I arrived at Earls Court on Saturday morning just before 8am and joined the already forming queue of eager gamers. As usual, scared of the inevitable queue banter I hid myself away (banter is fine, just not this early on a Saturday morning). I kept an eagle eye out for the arrival of my gaming companion for the day @8_BitGirl.
We were duly entertained by several queue giveaways of swag, some of which people actually danced for, the hunger for gaming freebies never ends and is often quite funny to watch. Not wanting to miss out people will throw their hands, bodies, friends in the air to catch a free t-shirt or game they probably don’t actually want.
At 10am we were let in, after grabbing an Expo guide-book and bag we looked at the array of gaming choice before us, stopping only for a split second to choose between the Wii U and Tomb Raider. We headed for the latter. We had a vague plan about what games we wanted to see but for the most part, and in good Indy tradition, we were making it up as we went along. Below are a few of the games and areas we decided to try out. Two of the games, Tomb Raider and The Cave have been covered in separate posts.
After Tomb Raider, we had a quick go on Borderlands 2, first time I’d played it so it was finally nice to see what the hype was all about. The demo consisted of helping out, and following through the level, the little robot (Claptrap?), who helpfully pointed out how terrible I was at the game.
Next up was the Wii U, by this time the doors were opening for another huge rush of eager gamers at 11am, and this would inevitably be when the queues would get longer. Even at this point the queue to try the Wii U was around 40 minutes, there was even a separate queue for ZombiU (something we did not get to try) as this queue was a 2 hour wait. We decided to stick with the Wii U queue.
First off we tried out the Wii U Panorama View, this included making a selection from a menu of places to visit, we opted to take a boat trip and buggy ride through Tokyo, Japan, which included lots of tourists and lots of cherry blossoms. First thing we actually noticed was how light the Wii U GamePad felt, handy if you’re intending to play games for an extended amount of time, and for younger/older users. The Panorama View itself was nice, but more of a novelty and demonstration of the Wii U’s capabilities than anything exciting in terms of long-lasting entertainment.
We also managed to try out Nintendo Land, which also included a competition to win a Wii U. Up to 5 mini games were playable in this area, by playing the mini games and collecting a stamp for each one, you could enter into the competition to win a Wii U. We managed to get around to playing 3 out of the 5 games available, Donkey Kong’s Crash Course, Animal Crossing: Sweet Day and Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, gathering a stamp for each one.The other 2 games available to play were Takamaru’s Ninja Castle and The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest. Some of the games are pictured below.
Donkey Kong’s Crash Course is fun, but takes a steady hand, quick thinking and a large amount of concentration. The player uses the GamePad to tilt a trolley through a platform-based obstacle course. The shoulder buttons and analog stick can then be used in order to activate levers, switches, bridges and lifts to see the trolley safely to its goal, one mistake and you’ll crash and have to return to the last check point. The scale of the level was massive and intricately designed, I didn’t see anyone get past the spirally bridge part (bottom left of big screen).
Animal Crossing: Sweet Day was actually awesome. I’ve never played Animal Crossing before but this was loads of fun, only second to Luigi’s Ghost Mansion. Four players (wearing cute animal hats) have to collect candy as a team before they get caught by one of two guards (one with a fork, one with a knife) the guards are controlled by another player using the GamePad. As players collect more candies, their movement becomes slower, making it easier for them to be caught, to speed up again and escape the player is able to eject the candies from their mouth. Surreal but fun, we played with 3 other people we didn’t know and it was really refreshing game play.
Luigi’s Ghost Mansion takes its cues from the original Luigi’s Mansion on the Gamecube. In this game up to four players must try to find a ghost in a maze, looking from a top down perspective, and weaken it by shining their torch at it before it grabs them. The ghost is controlled by a player using the GamePad and controlled on their own screen (players on the other screen cannot see the ghost until it attacks them or a light is shined on it). Team work is required to take out the ghost, players torch battery life also needs to replenished by picking up battery packs appearing in the maze. This game was extremely fun and distracted me enough that I forgot to take a pic.
Stay tuned for Eurogamer Expo 2012 Highlights Part 2, covered in this part will be; Carmageddon, Far Cry 3, and the Replay Zone, plus other stuff that doesn’t quite fit in anywhere else.
For more information on the Eurogamer Expo please visit their site!