I attended the Eurogamer Expo (EGX) in London along with thousands of enthusiastic gamers who queued up and waited for hours to get their hands on the next generation of console gaming. Both the XBOX One and the PS4 made their UK debut at the EGX, and it was a blast to hang out with gamers, chatting with them about their expectations from the next gen, what games they were looking forward to, and most importantly which side of the fence they were on – XBOX One vs. PS4.
Since the E3 announcement, I had made up my mind to go for the PS4, and even pre-ordered a day-one release edition. Hence, it was obvious that I was most excited to be at the PS4 booth, anxiously waiting to try the games out. But let me tell you one thing. Gaming cons such as EGX are not for the impatient. The queue for the PS4 booth was atrociously long, and I had to wait for almost 90 minutes before I could even play a single game. To make matters even worse, we were given game tokens, capping us on how many games we could play. And even worse, was that all the major games were put under one token. That sucked balls, but I kinda tried to sneak in to play as many games as I could. Here are my impressions.
Most of you might have seen it already. But for those who haven’t, it is small in a good way, looks as big as the PS3 Slim, and the design is growing on me. I already can imagine it looking great next to my PS3 (Yes, that’s not going anywhere for a while. Especially with PS Plus and my current backlog). Even though the floor was kinda noisy, I tried to listen if any noise came out of the machine. And it sounded very silent to me. Possibly, the games were being played from the hard drive, rather than from the BluRay drive.
I did see a few sneak pics of the new UI, and although it is a bit familiar to the XMB structure, it has been redesigned in a major way. I can’t really put a finger on it, but I really liked it.
I’ll state the obvious. It is a massive improvement over the DS3. This current gen, I have played with both the XBOX360 controller, as well as the DS3. And although the XBOX controller is my favourite, since I play more on the PS3, I have got accustomed to the DS3. Coming to the DS4, I had no hiccups at all. The grip is better, the shoulder trigger buttons have got it right this time, and even the L-R sticks feel good. The touchpad had limited functionality with the games I played, and remain to be seen as to how well they can be integrated within a gameplay session.
There are reports that the DS4 will work with the PS3 (only wired though, please Sony release a patch to make DS4 work wirelessly with the PS3). And I cannot wait to try my current breed of FPS games with the DS4.
Camera, AR, Playroom :
The PS4 camera (thank you for not calling Eye 2.0) is a very tiny sensor. It has dual cameras, and is at least half the size of the brick that is Kinect 2.0. This was certainly not on my list of things I was looking forward to. And by the time I was done in this booth, I HAD to order the PS4 camera bundle. Playroom comes free as a bundle with the PS4, but requires the camera. And boy, it is so much fun. You can have your army of alien minions, swiped out from your controller onto your living room carpet. You can kick them around, play peekaboo with them, and even suck them into a hoover. There is a PS4 twisted dimension version of Pong available as well, and you can even open up a bottle of virtual champagne to celebrate, without worrying about your carpet. All this sounds like a novelty, but with Playroom DLC’s in the making, and all of this being distributed for free with every PS4, I hope Playroom and the camera catches on. I have upgraded to the Mega bundle, which includes KZ:SF, an extra controller, and the camera.
Here’s a quick and brief overview of the games I got to play.
Knack looks super fun, but I will not be getting it day one. As much as I respect Mark Cerny, it does not deserve to be in my launch title purchase list. It is a fun platformer, and being a Sony Studio release, I expect it to land up on PS Plus in the first year itself. The graphics didn’t really feel next-gen to me, and that will be one of the most common complaints that you will keep hearing over the next couple of months.
Resogun is the Bomb! It sucked the living soul out of me. I am super excited about this game being a PS Plus title as well. It is a super fun arcade game that reminds me of Space Invaders. With simple controls and face-melting visuals, this can easily suck in hours of gameplay out of any arcade game fan.
Warframe: The third person shooter PC title is a console exclusive on the PS4. For a free to play game, the visuals were stunning. The game play is a bit like DmC/Vanquish/Bayonetta, but with co-op. And I will be playing it day one for sure.
Killzone: Shadowfall looks gorgeous. But still had a few glitches. I played the multiplayer, and I epicfailed. I had a KD ratio of 0:14. But what was more fail was that two players were thrown out of the session in the middle of the match due to a glitch. The visuals look like a very polished version of Crysis on a high-end machine. There was no screen tearing as is seen in current gen versions. This is promising, and it remains to be seen how multiplatform games such as COD or BF appear on the PS4 vs PCs.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag on the PS4 looks really good. But I have never been a big fan of the series tbh. I have played 1% of ACIII, and that is because PS Plus had it for free in the IGC. Black Flag has new elements, such as pirate ship combat, which looks like is trying to cash in on the popularity of Jack Sparrow. I am not a fan of the POTC series either. But for those who are, this could be fun. Yet, I did not see anything superlatively next-gen about this.
Octodad is HILARIOUS. No matter how many teasers you have seen of this game, the moment you play it, you will be in splits, and laugh until it hurts. And this is just one of those many Indie titles that Sony is getting on the PS4.
I couldn’t get into Hohokum. I played it briefly while I was queuing for Killzone. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t get into it properly. It looked very beautiful, and “graphic designer”y. Set in a world where a long ass sperm snake type thingie floats amongst colours and offers a drive to fellow creatures on its back – didn’t fascinate me at all. Sadly, the TV was muted, so I can’t tell if it was the lack of music that made it look a bit mundane.
Games I couldn’t play:
Drive Club : The queue was too long for me to keep waiting to play a racing game.
FIFA 14: Not a football game fan.
COD: Ghosts / BF4: Damn you fucking queue!!! Also, I think COD was being played on PCs rather than consoles.
So, I ended up feeling pretty excited about the next gen, even though Sony really did not have anything mind-blowingly awesome to show off as launch games. Destiny only had a 15 minute gameplay demo being screened on a big ass monitor. And Watch_Dogs had gameplay shown as played by the devs – no hands on. It all makes sense now that Watch_Dogs has been delayed. Sadly, inFamous: Second Son was nowhere to be seen.
Surprisingly, what excited me most about next gen was Playroom. But even with the deficiency of a strong lineup of launch titles, I am looking forward to the release day, just because of the Free-To-Play titles, which include – DC Universe Online, Blacklight: Retribution, Planetside 2, Warframe, and Warthunder. Clubbed with my launch bundle of Killzone: Shadowfall, and PS Plus titles of Resogun and Contrast, I am so ready for Nov 29.