There is an air of something enchanting about Dishonored as you stalk around the dark steam punk environment and the obvious references to its predecessors, such as the Thief series makes the hairs on my spine tingle. Sadly the demo on the show floor fails to capture the essence of what I hope the final game will instil. It throws you into a situation with little explanation and implores you to experiment. With skills ranging from possession to summoning a pack of plague rats it is rather overwhelming to begin with. While the tantalising stealth element is clearly there, I rarely managed to stay hidden. Instead my foes fell to my cold steel, which was worryingly easy. Hopefully the release next month will quell my fears.
It is tempting to claim that the tomb raider demo was little more than watching a cgi prequel to the films, minus Angelina. Very little gameplay, but still incredibly stylish and gritty. I'm interested to follow Lara's early exploits, but worry it might be filled with irrelevant quick time events and unfulfilling gameplay.
Was a shocking disappointment for me. It is clear that this version is trying to return to us to the more delicate assassin techniques from the earlier games, but the controls feel like such a mess that it felt exceptionally hard to perform any of the desired moves to take out the target. I struggled valiantly, but had to give up after three failed attempts.
Assassin's Creed III
Two demos were on display for this Ubisoft juggernaut, one demoing the talents of our new hero Connor, the other featuring the naval battles that will make up a small proportion of the final gameplay. All presented in the new Anvil Next engine, the game looks fantastic and the parkour elements have been refined to feel far more slick. The demo was still very much Assassin's Creed though, and nothing impressive stood out. The naval battle on the other hand was a more bizarre experience. Controlled from the helm, you captain the ship plotting a course to catch the enemy off guard, then fire the cannons into their hull. It is entertaining, and will make a welcome change of pace from the main section of the game, but whether or not it will feel in place is another story.
The Unfinished Swan
Moving away from the mainstream, I stumbled across this mysterious little beauty. Not really a game, but more an exploration. You throw projectiles of ink out in front of you and cover the entirely white world in inky darkness. As you paint the world you begin to understand where you should be headed and what the world is meant to be. Truly a surreal experiment.
Another game based more around exploration and ponderous wandering, Dream looks stunning and is truly a marvel to walk around and examine. The atmosphere swiftly changes as you head into the dark catacombs, where sudden scare tactics align it more with the horror genre. This game was one of the first to make it through Steam Greenlight process, so look out for it when it is released next year.
If gaming expos teach us anything, it is that brief demos of games never really present to us the overall picture of the game. Prison Architect from Introversion Software is a management sim, harking back to the classic Bullfrog days. Being given a blank slate and being told to build a prison with no instructions completely bamboozled me. It took me about fifteen minutes to realise I had to add doors to get buildings to work. The game, which is currently in paid alpha, has potential, but there is still a lot of work to be done before it can be considered a success.
I am a poor pomeranian whose owners have disappeared and the food has run out in my home. I have no choice but to venture out into the street and hunt. There is no more a strange experience that playing a cute little puppy wearing a tiny sweater and leaping with my gaping fangs to bite a wild hare. Playing one of many animal species, the aim of the game is to survive by hunting, scavenging and hiding wherever you can in the post apocalyptic urban sprawl. While it may not turn out to be an actually good game, it sure is entertaining to watch such a cute dog tear out the throat of its prey.
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale
So what would happen if Playstation completely copied Super Smash Brothers from Nintendo? Nintendo would sue them for breaching copyright. No, actually the result would be this. A thoroughly entertaining button masher that everyone can get involved in, but fails completely at being original, or containing particularly interesting characters. Nintendo has Mario, Sony has... Nathan Drake?
X-Com: Enemy Unknown
I have been looking forward to this game for some time now, and I was disappointed to see the same demo that has already been released on steam. That being said, the game may actually live up to my incredibly high standards. It is fast, fluid, yet still faithful in all the important ways to the original. Hopefully, when I get my hands on the release code I will not break down in tears of sorrow.
Somehow I missed this game at the Rezzed Expo in Brighton and it then went on to win game of the show. I refused to miss this opportunity. It is just as crazy and brilliant as the eager press have been stating. A top down shooter with a brutal attitude. Death in one hit, but instant restarts, make this little gem instantly addictive. Once you have started, It is incredibly hard to pull yourself away from.
Company of Heroes 2
So I am not a war aficionado, but I am fairly sure that taking a bullet or two to the chest results in severe injury or perhaps death. The men in Company of Heroes 2 seem to be able to stand up to hundreds of rounds and still be returning fire. While it clearly is a brilliant and highly tactical strategy game, I cannot help but feel it would be far more realistic if men would just die if they were shot.