Gamescom, the big European game expo is done and dusted and now we're at the inevitable point where we get to ruminate on all we've seen and heard, then try to make sense of it. Which is just a slightly more complicated way of saying it's time to make a list of the games and news that came out of the event.
And as someone that wasn't too excited for Gamescom going in, I'll admit that now that it's all over there was quite a bit that happened that was worth getting excited about. For example:
1. Rise of the Tomb Raider is an Xbox Exclusive
Even if you managed to avoid every other bit of news out of Gamescom, this bit of info probably did make it on to your newsfeed. It's true, Rise of the Tomb Raider, sequel to the phenomenal Tomb Raider reboot, will be a timed exclusive on Xbox. It's not news any one seems to be taking well, despite what both I and my colleague Tauriq Moosa have to say about it.
Whatever your personal feelings on it, this still seems to be the biggest, and most contentious, news to come out of Gamescom.
2. Hideo Kojima is producing the new Silent Hill
And it's not just Kojima that's involved. Famed Hollywood director Guillermo del Toro is also lending his talents to the project. You couldn't have asked for better team to create a game like this. Kojima's talent for introducing cinematic elements into his games is already well established, but with del Toro there to run the horror - and perhaps also restrain Kojima's indulgences - this game could prove to be quite the hit.
If the teaser trailer above is any indication, then the two of them have a great partnership going already, as it is pant-browningly scary.
3. Kojima talks cardboard boxes
Speaking of Hideo Kojima and his indulgent ideas. Taking the time to come to an international gaming expo to talk about your new video game is something you expect game producers to to do. Normally you expect them to discuss innovative new features, technical aspects and perhaps story elements. Kojima? He decided to talk about cardboard boxes. I'm not kidding. Just check out the video above.
4. The PS4's Share Play function detailed
You may remember the Share Play feature mentioned when the PlayStation 4 was originally announced. What it was meant to do was let PlayStation 4 owners transfer control of their games to any of their friends. In other words, if you're stuck at a certain section of a game, you can get buddy to finish it for you from the comfort of their couch. But the feature goes further than that. Basically its a way for your friends to play the games that are on your PlayStation 4 from their PlayStation 4. Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida describes it as a "mini PlayStation Now". Each session will be restricted to 60 minutes, but there's no limit on the number of times you can use the feature. All it will require is for both parties to have a PlayStation Plus account.
Superhot is an indie FPS that was revealed about a year ago, but I reckon Gamescom is the first time most people would have heard of it. Superhot is supposedly a FPS, but it's really a puzzle game where time only moves forward when your character moves. So if you stand still, all the enemy NPCs freeze and all the bullets fired at you lock in place and you can anticipate their trajectory. This gives you vital info on how to avoid them. If the idea is implemented well, if could be the new Portal. Oh, and it's an Xbox exclusive.
6. Life is Strange
Last year's Remember Me, the ambitious debut game from Dontnod, didn't quite measure up to it's potential, but it showed a developer willing to take risks with unconventional ideas. With Life is Strange, the developer is teaming up with Square Enix, to take another stab at the unconventional. In this case it's a game that drops the need for action and combat, to rather focuses on an adventure, choice and exploration. That shouldn't sound so innovative, adventure games have done without action since forever, but whatever. Life is Strange will be the story of a teenager trying to solve the disappearance of her friend. The game will hopefully expand on Remember Me's excellent, though sparse, 'memory remixing' mechanic.
While it may have seemed as though the From Software developed Bloodborrne would just be a Dark Souls clone with a different lick of paint, the PlayStation 4-only game looks like it will be putting a different spin on the genre. The slow, ponderous combat that put some people off the Dark Souls series (like me) is taking a backseat to a more fast-paced aggressive system. It's a minor change that may could potentially expand the audience for this type of game. It certainly is one to watch on the PlayStation 4.
Ninja Theory have so far delivered three solid video games. DmC: Devil May Cry, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and PS3 exclusive Heavenly Sword were all acknowledge as great games, but all seemed to fall just short of becoming outright hits. Perhaps Hellblade will be that hit. There are no solid details on exactly what kind of game Hellblade will be, but given the developer and their past games, it's safe to assume there will be some fighting involved.
9. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions
Geometry Wars and its sequel are arguably the games that put Xbox Live on the map for the Xbox 360. Everyone that has owned it will recall playing one-up-manship with friends every time they got a notification that a buddy had beaten their score in a particular mode. It made and broke many friendships.
Now the series is taking a third outing that will hopefully make as large an impact as the first two.
From the producer of Rayman and Beyond Good and Evil, comes WiLD. WiLD is the debut game of Michel Ancel's new studio Wild Sheep and it looks... interesting. It would appear to be an openworld game set in a fictitious pre-industrial world. It's one of those trailers that gives very little indications as to what you'll actually be doing, but manages to be completely enthralling nonetheless.
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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd