23 August 2010

Gamescom - Day 4

The Sunday being the shortest day at Gamescom we decided to get there as early as possible, so I guess we went inside half an hour after it's opening at around 9:30 A.M.. We were already a little tired because of the previous days but were really looking forward to our last day.

After this lame introduction I just gave you, I'll tell you that we decided to split. My friend wanted to get into the Starcraft 2 Challenge contest as early as possible, but I later heard that he was stunned as all spots, even the runner ups, had already been given away. In the meantime I looked around to see how long I would wait for the big shooters like Medal of Honor, Call of Duty and so on.

I finally played some good 10 minutes of ArcaniA: Gothic 4. I started out as an Emo telling his girlfriend that he wants to marry her. She tells you that they'd have to get approve from her father, so you go to him. He gives you your first quest. Go to the mountains, beat the crap out of an old douche (a familiar face actually) and get his weapon. This old douche on the other hand, because he seems to be so strong and unbeatable, tells you to do him the favor of slaying two goblins who are looting his boat every now and then. You do the deed, get the weapon, and bring it to your girlfriend's father.

I stopped playing right here. I notcied from watching the other players that the demo would have run a lot longer but I wanted to spend some time on other stuff too. Arcania looks pretty nice. Like Oblivion with a bit better texturing. The animations were OK. There is a big open world. I did find some minor bugs, but nothing bigger than clipping mistakes and immortal people (I did try to kill the old douche :P). The most important thing was the atmosphere. Despite the lack of any sound (Gamescom too loud) I did feel soaked in. The graphics look nice and believable without copying too much of any other style. They were actually like the graphics of Risen, only bigger and better. The quests seemed to be small and interchained and you didn't have to walk too far. As a stupid WoW nerd I was missing a quest helper on the minimap at the beginning, but then I started reading the quest texts more carefully and got all the information I needed from there. So for the ten minutes it felt good. I'm looking forward to the first reviews. Hopefully we'll have two good 'Gothic'-series in the future.

After that I returned to my buddy who was at the Blizzard stage. No! he was ON the Blizzard stage! Being too far from him to tell me, I could only wait for the moderator to explain what was going on. He was invited to the Blizzard quiz. His competitor and him were asked a series of questions, and the first to get three questions right would be the winner. Whenever they couldn't answer a question the public would be asked. I actually got the chance to answer but, oh boy, did I fail. The question was (translated from german) 'In Diablo 1, which chaplain led an army into the Cathedral?'. I answered Griswold, forgetting about the chaplain part, but the correct answer was Lazarus of course. The winner got a diablo book from 'The Sin War'.

Other questions I remember that were asked:
- What's the the name of the weapon you definitely need when facing Nefarian? Don't have a clue and don't remember the answer.
- Who is Onyxia's father? My friend got nervous and answered Nefarian instead of Deathwing.
- Who opened the Dark Portal? Medivh. Easy point for his competitor.
- What's the name of the weapon from the Corsair in StarCraft 1? Here they got to choose one of three answers. The competitor had the right one.
- What's the name of the Diablo-world? The public answered Sanctuary.

My friend lost 2:3, but he can't say that he feels like a loser. He got A T-shirt, a mousepad he gave me (thank you!!), some books and the Wrath of the Lich King Collector's Edition!! WoW! He also got a WoW TCG card which is supposed to be worth some money. The other guy got exactly the same stuff, except for the WoW card, which was different and according to my friend his competitor's card is worth in the thounsands of Euros.

After that it was time for a break and some celebration. We got some german sausages with some mustard and bread rolls ;) Then it was already time for the final StarCraft 2 matches. We got some of the best seats (front row, sitting, in the middle) and watched Dimaga beat Tarson for the 3rd place, and MorroW surprising the audience by beating IdrA in the final round.

