Eurogamer Expo 2012: Halo 4 & Black Ops 2 Will Blow Your Mind

Sexy Lycra clad girls with geeks, Dishonored's deepness and why Assassin's Creed is killing itself. Here are some of the conclusions I made from one of the UK's biggest games shows...
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Now a proper certified games journo, I was lucky enough to get a VIP Press pass to Eurogamer Expo thanks to the lovely people at Indigo Pearl. Some of the biggest games set to be released in the next 12 months were playable, and with my new games journo buddies Tom Perkins and Sean Labode from True Gits we jumped right into the fun.  So enjoy my list of games journo conclusions from one of the biggest games expos in the UK.

Both Halo 4 and Black Ops II are more of the same, but that’s no bad thing

With the Halo series having changed developers to 343 Industries and it being a “Treyarch year” for the Call of Duty franchise, there were slight worries from shooter fans that both games might suffer a dip in quality compared to their predecessors. Gamers need not worry at all.

343 have taken the Halo series and created what will be the biggest and best Halo game yet with multiplayer options approaching Minecraft levels for creative free form tinkering.

As for Black Ops II, I’m just going to come out and say it; Treyarch make better CoD games now than Infinity Ward/Sledgehammer. Addictive and competitive as hell multiplayer as ever, this time coupled with what will be one of the most interesting single-player stories ever with its future LA setting.

Assassins’ Creed 3 is a much needed change of direction for the franchise
After a trilogy of home console releases for Italian Renaissance assassin Ezio Auditore, gamers were beginning to find the AC gameplay a bit rinse and repeat.  Having played Creed 3 I can say that gameplay is faster, a damn sight more aggressive and the inclusion of sea battles add a new flavour to the game. Hardcore AC fans might be put off at first but persevere and you’ll be rewarded with one of the best Assassin’s Creed experiences to date. Heck, we’re even promised that Desmond will be interesting this time.

Dishonored is not the type of game you dip your toe in

It was game of show and there were lines of well over an hour and a half to get some playtime for it, but the steam-punk assassin game left me feeling very underwhelmed. Not that I think it’ll be bad, far from it, it’ll be one of the best one of the best games of the year. The Dishonored demo suffered from a lack of introduction and proper explanation of all the powers and methods at your disposal. I was picking up mana capsules without knowing what mana did in the game.

It plays like a mixture of Half-Life, Bioshock and a first person Hitman, I have no doubt it will be incredible; I just need some proper time with it, so watch this space for a review shortly.

Also, I dislike the fact the title doesn’t have the proper English spelling for the UK release.

UPDATE: Jason Trikamji has written us a Dishonored review which you can read here.

As for Black Ops II, I’m just going to come out and say it; Treyarch make better CoD games now than Infinity Ward/Sledgehammer.

The final big games of this generation will look absolutely stunning

When the big Christmas games of a year all make you think, “How on earth are you getting that power?”, you’re coming to the end of a consoles lifespan. Top game developers have now half a decade and then some understanding Xbox360/PS3 and boy have they mastered it now. All of the tops games on show were incredible to look at and both Dishonored and Assassin’s Creed 3 both boasting realistic rats in game in a subtle way to show gamers just how damn good they are now.

Hitman Absolution will be offensively good

I got to sit down for an extensive playthrough of the Chinatown level of the new Hitman game and it was HUGE.  The Hitman series has always revelled in giving you sandbox levels and telling you to figure out the best way of murdering but this is on an unprecedented scale. Tasked with offing a mob boss in a busy Shanghai street I was stunned by the size of crowds the game is generating on its new engine as well as the multiple methods of murder at my disposal. There were allegedly over a dozen different ways of offing our mob boss and after an hour of gameplay I could only figure out 3.

The brand new Contracts mode which will feature could be one of the most interesting online modes I have ever encountered. Rather than a simple competitive multiplayer, you’re given a sandbox and tasked with making your own contract. Play through, pick some sorry sap that needs to be offed and watch other gamers do the job for you. Gripping.

