EB EXPO 16, LiveBlog

logo_eb2016It’s 2016 and we embark once more to Sydney’s Olympic Park (maybe Brisbane next year guys?).

This should be an interesting collection of thoughts as the day goes by in a blurry exhausted haze.

Remember to read from the bottom up.

 

17.33

Skylanders Imaginators, making amends.

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Had a play with Imaginators and while it may just another Skylanders game it is fair to say that they are bringing something really new this year.

Forgetting the vehicles of Superchargers, Imaginators lets you build your own Skylanders from hundreds of options.

So, the traditional figures are pretty much bunk. Time to throw Creation Crystals into the mix, but here’s the rub. Once you create a character it’s pretty much locked to that crystal, some people won’t like it, but I don’t mind. It makes you think about the strategy of building your ultimate Skylander and probably being priced around. .99 cheaper than the figures of 2015.

The crystals are elemental based and give access to base body types, then you can dress them up with unlockable skins and weapons. I like the system, it’s breathing life into the franchise. There will be Sensei figures that will add upgrades and experience to your creations, so there is still the need to gather some of the new batch plus you will be able to introduce your old characters too.

After that it’s a classic Skylands adventure, platform and smash and level up, with a few experience earning gizmos thrown in. In fact the selfie mode is more appealing than the Dead Rising one.

Back to Skylands? Yes please, sign me up.

15.43

Driveclub VR hands on.

PlayStation Stand EBExpo16

Ok, managed to get into a quiet slot and jump behind the wheel of some Driveclub VR and it was awesome.

The depth of field is nice with a floaty 3D effect, the response time of the visor to the screen is good enough. Not forgetting this is a mass market product for the home. And the immersion just got me straight off the bat.

The race started and I was driving, really driving, while the VR and sound did a lot for that you have to credit the steering wheel and force feedback with som of it. Regardless, I’m so in – even with a minor problem. I am somewhat myopic and not wearing glasses with VR doesn’t work for me. As such my varifocals struggled to keep everything in focus, I may have to resort to contacts and that’s my excuse for hitting a few walls, even if I did manage to bash my way to the front and win.

VR 10 mins in? Yes please.

14.20

Hands on with Steep.

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Steep is a mountainous playground for thrill seekers in the snow.

What more do you need, the demo offered all types of the 4 sports on offer. Controls are pretty intuitive and the visuals are really quite breathtaking, if a little white.

I jumped onto a snowboard eager to relive some1080 style skills, which almost got there, but ended up being more of a Snowboard Kids wipeout.

I might not manage being the fastest on the snow, but love the Wingsuit and Paragliding for some nice views.

14.12

So, Phil Spencer the actual Head of Xbox came to Sydney and addressed the crowd. I have to admit initial scepticism, but the man sells a genuine story his focus is the community and exploring the best future for his brand.

I have to say I was won over by his no nonsense approach along with the rest of the crowd. The message is clear Xbox might not be launching into VR this year, but they are laying the foundations for the future.

The line up of recent and future games looks strong, Forza started the session along to the tune of “I don’t want to fall in love” – the game obviously has other ideas. It’s stunning and the social aspects or Blueprints that were demoed are a step up.

Follow that with an enthused showing of Dead Rising 4, even though it’s hard to forget the failings of the series back in my 360 days.

Gears of War looked shiny and exciting, returning to an older Marcus is the draw for me, but being without Xbox – it can likely wait.

As for the hardware, the recently released XboxS looks very nice in the flesh, more compact and sexy. However the chat was all about the Scorpio which will be raising the bar come 2017.

Now, where’s mister Spencer – I need to ask for an Xbox handheld…

10.39

Popping Corn Theatre
Phil Spencer and Xbox presentation – imminent.

10.02

Farming Sim

Strangely quiet over here….

09.56

Hands on with Tombraider PS4.

Yes it’s been on the XB for a year, but this is the first time I have had a play and it look terrific. The weather effects (I was in a blizzard) are top notch and it feels very familiar to the recent reboot, amongst other third person leaping adventures.

My only concern after 5 minutes was Lara’s relentless internal monologue…

09.54

PlayStation Stand EBExpo16

It’s been a long day so far, waking late and racing for a plan, 4 trains and now an hour into the show. I need coffee and bacon STAT.

