If you followed along with us on Twitter, you were given live updates throughout the day about the 2013 GameStop Expo. Although Twitter had technical difficulties, we were able to work through it bringing everyone up to date information on future games and consoles. I was able to have plenty of hands on experience with several games and watch unreleased demos.
Of course both Sony Entertainment and Microsoft showed their faces at the GameStop Expo to dazzle everyone with next-gen consoles. So, how well did the two display their products? Lets start by saying, I found myself hanging out near Sony the majority of the time as well as the rest of the crowd. Microsoft and Sony both setup their showcases really well. As far as the layout, Sony had more games to be demoed with more available spots.
The Playstation 4 picture isn’t the best, that is because the console display case similar to the Xbox One had a scrambler in the glass. The Xbox One showcase was good, but the effort from the company just wasn’t there. For instance, Sony actually raffled off a Playstation 4 console to one lucky attendee. Where the heck was the free Xbox One console Mircosoft?? This was rather disappointing. Another thing impressive with Sony was the fact they paired up with Skull Candy. Skull Candy’s staff had a DJ playing music and was giving away free headsets throughout the day. This seriously helped with pulling in the fans. Although I didn’t get to demo Xbox One, I did grasp my hands on Playstation’s Contrast game set to release on PS4. The new PS4 controller felt comfortable. The size seemed a bit more bulkier than the PS3 controller. In fact, it seemed to resemble the Xbox 360 feel. As for playing Contrast, I couldn’t believe how clear and amazing the next-gen Playstation 4 appeared. The game was extremely sharp, frame rate was smooth and the loading was quick. Sony made a splash at the Expo and I wouldn’t be surprised if they do really well at launch.
My first booth visit was Bethesda and I was able to play Elder Scrolls Online (PC version). The demo kicked off with creating my character. Since people were waiting to play, I randomized my player and ended up with the Orc. The setup for creating a character was similar to that of Skyrim, but a bit more detailed. Once I was in game, it felt as if I was taken right into the world. The gameplay as far as quest were also similar to Skyrim. The massive multiplayer came to life a bit as I was able to group up with others playing the demo as well. The graphics for ESO seemed vastly improved and the combat was a step-up. Enemies now display charge attacks and glow red if they are attacking you. My only combat was against a few bears and wolves, but they were no match for my axe. I’m really excited for this game and look forward to playing an MMO on Xbox One.
Due to my recent addiction of Battlefield 3 (Thank you Co-founder Nicholas Black), I couldn’t help but visit Dice and play the new Battlefield 4 set to release this fall. The anticipation while waiting in line made me so nervous for some reason. Maybe I was just too excited or was hoping the game wouldn’t disappoint. Well, I can tell you it wasn’t a disappointment at all. Playing 8 vs 8 Domination on Parcel Storm was awesome! During my trial, I used several different weapons from handguns, shotguns, sniper rifles and assault rifles. The environment was extremely realistic and just like Battlefield 3 things were destroyed around you while fighting. There was also more interaction with the environment, as I was able to close the doors to a large cargo crate near objective ‘A’ and wait for the prey. The controls were slightly modified compared to Battlefield 3. At times, I found myself pressing buttons that had different reactions. The map was restricted for close combat so there were no vehicles to demo. All in all the game was great and I can’t wait to see more. BF4 is set to release in October, I think I might just hold out until the next-gen version. Before I started to play, Nick told me I was probably going to get smoked. Well sir, I held my own going 8-5 helping my team grabbed the victory.
Now here is a game that really left a positive impression on me. Most of you have played Plants vs Zombies on your mobile device. Let me introduce you to the next big thing for P v Z, it’s called Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare. My wife recently sparked my interest in playing Plants vs Zombies 2 on my phone and now I’m a fan of the game. However, this game is not like the mobile device version, but it is much more in depth. I sat through a live demo given by the creators of Garden Warfare and prior to this I didn’t know much about the console version of the game. Garden Warfare is completely multiplayer. From playing with a few friends on story mode to playing in a room online of 12 vs 12. Now 12 vs 12 is pretty cool. That means, 12 people play as plants and the other 12 are zombies attacking. The display is done in 3rd person view and all zombies are customizable. In the story mode, each person in the group plays as a different plant. Each have different abilities and the player need to work together to eliminate waves of zombies. The graphics with this game were really sharp and fun. The game has a lot of comedy in it and should be great with family and friends. Set to release Spring 2014.