The standard gamer diet of fast food, nachos and fizzy drinks does devilish things to the human body.

The men's toilets at Eurogamer... Oh god the smells.

And the sounds, I could’ve sworn there was someone in a cubicle playing several levels of Super Mario Bros. while dropping a deuce. Seriously, MUTE WHEN YOU GAME AND POO.

Jury is still out on the WiiU

I braved a 2 hour queue to get some game time on Nintendo’s new console and I while I was impressed by it in theory, I remained unconvinced by the games on show. New Super Mario Bros is just more of the same and ZombiU, while showing some promise and using the second screen in a number of incredibly inventive and imaginative ways, didn’t do enough to convince me that it won’t just end up being a new Red Steel – the “hardcore” game for a new “inventive” Nintendo console that turns out to be a bit broken.

I want one, I’m just not buying until I know it’ll get hardcore 3rd party game support. (Not that I can buy one, it’s already sold out everywhere!)

The standard gamer diet of fast food, nachos and fizzy drinks does devilish things to the human body. The men’s toilets at Eurogamer… Oh god the smells.

Metal Gear Sold Rising Revengeance needs to do one simple thing to go from being a bad game to a good game

Stupid title, interesting premise, fun gameplay but my god its parry system is infuriatingly bad. With no dedicated block button and a lack of health packs, the game lacks an effective way for players to avoid taking damage from enemy attacks. MGS Rising (I refuse to type that stupid subtitle again) has the potential of being a fun knock-about hack and slash game but is at risk of becoming one the of the worst MGS spin-offs ever if they don’t sort out a more graceful way for Raiden to avoid enemy attacks.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted is Burnout Paradise 2

Which shouldn’t be a surprise since it’s made by former Burnout devs Criterion. If NFS: Hot Pursuit was a new Burnout Takedown the NFS is the new Burnout Paradise – great finely tuned arcade racing within an open world sandbox. The always on Autolog feature will help build online rivalries in a way only few games can.

“Booth Babes” rub me up the wrong way (GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER)

For those unfamiliar, both babes are gamer expo equivalent of models who pose with cars at auto shows. The presence of dozens of models in their underwear standing next to a TVs as people got down to gaming was the subject of much debate amongst the gamer community.

Do you really need a model wearing next to nothing with a QR code to get gamers into your new product?  I always felt that being flanked by 4 girls in hotpants was the worst kind of pandering. "Here Mr. Gamer Nerd, because of your hobby you will never get a girl this fit so she'll pretend to like you this weekend for a good review."

Youtube Celebrity is a job title nowadays

Whilst at Eurogamer I bumped into the man behind the FIFA BEAST!! Video series JJ "KSIOlajidebt" Olatunji and the guy was struggling to find a quiet place to make a phonecall. Later that weekend, A 12 year old came up to me and went "Excuse me, are you a famous YouTuber?" One day…

UPDATE – A few days after, Eurogamer has confirmed that both booth babes and KSIOlajidebt will be banned from future Eurogamer expos. A positive step in regards to gender equality in regards to booth babes, as for KSIOlajidebt, we he was just being a bit of a tit.

Nearly every self-respecting gamer with an iPhone owns a Gameboy case for it.

Seriously, those things were EVERYWHERE.

A 12 year old came up to me and went “Excuse me, are you a famous YouTuber?” One day…

The game I had most fun playing was God of War: Ascension

Kratos is back and by god he is still angry. I was worried when I heard Ascension would be a prequel but I ended up playing the demo on show a good dozen times. Gory, fluid combat with gorgeous graphics and inventive gameplay – other hack and slack games take note, this is how you do it.

The new Splinter Cell is perhaps the most excited I’ve been for a game’s plot in a while

Working on the concept that "Bad people don't say bad things. Bad people do bad things.” Splinter Cell: Blacklist is taking the gloves off and giving us a punchy new stealth game. While I couldn’t squeeze much plot details out of David Footman, the creative director, he’s hinting suggests we’re going to get a game with a strong narrative racked with moral dilemmas. In a good way.