The Gamescom as a whole was really fun and we were sad that we couldn't be there for a couple more days. We didn't see a lot of different games because we spent more than half the time watching StarCraft 2 matches, but we definitely think that it was worth it. Especially since both of us won prizes :P I don't know about Gamescom 2011 yet. Maybe we'll go only one day, maybe all four again. Time will tell.

21 August 2010

Gamescom - Day 3

The day started a bit chaotic. Another friend of mine who had his day off wanted to come along to Gamescom. He had the 'great' idea of driving us there by car. We only had to meet him at his place at 9:30 A.M.. I left my house at 9:00 A.M., and purposefully missed the train that would have gotten me there at around 9:30, because I thought I would take the bus at 9:10 which would have taken me to his place at around 9:20. After waiting for a long time I realised that today was a Saturday, meaning that the bus wouldn't be at my place until after 9:50 A.M.. When I went back to the train station I read that the next train would arrive at 9:51, so I decided to call my friend and pick me up.

On our way to the Gamescom we got into some heavy traffic jam. Luckily we didn't have too much trouble finding an empty parking space, but we did need to do a lot of walking to get to the main entrance of the Gamescom. My other friend (the one from the previous days) rushed to the Blizzard stage to sign in to the Starcraft 2 Challenge competition, but didn't even get a runner up spot. They had all been taken away.

After some scouting through various halls we dediced to meet at 11:30 at the THQ booth to play some Smackdown vs Raw 2011. We were overwhelmed by the controls (as was expected with a Wrestling game) but we actually thought that it was quite good. The moves didn't seem too quick or too slow, there was a lot of action and showing off possible. We even managed to do a couple of the wrestler's signature moves.

Second we went to the Nintento area to try out some Donkey Kong Country Returns. After some initial problems (we tried to do a boss-fight right after getting the controls) we got right into the game. As far as I remember the old Donkey Kong Country the new one felt exactly like it. Easy controls, nice coop action, and easily accesible jump and run craziness. Also kudos to the Nintendo lady at that booth who was very nice :)

Next we tried out PES 2011. Now, I used to play a lot of FIFA. But that was back in the 97-99 era. And boy, how much has changed since then. Back then the players used to do exactly what the controls felt like they would do. You would point the D-Pad to the right and he would either pass or shoot to the right. But nowadays who have to pay close attention to the animations, the player's standing and the enemy to figure out how the shot or pass will actually play out. It feels a lot more realistic than back in the old days. I can't say if it's more fun but I also won't say it isn't. I'll leave that up to more experienced FIFA/PES players.

Finally I tried some Torchlight II or a couple of minutes in order to compare it to Diablo 3. Gameplay-wise it felt very much the same. Nice gameplay with well-thoughout skills in a monster-friendly environment. Hack'n'Slay at its best. I played some sort of barbarian who would gather bonus points for each kill. You could spend those points on each special attack you used, making the attack stronger the more points you gathered previously. Much like the Rogue from World of Warcraft or the Assassin from Diablo 2. The only thing I couldn't quite figure out is how to activate newly learned spells and I had some problems with soem hotkeys. Other than that it was as accesible as Diablo 3. The graphics were similar to those of Torchlight I but I guess they updated the engine a tad. There were exterior environments also. The only downside compared to Diablo 3 will probably be the atmosphere. It's just too comical. But I guess it will be a superb way to pass you time until Diablo 3 is released.

The second half of our day we spent watching the Semi-Finals of the Starcraft 2 tournament. The hall was filled with people to its very edges and we only got a good spot towards the middle after some good scouting of empty positions. But we did have to lie on the floor. I was actually so tired that I had to close my eyes several times, only to be awakened by louder-than-usual screams by the crowd or comments by Day[9] or Apollo. There were some great matches.

Through the break they had this german hip-hop musician named Sammy Deluxe. I don't have anything against hip-hop, not at all, but his music was very annoying. He was especially irritating because he often made comments about how video games made people ignorant towards public interests and that we should play less. Those comments may have been okay to some extent but using Gamescom as the place to voice them... Seriously? Go to hell, man!

