Eurogamer Expo, part 2
Far Cry 3
Do we really need another huge open world game to lose our lives to? Do we really need another digital landscape to explore, when the real world offers such beautiful sights and wonders? Do we really need to be able to slaughter pigs and sharks with a crossbow? Well, when it comes with as much style and polish as Far Cry offers, it turns out that yes, actually, we do. I shall admit I am very new to the Far Cry franchise and its universe, but I have always heard it was incredible and right up my street. We only got about ten minutes with Far Cry 3 at a time, but we had so much fun that at the end of the day we queued up for another go.
Those brief ten minutes were an absolute blast and demonstrated a huge amount of potential for the full game. The landscape they have created is simply stunning, and I could clearly see for miles and miles, acres of land that I wanted to explore… just as the mean Eurogamer staff members told us our time was up and had to drag me kicking and screaming out of the building.
What really struck me about Far Cry 3 is how well everything worked. It’s all very well having a beautiful, massive open world, but it is rare that a game manages to get nearly everything right in it. A huge sandbox game with slick, first person shooter gameplay and brilliant body physics? We don’t see many games that pull of all these things together. As much as I adore both Fallout and Grand Theft Auto, and though they offer incredibly enjoyable open worlds with great physics engines, there is a lot to be improved when it comes to shooting and combat controls. Far Cry 3 appears to have nailed both, whilst also having beautiful attention to detail and surprisingly good first person driving controls. And you can fight sharks. In fact, another stand out feature of Far Cry 3 for me was the sense of survival and unpredictability. As you are thrown out into the mad world, you have no idea what band of murdering psychopaths or alligators or tigers are lurking just over the hill. This truly is a harsh and hostile environment which will take tactics, and skill, to survive in.
If Far Cry 3 lives up to its potential, we may be in for something very special indeed.
From the short go I had, I didn’t get to know too much about Borderlands 2 – but what I saw was fun. As this game is available now there were no queues, so my associate and I got straight on for a bit of good old fashioned split screen co-op. I love split screen. I love any game where you can still play sitting next to your buddy on the couch in your underpants. Ahem. Either way, Borderlands 2 is great fun, offering the same unique graphics and animations that you would expect from the series and giving you plenty of scope for exploring and looting. The shooting is also fantastically fluid and it seems the objectives can be tackled in a number of ways depending on who you are playing with. Once I get around to completing Borderlands I will definitely be buying Borderlands 2. Pretty please, Santa?
The game that everybody is (or should be) talking about at Eurogamer is Arkane Studios’ Dishonoured. You are a gifted assassin, who once was the bodyguard of an empress, but is framed for her murder. You are forced to seek revenge on the scumbags who conspired against you, using a combination of stealth, magic, brutal melee and shooting gameplay. I will go back to gameplay in a moment, but one of Dishonored’s most unique and intriguing features its setting. The game is set in the fictional industrial city of Dunwall, modelled after seventeenth century London, with the fashion and architecture combining steampunk and Victorian styles, plus some bizarre futuristic machinery. It really has to be seen to be believed and is incredibly hard to describe, so this may help…
And just check out the costumes!
Unique, polished, beautiful. In short, Dishonored looks like nothing else out at the moment, and its refreshing to see a game that isn’t a sequel, reboot or a continuation of another universe. Here, we have a developer taking a chance and introducing us to a fresh and original game world, and I for one cannot wait to explore it.
All this prettiness would mean nothing, though, if the game didn’t play well – and thankfully, from the session I had with it, it certainly does. The game features many elements of gameplay which are indeed familiar, but which come together to create a unique experience. Stealth is a very important mechanic here, and in the particular level I played, stealth seemed the best option, as the waves of guards that came my way when I blew my cover were pretty tough. So you have a variety of sneak attacks at your disposal, as well some long distance darts and guns to play with. Dishonored really seems to aim to please all styles of gamers, and the big draw is that all missions can be achieved in a number of ways; there is no set path, no set weapon you must use. It is entirely up to you.
Whilst not quite open world, the game is a sandbox in the sense that all the levels provide a number of paths. Want to sneak down alleyways and stay in the darkness? Go ahead. Want to grappling-hook your way onto the rooftops and attack from above? Sure, go for it. Want to turn yourself into a rat, scuttle down the street and round the corner to check the cost is clear? Yeah su…wait, pardon? Yes, that’s right, you can indeed turn into a rat and sneak around – or you can use the “Devouring Swarm” power and just send a bunch of rats to gobble up your enemies (in a gloriously gory animation). You also have the powers of “Possession” (which lets you possess other characters so you can, for instance, possess a bad guy and throw them off a building), “Bend Time” (Sounds awesome, doesn’t it) and “Blink” (which is a short distance teleportation ability). The game also features a levelling up system which reportedly allows you to become quite the baddass as the game develops. As well as all this, the game has some great little details, like being able to listen in on conversations from a distance, and look through keyholes to check that a room is clear. There is so much more to Dishonored that I couldn’t possibly cover it all here, but from what I’ve seen, it looks to be one of the most unique and exciting releases of the year.