I went to Eurogamer yesterday, and it was amazing.
The second day of the four day event, EGX is Europe’s largest hands-on gaming event held for the press and general public, and this years line-up was INSANE. Two next generation consoles were out on display, the PS4 and Xbox One, and a truck load of Nintendo goodness and other big hitting titles all graced the lovely and crumbling Earls Court in London.
It’s safe to say, it was a pretty wicked day.
Catching a train at ungodly peak-priced hours into London just to beat the queues was fun-filled and a necessary evil… but proved entirely pointless when my housemate failed to leave the house on time and failed to alert us of this till we rang him enquiring of his whereabouts. An hour we sat outside and watched the queues build and shrink, fluctuating with every streetpass hit and crazy cosplayer that passed us by. And by we, I mean myself and my other housemate, who is pretty damn punctual and arrived dead on 10am like we’d planned. Thumbs up to him.
We hit the PS4 first. As fine British citizens, we queued with patience and grace (I’m pretty sure I moaned a teeny bit) to be let into the Playstation Pen. After receiving our cool little lanyards – “I played PS4 first at Eurogamer Expo 2013” – which are actually a whole lot cooler than you’d think, we were given tokens to redeem on games of our choice ranging from Knack, a cutesy little platformer to Fifa 14 and other obscure looking ‘next-generation’ titles. We were a little bit sneaky here, and shoutout to the Sony employee who suggested this technique, in that instead of us each using a token to play the same game, we used one each on a different game and stood and watched one another playing around. I decided to go for a bit of Knack, and thinking myself a bit of a platforming pro decided to whack the difficulty up to hard.
Well that was a mistake. It was hard as fuck. I’m not quite sure how long I spent playing on it, but it was long enough I had to whack on the glasses to ease the eye-strain and for me to catch myself swearing far too frequently under my breath. I pity the poor guy who was up next who instead of starting the level over, had to carry on from where I got to and at the same difficulty. Poor man. There were a fair few other games that were out and about that didn’t require tokens to play, one of which was this weird and wonderful game that may or may not have had a name, that effectively involved controlling a brightly coloured ever-growing sperm around a floating brightly coloured village picking up musically activated brightly coloured villagers. It was absolutely mad, it made absolutely no sense at all but I found myself utterly absorbed. It was so colourful…
After lunch we hit up Nintendo’s offerings. There were a ton on show but we only bothered to queue for Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World. Nintendo is my gaming weakness, no matter how silly the Big N are now in the gaming world I can’t help but get a childlike excitement over a new Mario title and Mario Kart game. MK 8 was dazzling; the Wii U has a lot more power under it’s hood than I think people realise. It played so smoothly, drew aspects from each Mario Kart title to date and look absolutely gorgeous. It’s now undeniably on preordrer. 3D World on the other hand, seemed a bit of a let-down. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Mario but it felt like a step back from the incredible Galaxy and it’s sequel. It looked great, like really good, and the multiplayer was better than expected, but it didn’t excite me. So that was a bummer.
Xbox One had long queues, which we queued in, and they never seemed to ever bloody move. At one point we were convinced we had joined a queue of people who’d created a queue just to queue for something. It turned out we hadn’t, and that Microsoft don’t have a bloody clue on how to organise events and had far too little Xbones out and running, hidden away in this weird little gazebo like structure. It seemed strange to me that they chose to hide everything away from those that didn’t want to queue; Sony’s Playstation area was entirely open and most likely because of this, had a bigger turn out at the end of the day. But hey! Since Windows 8 who knows what crazy things are going on at Microsoft’s HQ. The console itself though… amazing. The games looked absolutely insane. Ryse: Son of Rome looked so far from anything of the current generation, it was obvious the Xbox One was a massive step up from the 360.
It did cast a very serious dilemma across all three of us though: If we were to get one next-gen console, which one would it be?
I went with Playstation, and threw some very subtle hints at the parents when I got in that evening…