GamesCom 2009 @ Cologne

Yesterday the first GamesCom trade fair in Cologne opened the gates for the trade visitors and I took the opportunity to get my hands on several upcoming games.

After playing a first session of Diablo 3 (which was really great) I testet DJ Hero and Tony Hawk: Ride. Both games will ship with new interface gadgets – one being a small-sized plastic turntable and the other being a skateboard without wheels. I was very sceptical when I first heard the announcement of DJ Hero but after playing it I must admit that it is really fun. Scratching felt really precise and the hardware looked much better than the first prototypes. The overall turntable looks robust but from my first impression the mixer could be a potential weak spot.

Skating with Tony Hawk: Ride.

The skateboad controller of Tony Hawk: Ride looked and felt tough too but I was not very happy with the gameplay of the attached game. It felt like a skateboard game on rails with action events in between where you have to perform tricks at the right moment. I think this game will work pretty well for casual gamers but fans of the Tony Hawk series will perhaps be disappointed about the lack of freedom and control.

Little Big Joerg and Sackboy

The PSP Go looked a bit smaller than I thought but I was surprised how well the sliding mechanism works. Still I think it was a wrong descision by Sony to use only one analogue stick for the console but the overall impression of the handheld was very positive.

Surprisingly the console version of EA`s  Dragon Age looked really bad – both in terms of graphics and character control. I thought I would definitely buy this one, but now I am quite sceptical that this one will be as successful as Mass Effect 2 (which made a far better impression).

Heavy Rain looked really good but played a bit strange since the control scheme is very untypical – I hope this feeling will fade after playing some time because graphics and story really make me wanna play this one. Other games I can recommend to test at GamesCom are God of War 3, New Super Mario Bros Wii, Pixeljunk Shooter, RUSE, Starcraft 2 and the already mentioned Diablo 3 (and I am pretty sure that I forgot at least 10 more titles…).

Me and friends playing Diablo 3 multiplayer.

Compared to last year`s GC at Leipzig the GamesCom at Cologne seems to be a bit smaller and has – except of the official unveiling of the PS3 Slim – less big news than the GC 2008.  But if you are into games and have time to visit the GamesCom till Sunday I strongly recommend you to go there.

Thx to factoids@flickr for the pics!

2009 Outlook

As mentioned before, last year had a lot of beautiful games. Looking forward, it seems this will not change in 2009. Here is what I am totally looking forward in 2009:

Fat Princess (PS3)

This will be THE Playstation Network game in 2009. Two groups fight each other and try to kidnap the pricess of the enemy. The trick: The teams can feed their princesses. The more the teams feed, the fatter the princesses get. And kidnapping a fat princess is much more difficult and time-consuming than kidnapping a light one. Keeping this in mind, every team has to balance between fighting the enemy and feeding their princess. It looks like animal crossing with blood (IGN) and reminds me of the Warcraft III-Mod “Defense of the Ancients” (DotA) in terms of gameplay.

Street Fighter 4 (Multi)

Beautiful art style. Great characters. Well-defined controls. Nothing more, nothing less. I played it at last year`s game convention in Leipzig and it is an example for a very well-done revival of an old series.

Starcraft II (PC)

Blizzard is well-known for polishing a product till it`s perfect and that`s what everyone is expecting from Starcraft II: A well-balanced RTS-game with some new units and small but elaborated gameplay changes. The only question is: When will it be out? I hope this year.

Heavy Rain (PS3)

Heavy Rain is the successor of Fahrenheit. Both games arrange between interactive movie and an adventure with action sequences. But what I am really looking forward to are the story and the characters of this game.

Dawn of War II (PC)

I am totally into the Warhammer universe and Relic really did a great job of transfering the atmosphere of the universe into Dawn of War I. So what do I expect? Exciting skirmishes, beautiful animations and more varied settings. The possibility of equipping your heroes will provide an additional RPG-touch and the game series will feature Tyranids for the first time. Great :)

God of War III (PS3)

Yeah, I loved the style and gameplay of both precedessors so my expectations for part 3 are really, really high. And I am really interested what the team will do with the PS3, after sucking the very last bit out of the PS2.

Madworld (Wii)

When I saw the first screenshots of the game I just couldn`t believe that this will be shipping for the Wii – and only for the Wii. It looks like Sin City with even more splatter scenes and black humor. Madworld definetly appeals to a mature core gamer audience who owns a Wii (Hopefully this target group is large enough to get the game off the shelves). With all this party and casual games stuff around for the Wii, it is really time to give harcore gamers a thing to play with on their Wii.