First impressions, the show is loud and full of hands-on experiences as usual, but exhibitors do seem a touch thin on the ground. Sony have the majority of real estate with a heap of VR hands-on and queues to match, not forgetting CoD and Skylanders, as they brought Activision and partnered with Warner too.

With Battlefield 1 weeks away the absence of EA is noticeable, Ubisoft and Xbox have hefty stands while Namco/Square and 2k are present. 2K with their Mafia 3 inspired movie theatre.

Bethesda have a big Dishonored 2 showing, More on that later.

EB Expo16, Playstation Line Up

logo_eb2016There’s not really any other way to do this apart from dump a text heavy press release in the wild.

The Playstation Stand at EB’s Olympic Park Expo is going to be choc-full of hitherto untested joy, its like Christmas again.

Now – which screen will have The Last Guardian demo on?

PlayStation Brings Show Stopping Line Up To EB Expo in 2016

Players will have the chance to step into the immersive world of PlayStation®VR ahead of its highly anticipated launch on October 13 and be the first in Australia and to get hands-on with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Multi-Player

27 September 2016 – Sydney, Australia: PlayStation® Australia is giving gaming fans attending this year’s EB Expo the chance to experience the future of play and entertainment, with PlayStation®VR (PS VR) and PlayStation®4 (PS4™). The PlayStation booth will give fans a sneak peek of the upcoming, highly anticipated titles for PS4. Whether players want to enter the post-apocalyptic world and reclaim the ruins of a forgotten civilization with Horizon Zero Dawn™, or sit in the cockpit and rev an engine in DRIVECLUB™ VR, there is something for everyone.

ps4_ecosystemFans will also be able to get hands-on with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare multi-player before the Beta opens on October 15th on PS4. The spectacular line-up of games and hardware featuring on the PlayStation booth includes: PlayStation VR Powered by PS4, PlayStation VR is a virtual reality system that takes console gaming to the next level of immersion. Titles available include: ?

  • DRIVECLUB™ VR: Get behind the wheel and be transported to some of world’s most stunning locales, as this virtual reality edge-of-your-seat racing will test your skills and reflexes ?
  • Farpoint: Set off on a perilous journey into an hostile alien environment in Farpoint, available exclusively to PS VR ?
  • PlayStation VR Worlds: Step into PlayStation VR Worlds and journey through five unique and exclusive PS VR experiences ?
  • RIGS Mechanized Combat League: Set in the near future, you will pilot fast, large, heavily armed athletic sports machines in gripping matches held at incredible arenas around the globe ?
  • Until Dawn™: Rush of Blood: From the developers of horror survival title Until Dawn, strap yourself in for the most disturbing arcade-style rollercoaster ride you’ll ever take
  • EVE: Valkyrie™: Explore an intricate sci-fi universe like never before, where you will experience deep-space aerial dogfights and nerve-shredding tactical incursions ?
  • Batman Arkham VR: Immerse yourself in the Dark Knight’s Universe and redefine what it means to Be The Batman, exclusive to PlayStation VR ?
  • Call of Duty Jackal Assault: The first-ever Call of Duty PlayStation VR experience, will allow those at EB Expo to enter the cockpit and take control of a Jackal, the personal fighter jet in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare ?
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard: Prepare to be taken to a whole new level of immersive horror and terror with PS VR PlayStation 4

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The Playstation Eco-system, EBEXPO 2016

ps4_ecosystemThere’s a lot going on in the world of Playstation and VR is just the tip of it, for anybody with a vested interest then VR has to be intriguing – a next level jump to accessible gaming that raises the bar on immersion.

Personally I can’t wait, however I do find the VR label being a touch ambitious, not having had a hands on yet. My designated slot is 18:30 Friday…I understand the VR rig coupled with a headset will offer substantial ‘suspension of disbelief’ which will add to immersion, but I’d be more inclined to apply the VR badge to a full blown holodeck.

That said, I can’t wait.

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A day in the life of the #EBExpo15 (live-ish-blog)

EBLOGO2015It’s time for the annual mission to Sydney, an early start followed by a redeye flight, a few hours on the show floor and time to chat with some like minded people while poring over this years exciting new releases.

The plan is to hit this post up with a story of the day, so let’s see how it goes.