After the break I found us some empty chairs at the back of the room. It made enduring the tournament a lot easier. We're looking forward to tomorrow's final games and hopefully my friend will get his wish to play the Challenge missions at the Blizzard stage.

20 August 2010

Gamescom - Day 2

I slept a lot better last night. From the mere 4,5 hours I went up to almost 7 hours this time and throughout my stay at the Gamescom I felt a lot more refreshed. Yesterday I had to be hasty in the morning because I overslept half an hour. Today I had to be hasty in order to buy me some food before heading to Gamescom. But as usually, when I buy food it is too much.

My friend and I got there at quarter to ten, minutes before they opened the gates. A huge mass of people were waiting to get inside, to be the first wave of that day, and we were afraid that it would take ages to move the crowd, but it merely cost us ten minutes. After taking a small detour we immediately headed to Hall 9 to watch the StarCraft 2 matches. We got some got spots and sat on some cubes, very close to the commentators of the games, Day[9] and Apollo. We watched all of the games that were presented so we stayed there for more than 4,5 hours, and they didn't even show all of the matches, due to time conflicts. We also watched presentations of R.U.S.E. (sucked), and Total War: Shogun 2 (quite good) inbetween some games.

After the matches we took our lunch-break, and we went to the Blizzard booth in Hall 8 to see if my friend could sign in for the Challenge match I won the previous day. Unfortunately he only got a runner up spot, and all of the contestants showed up. My friend promised that he would sign up a lot earlier tomorrow. The contestants were quite good. The winner actually broke my record of losing 1/1/0 units in the first Terran Challenge, he only lost 1/0/0 and in the Protoss Challange he surpassed my 158 kills by more than 30. But he had to do it again because a lot of the contestants had equal points, counting all of the challenges. Then one of the guys did like 198. I think at that point 3 of the contestants had 1 point, so the judges decided to let the players play Rush Defense. A lot of them had major issues but one guy managed to lose only two units to the Zergling rush, so he won. He got his prize, and this is where I feel a little cheated. He got everything I got, plus a StarCraft 2 Collector's Edition. Damn it :P

Anyway. Soon after I let my friend know that I would derive from our original goal to final spend more time in other Halls than just 8 and 9, so I actually got the balls to wait more than 2,5 hours in line for Diablo 3. My friend decided to join me but abandoned me after abouth alf an hour to participate in a Blizzard quiz. He didn't get into it, so he could just watch others do it and win more blizzard fan stuff and games. He also watched some show matches between TLO and Dimaga in StarCraft 2. Both things I could actually do while waiting in line for Diablo 3, because the waiting line was just a bit further ahead of the Blizzard stage.

Finally I got to sit on my seat to play some Diablo 3. I decided to play the Witch Doctor class because I could remember some of his videos and I found his playstyle to be very cool and easily accesible. Monk and Wizard also seemed cool but somehow too strange for a brief 20 minutes of gameplay.

At first I was dissapointed with the graphics. The textures were blurry, and the effects looked a bit too colorfriendly. But after while I noticed that this game has it's own art style. Yes, it is still very blurry and feels empty, but somehow the rough edges of cliffs and the bad weather felt really dark and alien in a good diabolic way. I can't say anything about the sound because, despite being in this booth it was still too loud to understand any Quest-dialogue. Nothing was in written form by the way. The gameplay itself felt a lot like Torchlight. Very streamlined, very action-oriented but with well thought-out skills that feel very complimentary. It's also nice to see the Tetris-inventory return. The whole demo was very focused on the action. I didn't have to return to town once for any reason. Other than that this game, compared to its predecessor, felt a lot like StarCraft 2, compared to its respective predecessor. The developers don't seem to focus on anything new and fancy. Instead they use some fancy new stuff to polish the well-established game experience that we've already seen in Diablo 2. But hopefully they'll add some PvP features in the future.