I can tell you I’ve played every previous Call of Duty released thus far. As for the new CoD Ghost, I believe I will probably skip purchasing this one. Activision’s presentation wasn’t all that impressive. Lets take last years Call of Duty, cookie cut it and add new maps. What does that give us you ask? Yep, Call of Duty Ghost. One new game mode I was able to watch was ‘Crank Soldier’ (Not sure on the exact name). Teams go head to head and one player becomes ‘Cranked’ when they reach a kill streak. Only one player can be cranked at a time and once a player becomes cranked there is a timer. If the timer expires they will blow up and die, but if they continue to get kills the timer will continue. What is ‘Crank’? When a soldier becomes cranked they get all improved skills such as faster running, faster aiming and other benefits. Although this new game mode was added, I still don’t believe it will be enough to draw me in to spending my cash on a game we have had over the last several years. They might as well of just added DLC to the previous game, but the company wants to make the extra bucks so this is what we get. I’m sure people will still buy it though.
Destiny was by far my favorite demo to view. This game really is remarkable. The staff of Destiny put on a live demo containing co-op story and a massive online battle. The graphics in Destiny have taken the next step forward. The demo displayed realistic environment effects from reflections in a pond, blades of grass swaying in the wind and foot prints left in the snow. I was taken back at how well these effects looked and couldn’t wait to see more. Through the demo a small team of two players were partaking in a mission. The two fight enemies as they make their way through a building only to take on a boss in order to escape. Once the boss is defeated loot is dropped for the players to scavenge. After they finished the mission, both exit the structure and find themselves joined up in a massive online battle. One of the special features with Destiny was the fact multiple squads are doing missions all over the world. At times, these teams can come together and battle hordes of enemies attacking the planet. The demo ends as the players start to battle leaving everyone wanting more. This will be a must buy on the next-gen console.
Nintendo definitely had a good showing, their booth was really busy the whole day. Some major games I had the privilege to view were; Donkey Kong, Super Mario World and Zelda: A Link between Worlds. Donkey and Diddy are back! The graphics on this game were sharp and colorful. One thing I really liked was Donkey and Diddy could work together to attack enemies using special abilities. You could tell Super Mario was geared towards a family/friends co-op group. Similar to the Lego games, Super Mario displayed 4 players on the screens. As the players moved throughout the level, the camera would focus on the majority of the group. Don’t get left behind because you end up off screen and have to be teleported back to the group. Overall, the game seemed fun and interactive. One thing I was really excited about with Nintendo was the hands on experience playing Zelda: A Link between Worlds. New features added to the game such as mirroring Link to the wall should make for some great dungeon adventures. This game has the same overview when playing like A Link to the Past on SNES. After playing it, I found myself itching to purchase the Nintendo DS just for this game. I see what you did here Nintendo, very sneaky.
My visit to Ubisoft’s booth landed me in a live demo of the game Watchdogs. The game felt similar to Grand Theft Auto, but much more in-depth as far as the involvement with technology. After watching the demo, I couldn’t help but second guess if my personal information was safe. During the demo, the staff member was hacking cell phones, Wi-Fi and even changing traffic signal during a police pursuit. The game looked impressive, but I was disappointed Ubisoft didn’t release any information on the next Rainbow Six.
Disney’s Infinity. I didn’t know much about this game prior to the Expo. Disney has always been about imagination and this game really delivers when it comes to being creative. If you have ever played Minecraft, you will understand when I say creating anything you can think of is up to you. Infinity is pretty much the same concept when it comes to playing in the “Toy Box”. Items and characters can either be unlocked through story mode or purchased after collecting coins. Anything unlocked can be taken into the “Toy Box” and used. The game is really geared towards the youth, but I still enjoyed the few minutes I had playing.
During my trip to the GameStop Expo I didn’t get to play everything I wanted. Some of those games included Titanfall, Castlevania, The Crew and Batman Arkham Origins. There just wasn’t enough time in the day to do it all. Even though I didn’t go hands on with these titles I can tell you a little about each of them. Titanfall was probably the biggest out of the four I wanted to play the most. Extremely fast pace combat, cool weapons and futuristic technology is what Titanfall is all about. This game definitely had the next-gen console feel. Castlevania had smooth action packed gameplay, but the graphic could have been better. Ubisoft’s The Crew was a hit for a lot of fans. The concept of working together with a team while driving seemed pretty cool, reminded me a bit of Fast and the Furious. Batman Arkham Origins set to release this fall was being played all over. Multiple areas had this game setup for testing. Watching the gameplay didn’t seem too much different than the previous two games. Hopefully there are some improvements, but the other two games in the series were really great and I don’t see too much they can improve.
This was my first video game expo. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had. I sent a text to my wife telling her, “I died and gone to heaven.” My mind was blown at the end of the day. So much was running through it and the anticipation of the new releases is killing me now. If I could tell you one thing, I would say go to a gaming convention if you’ve never been. Next year I will be purchasing the VIP pass so I can get early access to the gaming lounge. Check back with us here at Review Junkies, we will be covering more conventions in the future.