Far Cry 3 is shaping up very nicely

Far Cry 3 first grabbed gamers attention with its “definition of insanity” playthrough introducing demented antagonist Vaas. Having now given the game a spin, the game is very alluring, boasts and meaty shooting system as well as a interesting ecosystem. Don’t annoy the mountain lions.

Games journos are a friendly bunch

I even got invited back to a little afterparty with a whole bunch of games journos. They are a lovely bunch of people. Drunkards, but lovely nonetheless.

Forza Horizon is a mis-step

Forza’s new developers have gone for a “festival” feel in the games presentation which lead me to assume a change in how the game handles. You can imagine my surprise when I went to find what button press is nitrous only to find the game doesn’t have one. The game retains the previous Forza games sim-like handling and for me, I found the clash of styles jarring, leaving me wondering why we needed another Forza game.

Nearly every self-respecting gamer with an iPhone owns a Gameboy case for it.

GRID 2 will make all other driving simulations irrelevant

The guys at Codemasters Racing took a few years off to perfect their GRID engine and it is absolutely incredible. The orginal GRID was damn near perfect, this is just.... The realisation of race day is perhaps the best I have ever seen in driving game and I was even lucky enough to get a chance to play the game in a V Chair, making Grid 2 quite literally the closest I will get to driving a supercar round a cliff face.
Playstation All-Stars could *whisper it* end up a better fighter than Super Smash Brothers

What first got announced to snorts of derision and laughter is turning into a very well polished game. Boasting an impressive roster feature characters such as Dante from the Devil May Cry series, and changeable level terrain that affects battles as they go on, Playstation All-Stars could possibly be the better, more balanced party brawler.

Resident Evil 6, Devil May Cry reboot and Lost Planet 3, Capcom are going WEST for the next 12 months

Resident Evil 6 is already out now and boasts some 60 hours of survival horror zombie action.

The DMC reimagining has the fantastic storytellers that are Ninja Theory (an Andy “Gollum” Serkis company)

Lost Planet 3 is offering a more focused story and a main character/best friend duo that could be from a Nic Cage film. (A good one mind)

Capcom have taken 3 of their biggest franchise of this generation and given them each a bit of a spruce up and a touch of western gaming influence. Resident Evil 6’s attempts were met with somewhat lukewarm reviews but massive sales. From what I played of DMC and Planet 3, both of those should score will with both fans and critics.

I even got invited back to a little afterparty with a whole bunch of games journos. They are a lovely bunch of people. Drunkards, but lovely nonetheless.

You’re going to want to buy a new television and pair of headphones for Tomb Raider

When I started my Tomb Raider play through I looked at gorgeous screen of Lara overlooking the crashed landscape she ended up on and waited for the game to kick in. And waited. And waited. And then realised that was I was looking at was not a pre-rendered menu screen but the game itself waiting for me. The game looks incredible and a minimal HUD keeps you immersed in Lara’s world. The first hour of the game is absolutely gripping, getting you feel for Lara in a way you never have before. During a segment where I had to balance her as she walked battered and bruised across a log over a waterfall, hearing Lara whisper to herself,  “Come on, you can do this” made me empathise with a character I once used to deliberately drown in the god-awful Angel of Darkness game on the PS2. The level of detail gone into the minutae of this world is stunning. Tomb Raider will be best savoured with a pair of headphones and the biggest television you can play on.

I finally have justification to buy a tablet PC

Between, tweeting, texting, emailing and instgram(ing?) my phone battery was dead by 4 everyday. A tablet on expenses would help with me doing these features in future... (Ed Note: No Carl)

All in all, my Eurogamer Expo experience was an absolute blast and I can't wait to get my hands on some of these games to review for you. Special thanks to, @iBringTheFunk@SeanLabode@SonnyRevolts and @NeilGortz, the brains behind the wonderful @TrueGits embedded video I hacked my way presenting through

You can follow Carl Anka on Twitter @Bubblegum616 and if you fancy a Xbox 360 gamer session, his gamertag is also Bubblegum616

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