Train2Game News: Eurogamer Expo 2013

Eurogamer 2013The past weekend was one I look forward to every year. It was the annual Eurogamer Expo and this year was completely sold out.

I attended the event with a couple of friends of mine, one of whom had never attended a gaming event before so it was nice to see his eyes light up at the sight of the event. There is nothing quite like your first time!

The first game we ended up playing was the new Lego Marvel Super Heroes game from Warner Brothers Interactive. The game was similar to the other Lego games just involving all of your favourite Marvel heroes! The only other Lego game I had played was the Lego Batman game so I was quite shocked when the Lego characters started talking to me. Certainly a fun game to try if you can.

Second one of my friends and I discovered an XBLA game there that we were both interested in which was a game called Foul Play by Medatonic. The game was an entertaining side scrolling hack and slash which has no health bar. The game instead rewards big combos in a similar way to Guitar Hero. I would describe this as Guitar Hero meets Castle Crashers. Foul Play is out now and I will be buying it soon.

Next I decided to start tackling the main objectives I had set myself for the weekend and started with Batman: Arkham Origins. I am a big Batman fan and absolutely loved the other two Arkham games and was a bit worried when I found out that Rocksteady wasn’t going to be doing this game as I imagine most batfans were. My worries were put to rest on playing the game though. It plays exactly like Arkham City, if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it! My other worry was the voice actors for Batman and Joker. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are the characters I hear when reading them so when they weren’t in this game I worried. I have to say though they both have excellent voices and I could find no fault with the small window of the game that I tried. I will definitely be pre-ordering my copy soon.

I then got two birds with one stone as I tried Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag on a PlayStation 4. The game was absolutely gorgeous and they have really polished up the ship sections from AC3. I enjoyed the quite open sea feel that I got from the game but couldn’t test much more than that in the time I was given.

The PS4 graphics were of course jaw droppingly stunning but what surprised me was how comfortable the joysticks were on the controller. They have just the right amount of indentation on the joysticks so your thumb slots in and is firmly in place for those more frantic moments.

The final game I tried out for the day was Killer Instinct on the Xbox One. I never played one of the  Killer Instinct games before so it was all new to me. I was paired up with a guy I didn’t know to play the game and it turned out we were incredibly evenly matched! We had two and a half games, the first he one with very little health left, the second I one with very little health left and the third one got cut short saw him well in the lead. The game was easy to get on with and just pick up and get to fighting!

Again the graphics of the Xbox One were beautiful with every little detail on display and much like the PS4 the XB1 has an incredibly comfortable joystick for your thumb to fit in to.

It was a great event as it always is but I wish I had more time to get to grips with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. I do certainly advise you to go next year though as in the three years I have been, I have never been disappointed.

You can view all the developer sessions from the weekend at http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/eurogamer-expo-2012-live-developer-sessions

Train2Game News: Etoo coming to London

EtooNot making it to E3 this year? Fear not: London will be getting its own indie gaming alternative, which will coincide with the major LA-based gaming convention.

Taking place at the Loading Bar in Soho from June 10 – 13, the brilliantly named, EToo will feature over 30 game developers showing off their latest projects on big screen TVs around the venue. The event is being sponsored by PlayStation, with GameStick, the forthcoming Android console from British tech company PlayJam, as a partner sponsor.

Developers set to show off new titles at the event include New Star Games (with an unseen new build of New Star Soccer!), Hello Games (Joe Danger), Mediatonic (showing forthcoming title, Foul Play), Nyamyam Games (Tengami), Big Robot (Sir You Are Being Hunted), Simon Roth (Maia), Tom Francis (Gunpoint), Tiniest Shark (Redshirt), Alistair Aitcheson (Slamjet Stadium), Curves Studios and Projector Games (Fortress Craft). Capcom will also be in attendance, running playable demos of Lost Planet 3 and the new HD version of classic platformer Duck Tales. More mainstream publishers are to be announced.

As headline sponsor, PlayStation will be in attendance, with Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us playable, as well as innovative platform adventure Rain and perhaps some surprise extras. David Wilson, Head of PR for PlayStation UK said, “PlayStation is pretty excited about EToo. As well as giving attendees the chance to witness our E3 conference live, there’ll be loads of time to get hands on with a range of awesome games from the blockbuster, The Last Of Us, to the small but beautifully formed Rain”

PlayJam will be showing off its innovative Android console, GameStick, set for launch in July. Sameer R. Baroova, head of games at PlayJam commented, “What better way to celebrate the most exciting week in gaming than to spend it playing awesome games, meeting developers and gamers, and discussing all things gaming. We are  excited to show off GameStick at EToo, and are very glad to be a part of it. Cheers to Keith and Georg for putting this together.”

“This started off with me sulking on Twitter about not being able to go to E3,” says co-organiser Keith Stuart, the games commissioning editor at The Guardian. “Game developer Georg Backer replied and said we should do our own event. It probably should have ended there, but somehow it didn’t. The next thing is, Jimmy Dance, the owner of Loading Bar in Soho, was offering to host it. It was sort of like one of those Hollywood musicals – ‘hey, let’s put a show on right here’. But with less dancing.

“We’re hugely grateful to Sony and PlayJam for covering the costs of this crazy endeavour so I don’t have to explain to my wife why I’ve spent most of our life savings on hiring video equipment.”

Developers will demo their latest games throughout the day, as well as taking part in mini-talks and maybe even workshops. During the evenings, the event will also be running a live-streamed TV show from one corner of the bar, presented by Keith Stuart, Georg Backer and co-hosts including Rock Paper Shotgun writer Cara Ellison. Streamed via a dedicated YouTube channel and set to be embedded on the Guardian site, the programme will include E3 news and trailers, as well as developer interviews. Several guest stars are set to appear, including famed GoldenEye designer Martin Hollis. Popular gaming radio show OneLifeLeft will also stage a takeover event and mini-disco. More details soon!

EToo takes place from June 10-13. The daily developer event is free to attend for the public, but anyone interested needs to pre-register. The evening livestream show, taking place between 7pm and midnight every night, will cost £6 to attend. This includes a free drink. Tickets and pre-registrations are available at http://etoolondon.eventbrite.com.

For more information and regular updates, head to the official website  www.etoolondon.com and follow us on twitter @etoolondon