Gamescom 2011 - Round-up


Gamescom snuck up on me yet again this year. It wasn’t until I saw industry-types posting pictures on Twitter of German beer and bratwurst that I remembered that this is the week of Europe’s biggest video game show. Being post E3 and pre Tokyo Game Show, it is easy to overlook Gamescom, but over the last two or three years its had a steady output of big announcements, new trailers and demos, even stealing much of TGS' thunder back in 2009 with the unveiling of the PS3 slim and a number of high profile games.

Thus far (there is still one last industry day remaining) there haven’t been many surprises at the Euro-centric show. We've had a couple of new announcements, but mostly we have just learnt more about already announced games.

If anything major occurs today, then I'll be sure to either add it here or in a later post. But for now, in no particular order, here is a round-up of some of the bigger stories of the last two days.

Resistance: Burning Skies
Announced and shown during Sony's press conference, this Resistance spin-off looked great running on the VITA. It even seemed to do a good job of implementing touch screen controls, using it for the secondary fire modes of the over-the-top weaponry. I'm still not sure how receptive the market will be to a new portable, but the VITA's library of games is certainly shaping up to be quite impressive.

InFAMOUS 2: Festival of Blood
Now this took me by surprise. This standalone, downloadable title sees Cole still in New Marais, only this time he is joined by....wait for it.... vampires! I couldn't help but laugh when they unveiled the trailer. One of the few positives I took from the teaser was at least its not bloody zombies! Cole has been bitten and must track down the head vampire to save both his soul and the city. As long as it stays true to the Infamous mechanics, then I'm sure I will enjoy this addition, but it is still a weird premise and it doesn't look like it will be played for laughs, unlike Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare which, partly thanks to its humour, was a great success.



Lollipop Chainsaw
We got lots of new screens and the first footage of Suda 51's next project. Focussing on a chainsaw wielding cheerleader, its your typical high school adventure, only with hordes of zombies and plenty of gratuitous violence. It is exactly what we have come to expect from Grasshopper and although we haven't seen all that much yet, I'll go out on a limb and say it will be as exciting as it is shallow. I have yet to play Shadows of the Damned, largely due to its stubbornly high pricing here in the UK, but once I have I think it may dictate whether or not I'll be on board for Lollipop Chainsaw. I've cooled off slightly on Suda 51 of late, so I'm not really sure how I feel about his next game.

Nothing to Report
Being a European industry event, I thought we might learn something of Crytek UK's oft rumoured continuation of the TimeSplitters series. If they are working on something, be it current or next generation, they are keeping pretty tight lipped about it. Quantic Dream were another European studio I was hoping to hear from, but they kept schtum on their next project; the first since the success of Heavy Rain.

Uncharted 3
As has become customary at trade events this year, Uncharted 3 wowed everyone with a new section of in-game footage. This time we got to see Drake board a plane which, i'm presuming, is the aircraft that eventually crashes in the desert. It looked amazing, and there isn't really more to add, except that November can't come around soon enough.

DmC Devil May Cry
There were lots of new screens and a video of Ninja Theory's reboot. I know that the redesign isn't overly popular with the DMC faithful, but I'm excited to see what Ninja Theory, a company well known for their artistic style, will do with the franchise. What we saw this week looks rather promising, and I can't say I will be lamenting the move away from DMC's established style. Ninja Theory do make beautiful games, but gameplay isn't always on par with their striking visuals, so until we get some hands-on impressions we won't know for sure if the reboot is on the right track.


Sony Hardware
Lots of news from Sony on the hardware front. Firstly, they will be lowering the price of the PS3, effective immediately. The 160GB model will come down to €249 / $249 / ¥24,980 / £199 and the 320GB will be $299 in the US and £249 in the UK. This is great news for first time buyers, but the timing is a little off for me, having bought a replacement PS3 only 4 months ago. Sony also announced a budget model PSP, priced at €99. It is stripped of WiFi functions and has been given a matte finish and a subtle re-design.

During their press conference, Sony also reiterated that all VITA games will be available for download from the PSN store. This is something that the PSP never came close to achieving, making the release of the now defunct, digital only PSP Go such a head-scratcher. While its great that there will be the option to download digitally, unless Sony are going to be competitive with their software pricing I think most people will stick to buying through retailers at a much lower cost.

Battlefield 3
There was lots of new footage and screens of beautiful explosions and men pointing guns at each other at EA's press conference. To be honest, I have turned off to the drawn out lead-up to November's two big shooters - Modern Warfare 3 being the other - and won't be getting overly excited for either. However, I know that I will thoroughly enjoy them both when I play them later in the year.

And the Rest....
Skyrim continues to impress and is gaining a great deal of momentum going into the busy November release period. Ninja Gaiden 3 screens resembled an abattoir floor, just as they should, and a new IP for the VITA, Escape Plan, featured plenty more violence, but of a more comic variety. Prey 2 continued its summer of impressive showings and a new Assassin's Creed has been confirmed for the VITA.

Nintendo will release a new Wii which will replace the existing model, in Europe at least. It is slightly smaller than the current version and will ditch GameCube support, though at this juncture I'm not sure if there is anyone left who doesn't already have a Wii, sat collecting dust under their TV.

Comments

  1. I always keep my expectations for GamesCom very low (something I can't do for E3), so I am usually satisfied with what we get. There was some cool stuff on the Vita like you mentioned. Uncharted looked excellent. And I agree about DmC. As someone who has played some of the series, but isn't some superfan I am more open to seeing what NT come up with. I thought the trailer looked pretty good.

    Would have been great to hear about TimeSplitters. I miss those games dearly. The amount of customization in the splitscreen multiplayer was awesome. And I thought we would see something from Quantic Dream. I guess I was wrong there.

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  2. I shall keep waiting for Timesplitters.

    It was a pretty good show for VITA. Lots of great looking games lined-up

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