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rAge 2013: A Mad Celebration

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Anyone who attended last weekend's rAge 2013 event will tell you how mad it really was. Between the huge crowds, next-gen gaming and impressive cosplay we got to see a spectacle second to none in South Africa. Just by looking at the scale of the event you knew that NAG had their work cut out for them. With a ten to fifteen percent attendance increase per year you had to wonder where the people kept coming from.

Gaming on next-gen

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Friday started off calmly enough and if you were around you had a greater chance of trying out the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles on show, and yes, they were great to play on. To be honest the PS4's controller felt more solid in my hands but the Xbox One was pretty impressive too. You had to feel the haptic feedback on the triggers of the Xbox One in order to really appreciate how much more immersive it made games in comparison to its predecessor. Ryse and Forza Motorsport 5 and was suitably impressive with stellar graphics and intuitive controls to match. Not only were the cars in-game twitchier and more temperamental but they were also more realistic in their control. If you're ever locked brakes in your own cars, you'll see cars in the game slide forward the same way.

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The Human horde waiting to take on the Undead horde

Unfortunately there wasn't enough time to play Dead Rising 3. Apparently it was the game making people reconsider their PlayStation 4 pre-order. We got to try out the multiplayer demo of Ryse and as far as the fun factor is concerned, it wins me over. The hordes waiting to play the game alone were an indication of how successful it was at the show. Check that picture above to see just how many people were waiting to get a chance at taking down some barbarians. Whether it's the deceptively deep combat or the silky smooth Crytek visuals you're after, there's potential for greatness in Ryse. One had to wonder where Titanfall was considering that so many other Triple A titles made it to rAge.

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I got the chance to play Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag on the PlayStation 4 and damn was it pretty. Not only did it look better than its current-gen counterparts but it played better on the PS4 controller thanks to the grippy rubber on the analog sticks and overall comfortable shape. Knack was also available to play on a PS4 dev kit.

There was also Beyond: Two Souls completely playable on a PlayStation 3. This game plays like nothing you've ever tried before, and it's as much frightening as much as it is immersive. While not many appeared not to play it, I maintain that it's a contender for game of the year. I don't think I've encountered a game that has so many gameplay innovations in it as I have seen in Quantic Dream's new title.

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Warner Brothers had a standlone Arkham Origins area with several machines playing the latest demo. I didn't really get a chance to play but I'll say this, Rock Steady's work didn't go to waste. Every piece of the previous games has been used, and the same gameplay mechanics have been implemented.

The Prizes

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There were plenty of giveaways from companies like Corex, Steelseries, Afrihost and Western Digital. Some truly awesome kit such as Xbox 360 consoles, gaming motherboards, graphics cards and mouses were on offer if you were willing to do something crazy and entertaining enough for the crowd in front of you. I felt like things got a little out of hand when something seemingly insignificant like a balaclava was thrown into tightly packed crowd and we saw people rushing and fighting for nothing.

These were happening throughout the day. Anyone who has had to talk over the raging crowds at the main stage will tell you just how loud that arena was from the morning on Friday. It was exciting stuff nonetheless, and some of the prizes on offer were easily worth over R3 000. The level of generosity shown here was mindblowing and I give props to the companies who gave such awesome kit away.

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Things really picked up on Saturday, when the bulk of the attendees pitched up for for rAge 2013. To really appreciate how many people attended this year, you had to enter the crowds. You literally had half an arm's length between you and everyone else. The energy was amazing to witness. When you moved around you got the idea that people really wanted to be there. Conversations were animated as cosplayers walked past. Many went out of their way to draw attention to themselves, even if they were not cosplayers. Obviously, you couldn't stay in the crowds for too long before getting claustrophobic. There was definitely an overcrowding problem, and unfortunately the numbers get bigger every year.

Cosplay

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Last but not least we saw some great cosplay. I'm not going to say much more just yet, as the scope for cosplay in South Africa is massive. These artists worked really hard to produce the best looking costumes - and it showed. Some even got into character. The Joker you saw here was the closest to the comics you'll see in real life. He even nailed the voice.

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Overall rAge 2013 was a success for me. I'm pretty sure that not everything was covered here, and it was impossible for a single person to get everything to be honest. It was still a great experience and I'll be posting more as the days go by. We got to see every part of South Africa's gaming community, great Triple A titles and got to meet some very, very interesting people. Whether it was cosplay you were after, or if you wanted to try out the latest games you got what you wanted. Overcrowding was definitely a problem. I don't think that anyone expected to see the full capacity of the Coca-Cola dome being used  to the extent it was, but despite the issues the spirit of the event remained true. 

What did you guys think of rAge this year? Was it a disappointment for some of you? Did it rock? Let's hear It.

Zubayr’s Twitter | Facebook | Blog MWEB Gamezone Twitter


Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd

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