separate section with more important releases like The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass. That was perhaps the only notable DS release that I could give two rats about. All other games were either bad (I'm looking at you Naruto Ninja Council 3) or already done in the past few years. I really was hoping Nintendo would show off other upcoming releases like Soul Calibur: Legends, the second Nights game (I can't really remember what it's called) and more importantly Super Smash Bros Brawl. I would believe many people were bummed when SSBB was not a part of the exhibition.
I headed to the Sony stand, only to find that most of their presentations were inside a small truck container. Hard to believe I could be playing people in Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection in a 'salmon tin'. But jokes aside, Sony were showing off PS3 and PSP releases. One particularly weird game was Pain, promoting violence by catapulting your character into random objects for points. I have never seen a game that rewarded such recklessness since Burnout. The concept of the game reminds me of something you can download off the internet. Nothing really that impressive, in my opinion.
I managed to get a play at Wipeout HD, funny thing about this game is that I could swear that it is a port of Wipeout Pure only with pretty graphics. I will admit that I was a bit impressed with the way Gran Turismo 5: Prologue looked. The game handles like its predecessors and the graphics looked great. Across from the cramped truck container was the huge Resistance: Fall of Man stand. With half hourly tournaments going around, I managed to enter one and lead my team to victory! I managed to attain swag, only a PS3 cap and lanyard. The game was okay for a shooter, but since I don't own a PS3 and play Halo 3 a lot online, I would say that it could never compare to the likes of Halo 3. At the PSP section, none of the games looked that great.
However, there was one game that did catch my eye. That game was God of War: Chains of Olympus. The game was fun and the graphics were alright for a PSP game. The violence was still frantic and wild as usual. Since PSP was lacking games like this, I say that this game is going to make a vital collection to the PSP owner lacking excitement and action in his library. But really I hope Sony don't attempt to stuff people in a truck container next year. I probably won't even enter if that's the case. Very uncomfortable!
|Hooray for the Sony sardine can, its crate! |
Next door to that was the Team Immunity challenge. Select number of people get chosen and get to play Team Immunity (a team of PC gaming freaks, seriously they kick butt) in a roster of games which include Crysis, Unreal Tournament 2K8, Call of Duty 4, Counter Strike: Source and Team Fortress 2. There was only one person that could beat them all in Call of Duty 4. I never managed to face them, but I did manage to watch a few matches. During that time I got free keychains and cans of Red Bull. I just wish that the people who supplied computers didn't completely whore off their computers every so often during the matches. One example was "This dude is playing a great game of Crysis, running on this fancy new bad ass computer *insert awesome specs here*" it goes on like that.
Ubisoft was there as well with their main focus the PS3 game known as Haze, from the makers of Timesplitters. It's an alright FPS, looks good so far from what I've seen, at least I could jump unlike Timesplitters! But yeah, Haze is something to look forward to, unless you are not a PS3 owner. They also featured Naruto: Rise of a Ninja which I was introduced to back at Armageddon Expo.
Being a huge Naruto fan, I even bought myself a copy on release. In my opinion it is the only good Naruto game around. All the others are either average or Japanese. While the RPG element of the game is nice, you actually get to run around every part of Konohagakure doing missions. The better part of the game is the fighting. Because it's more fair, unique and easier to play then other Naruto fighting games (Naruto Ultimate Ninja is one example). An example is conducting jutsu by holding down left trigger and making hand signs with the left and right sticks to pull them off. Give it a shot, even if you are not a fan.
I know very little about D3, so I thought I give them the benefit of the doubt by stopping by. Even though they showcased only three games. One being a Ben 10 game, looked terrible in my honest opinion. But meh it's for kids, so I don't think they care, as long as they have fun! Earth Defence Force 2017 was fun when you first play it, but it got boring over time since all you do is blow up giant aliens including giant ants (inspired from The Simpsons much?). I do like the way that buildings are destructible and crumble to the ground with heavy weaponry unlike most games. But is it worth it when the gameplay gets dull over time?
But one game did intrigue me quite a bit. It's still in development but Dark Sector looks great. With gameplay somewhat similar to Resident Evil 4, the player uses either a gun or even a glaive to attack their enemies. I would think that this is a first time I've seen a glaive in this kind of game, with the limbs being cut off at whatever point you throw it at. This game has potential thus far; let's hope that D3 does nothing to screw this up.
|After the qualifier, this bloke moved right up to Polio Position, no wait thats not right.... |
EA games were there to show off The Simpsons Game and FIFA 08. I really didn't bother with the Simpsons game; I already played it on DS. I would probably assume it would be the same but more. I thought the idea of Homer growing into a huge boulder like form was neat. But all around the game was very much average, just like the other previous Simpsons games (excluding The Simpsons Konami arcade game for being awesome) it wasn't really anything new. So I would recommend this game for only the die hard Simpsons fans. FIFA returned with next year's incarnation of the game. Returning with the usual arcade feel of soccer game play this is for those that think soccer is fun, but don't take it too seriously. For the real Soccer hooligans, there's Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 where soccer has taken a turn towards simulation which was presented at the Atari stand. So whether its FIFA or Pro Evo you favor, both are good games it's just how you like to play and your attitude towards the sport itself.
Adjacent to the EA stand was a huge showoff of Crysis. I couldn't play due to the mass attention it received from other gamers but the game looks great. EA was so proud of this game they were handing out free copies left, right and center. Until they found out they had a shortage of free copies, they decided to take up regular deathmatches for free copies (way to go, EA).
I was surprised to see AMF there (that's right, the bowling AMF). I asked why they were at an event promoting videogaming, computers and the like. The AMF representative said he was just asked by the bigwigs of eGames to come down. But then after that it hit me, I noticed the Nintendo stand had Wii Sports which we all know has bowling as one of the sports. I told him if that could be the case and he very much agreed. I also saw a paintball stand, don't know what they were doing here. But yeah, I don't think I would ever do a paintball skirmish yet. As far as I know, they are meant to hurt really bad. I would guess that this is an indication that eGames is slowly growing to more than the videogames and they possibly wish to involve more people remotely interested into stuff (i.e. bowling or paintball) which can be related to videogames in one way or another.
Many colleges and academies were also involved for those interested in taking up a career in the development of games, whether it would be such jobs as Games Designer or Games Programmer. They were holding regular presentations about what their schools have been up to or even outline the courses they had to offer. For students who just left or are considering leaving high school, that was for you. Games development is a growing industry (more so than the movies I've been told) and Australia are starting to be globally recognized with gamers around the world. Especially Auran Games which kept showing off the recently released MMO Fury. To avoid another gaming addiction like what I currently have with World of Warcraft, I thought it was best to avoid them completely. Especially since Fury was the only thing they would present to us.
There were many events that took place at eGames, such as the Guitar Hero III Idol. As you would assume, you would perform a song of your choice from Guitar Hero III and rock out in front of a huge audience. There was also a PC-Build off where contestants race against the clock and the other competitors to build a PC and make it functional. The person who completes the build with no problems would be able to take it home. The contestants went off like machines, they got parts out of the box, throwing away all the plastic and manuals and just assembled a working machine with great haste. The last time I put together a PC for a Hardware test, took me a good hour (it was my first time).
The Animavericks (link to Q&A) group was there to hold a Cosplay and Hare Hare Yukai dance contests. But of more importance to me were the Dead or Alive 4 tournament. I entered and despite a tough fight in the first bout of the tournament, I lost. A close contest it was for me playing as Brad Wong lost 3 rounds to 2. However I did manage to take a shot against a professional who would represent Australia in international tournaments. Still playing as the Chinese drunkard, I managed to lose to him again 3 rounds to 2. But to lose to a professional that close, I surprised myself. I thought he would have wiped the floor with me. Ah well, theres always next year where I redeem myself, I've actually been playing a lot more DOA4 often in hopes to do so.
|The final member of the Rocksteady Crew had arrvied |
They also hosted a Tekken 5 tournament. But since it was a Sunday and I was really hungry at the time and did not want to put up with the overpriced and crappy food the exhibition center was providing, I had to run across the road to Crown and go to their food court. I was a bit upset knowing I missed out (I really would have stood a chance as Hwoarang or Feng) but here's hoping Animavericks will host another great contest like that next year. I know the Halo 3 tournaments had a lot of attention. So much that I couldn't even compete. It was a shame too, seeing as how I've been playing Halo 3 online a lot recently I would of liked to see how I fared playing against people in real time (and in no lag!).
There were quite a number of interesting shops there. The only complaint is why do most of them think we carry a lot of money in our wallets? Especially me since I was on a budget at the time. I saw a shop with a Power Glove for sale, despite not owning a NES (I was a Sega fan back in the day…) I was imagining a place for it on my tallboy, like a trophy. It's what I currently do for my Resident Evil 4 Gamecube Chainsaw Controller (playing Super Smash Bros Melee was never so wacky). It did turn out that there were rich people attending because an Arcade/Pinball shop managed to sell an arcade cabinet with MAME installed for $2000. Sucks to be poor…I think many other gamers would agree.
The eGames expo did indeed live up to its reputation amongst the crowd that I first heard it from. Next years eGames will be just as exciting, I only hope that the games would be just as great or perhaps even better (prays that Duke Nukem Forever gets out of development hell by then - just kidding it's going to stay there "Forever"). But regardless of the Duke's status, I will be back for eGames 2008.
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