19 August 2010

Gamescom - Day 1

Well, Gamescom started yesterday but today was my first day and I thought I'd post my impressions on it.

I went there with a buddy of mine and we arrived there at around 10:40 A.M.. After a long walk through the main hall we decided to go into Hall 8, pretty clueless of what to expect there. There were stages to play Guild Wars 2, Medal of Honor, Crysis 2 and a lot of other games. There was also the huge staging area for the pro-gaming matcvhes of Quake Live and StarCraft 2. After some roaming around we decided to wait at the Crysis 2 line. We waited around 30 minutes until they let our group of ten in. When playing I was immediately dissapointed. I expected some cool single player scenario where I could fight aliens in a demolished New York City. Instead we got to play 10 minutes of what looked like a flat Counter-Strike copy. Classes, objectives and all that shit. It was nice in itself but not the stuff I waited for in line.

We really didn't want to force ourselves into any lines, we also left out many other halls for the days to come, so most of the time we just continued roaming aroun through Hall 8 and Hall 9. Hall 9 was most prominent for the Blizzard stage, stuff from Square Enix, and the very crazy Razer and Bigpoint stages.

A big sing flashed at the Blizzard stage, advertising a contest in SC2 Challenge maps. My friend and I mistook it for the 'In Utter Darkness' map, where you have to kill off as many Zerg as possible before your forces die. He convinced me into participating in the contest and we got so psyched up talking about the one strategy the would help me beat the mission. This contest was scheduled for 1:30 P.M.. It then got postponed to 3:00 P.M. and soon after to 4:00 P.M..

My friend and I had planned to watch all of the StarCraft 2 matches live at the stage but we missed a good amount of them due to these contest problems. Well, just minutes before the contest started I found out that we weren't supposed to play 'In Utter Darkness', but instead the Challenge mission where you control a fully built Protoss base and have to kill as many zerg as possible in a set amount of time. So all the psyching up for this map was for nothing after all. I also got nervous because I found out that we were going to play the german version and I was afraid I couldn't manage to control my army because I was used to english hotkeys. Luckily this german version had english hotkeys preset.

Six of us were led on stage at 4:08 P.M. While the moderator was explaining the map and the rules to the audience we had time famliarizing ourselves with the Challenge mission and set up the control groups for my army. After a while the moderator gave us the go to start. While I will not explain what exactly I did in this map, we ended up being 4(!) of six players with exactly 158 kills each of us. So pretty much a draw.

So next we had to prove ourselves with the first Terran Challenge mission. The one where you set up your groups of preset units against zerg waves. I remember that two of the six people (probably the ones who didn't get 158 kills in the previous map) lost the first round because they lost too many units compared to the rest of us. I lost one marine. The second round I also lost one marine. In the third round of this map I didn't lose a single unit, while my strongest opponent lost 7. So, I won the Razer Imperator which is a mouse for right handed people. I am a lefty :( Anyway, like all other contestants I also go the german version of the book I, Mensgk. A SC2-T-Shirt and a strategy guide. Some of these things may actually find their way onto E-Bay. Finally, I got interviewed. I was asked about my SC2-competence, what league I play in, and if I had any ambitions of becoming pro and how often I play. My answers in short: Some. Diamond. No. Little.

Anyway. I thank my buddy for convincing me into participating. He got jealous that he didn't do it himself ;) After that we returned to watch some more StarCraft 2 pro-games of Idra bashing DeMusliM and left the building at around 7:00 P.M.

I'm looking forward to more contests tomorrow ;)

15 August 2010

Nice replay with nice ending

I just watched this replay and laughed my ass off at the end. The plain battle is good but nothing special, so skip ahead and pay attention to the last few minutes. And don't be afraid of the 1:61 hours it shows on the homepage. It's actually 'only' 61 minutes long. But you will skip a lot of it anyway.

- http://sc2.replayers.com/replays/view/2024