Will you look at that, I miscounted (lazy and innumerate always a good combination) and this is the final Gamescom catch up post which has been delayed from sometime in October. After this the plan is some up to date content for the site, and maybe doing some of that audio work that I have been threatening. Thanks for sticking with me, I promise to try and make it all worthwhile.
It is nice to have a business area. Having a space to sit and write, take notes or just having people with enough time to answer your questions, is not vital to providing prompt coverage but it certainly helps. Experiencing it for the first time, after years of writing on my lap or in a dingy pressroom, I was especially appreciative.
There comes a moment however, when being surrounded by all of the business people and jaded (or at least analytical) press starts to have a negative affect. Sure, being shoulder to shoulder with thousands of other sweaty gamers in a two-hour queue does not sound like fun, but it has an excitement and energy that the business area lacks. Hit the halls and everyone is there to see the game they love. They aren’t waiting for hours because they have to; they do it because they are so excited for their favourite game that they want to.
At my first TGS, when I covered the show just for DoFuss, I was the same. I waited for hours to see Resident Evil 5, and still have the bandana to prove it. There was no schedule and everyone was as excited as me to be in waiting patiently, talking to other fans of the series.
It only takes half a day surrounded by people who have to be at an event for work to forget the intangible excitement and energy that is ever present in the main halls. When everyone you talk to is able to list of the next four games they are going to see (complaining about how they aren’t really interested in three of them), it is easy to forget the passion that got us all in to writing in the first place.
For the right game everyone gets that same gleam back in their eye (as I am sure the Warner Bros. PR rep noticed as I begged to see Lollypop Chainsaw) and the energy that that produces is almost intoxicating. But to really feel that pulsing excitement getting out into the crowds is needed, and that’s what the games below are. Titles I was interested in and went out to find on the show floor, partly because I had no appointment for them, but mainly because they were games I wanted to experience with other series fans rather than annalists.
Perhaps my disappointment in the short demo of “Dark Souls” is for the best. After all my expectations when I first played the PS3 exclusive Demon’s Souls (one of my favourite games this generation), were low. Maybe my hopes needed to be tempered before the games launch this October. Yet I cant help but feel that some of the changes being made to the format will diminish this new title.
Ridge Racer Unbounded does not feel like a Ridge Racer game, it keeps the speed and excitement but brings element from games like Split/Second to make it something new. Arcade racing is not currently an overcrowded genre, so maybe there is space for it, but in the short time I played I found myself at odds with the handling which seemed an uncomfortable mix of real and arcade, at least with the car I chose.
Resident Evil: Revelations is one of the reasons I was so gung-ho about purchasing my 3DS, and my short time with the demo went along way to reconfirming my faith. Now my fears are squarely focused on story and an overly linear path letting the game down. It certainly looks the part, now all I can do is wait for its release early next year.
“Silent Hill Downpour” seemed intent on pulling me in with one hand while pushing me away with the other. Phrases like ‘this will have no ties to the earlier Silent Hills’ worried me as I got the feeling they were trying to distance themselves from the superb psychological horror series, while ‘we are drawing inspiration from Silent Hill 2’ dragged my attention back fast enough to give me whiplash.
One unexpected treat at Gamescom was Skullgirls, an upcoming one-on-one fighter from American developer Reverge Labs. Sat in Konami’s area you could be forgiven for thinking the game originated in Japan, with it loose grip on reality and huge beautifully animated sprites. But on closer inspection reveals a style that draws as much on the silver age of Disney as it does on Dragon Ball Z.