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2 Weeks and counting… #EBEXPO

EBLOGO2015Just under two weeks before the doors are flung open at Sydney’s Olympic Centre for EB Games and their now annual extravaganza. We might not have an event of E3 calibre, but its a great way to give the industry a pre-xmas hype right on the cusp of Silly Season, also known as the October to November release window.

With hands-on demos galore and the chance to spend time with the occasional developer the show is well worth a visit for anybody remotely interested in seeing what’s around the corner.

Latest press release follows and a few appetite whetting videos.

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Gauntlet: Slayer Edition, PS4 review

GNLT_HeaderSome titles will send gamers of a certain age into a misty stupor. Gauntlet is one of them, thirty or so years ago it was breaking new ground as a cash hungry arcade game. Allowing four, yes, four players to simultaneously charge around dungeons hacking, slashing and collecting gold. It was also noticeable for the audio cues the game would throw out, when a character was low on health for example.

The arcade game was one thing, but it was also not readily available to the masses, home computer adaptations soon were and it wasn’t long before playgrounds were awash with tales of legendary slaughter. My platform of choice was the Commodore 64, graphically not as flash as the Arcade, but near enough to keep the atmosphere and fun. Also, worth noting that the expansion ‘Deeper Dungeons’ was a game I played until the score meter hit its maximum and would go no further.

I digress, Gauntlet by tradition throws together four players in the guises of a Barbarian, Valkyrie, Wizard and Elf. The franchise has seen a few changes since its humble one-button beginnings, it wasn’t that long ago I played through an RPG-lite version in the previous generation of consoles. What Arrowhead have attempted here is to bring the series back more closely to its roots and it has succeeded in parts. What they have also created is something that modern players would expect in character progression and upgradeable skills.

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Playstation TV, review

PSTV_01Call it the Playstation Family, Range or Eco-system the level of device interactivity amongst Sony gadgets right now is a great example of forward thinking.

The latest addition to the fold is the PlaystationTV, a sleek little device smaller and weighing less than a pack of cards. The PSTV is essentially a Vita operating system in a box, it also offers enough entertainment to be on the Christmas list of anybody with a PS4 or even a Vita come to that.

The biggest drawcard for the PSTV is undoubtedly the Remote Play functionality, mirroring the Vita it allows you to plug the PSTV into an HDTV somewhere else in your house and stream your PS4 gameplay to that location. The system is set up for wireless connections, but wired options are recommeneded depending on performance.

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Driveclub, PS4 review

As seen on Twitter: “The first rule of Driveclub. You don’t talk about Driveclub”.

DRIVECLUB_packDriveclub, it’s a name that has been around for a while. Originally mooted as a PS4 launch title and an impressive looking flag bearer, then it was delayed, then that delay turned into a year. Even now, there is no sign of the parallel launch of the free PS+ version and now a month after a slippy start laced with updates the servers are getting traction.

So, now the game is playable where does it sit in the pack?

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Dragon’s Crown, PS Vita Review

Aside from the titular quest (see what I did there), Dragon’s Crown offers plenty of depth and subtlety once you peel back the 2d surface.

DC_VITA_ANZ.inddA little while ago I saw the promos for Dragons Crown and didn’t care much for it. There may be some complaints about the art style being a little controversial, but that didn’t bother me as much as what I was expecting from the gameplay. We often judge a book by its cover and Dragon’s Crown has a vibrant, busty cover that will surely attract attention of gamers, but once you get past the boobs you start to realise there is a deep and satisfying quest in here. Continue reading

Sacred Citadel Review (PC)

As a self proclaimed hero of less favourable RPGs Barrie’s on a mission to a Sacred Citadel.

Anyone who knows me will attest to my love of Role Playing Games, even ones that don’t get much love from the general public. Now the Sacred series has been no different, I think I have owned all versions of the original Sacred right through to the ‘Gold’ release, and Sacred 2 on the Xbox 360 is one game I have been meaning to return to for a while. And now with the up coming Sacred 3 not too far away SouthEnd Interactive and Deep Silver have delivered us Sacred Citadel, a prequel of sorts for Sacred 3. But beware, this side scrolling action game is a far cry from the Sacred games you may have played in the past. Bad for RPG fans wanting a fix back in Ancaria, but good for anyone who is looking for a ‘Golden Axe’ style brawler. Continue reading