Gamescom 2011 Highlights - September 3rd 2011

They might be dime a dozen nowadays, but events like Gamescom are awesome. These sort of shows are jam packed with exciting software and enough PR spin to make you pre-order your life away. Some are industry only while others are wide open to consumers, and they're always good for a revelation or two. Gamescom is no stranger to big news, and although 2011 was a slightly muted affair, there was a lot of promising new games on display.


Uncharted: Golden Abyss

On top of being the first portable outing for Sony's flagship PS3 series, pretty much everything about Vita was a highlight for me at Gamescom. Golden Abyss looks fantastic. The graphics are obviously going to be the draw for a lot of gamers. But the idea of a "just as good" version for this gorgeous new handheld, complete with over two hours of cutscenes, is almost too good to be true. Developer Sony Bend (who did a fine job with Resistance Retribution for PSP) have ensured that all play styles will be catered for. Movement, aiming, and certain weapons like grenades are mapped to the touch screen and physical buttons. It's a prequel, but aside from the subtitle referring to the gate to hell, there's not much we know about the story. Nathan Drake is once again back in the spotlight, which should dispel any lingering thoughts that GA won't cut the mustard in terms of content and experience. One thing's for sure: it's going to be a system seller.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss looked fantastic on PS Vita.

Battlefield 3

EA showed off a brand new multiplayer map at their press conference, which featured Jets, a 64 player match on PC, and a little robot awkwardly bumping into a concrete bollard. It was pretty exciting stuff, all thing considered, and they even lifted the lid on the co-op mode. Activision are going to have to come up with something earth shattering if they plan on outshining what the team at DICE have put together. Frostbite 2 looks magnificent, and as long as the console versions don't feel too trimmed down, Battlefield 3 will be a huge hit this October.

Rayman: Origins

Yes! Rayman is back. The Rabbids were a nice diversion, but the unfortunate reality is that their antics in trailers were far more entertaining than the games themselves. They're starring in Kinect only party games now, which leaves Michael Ancel to work on a true 2D platforming prequel for arguably his finest creation. Even though it would be nice if he got around to finishing Beyond Good and Evil 2, the four player co-op and wonderfully charming art style of Rayman: Origins makes this one to watch. The "Music of the Forest" trailer from Gamescom was brilliant.

Rayman Origins is a welcome return to classic co-op action.

Journey

Another Sony published game, this curious follow up to ultra relaxing PSN title Flower turned heads at Gamescom. The art style alone is enough to take notice, but it's the co-op opportunities and exploration gameplay that have me intrigued. I'm still not really sure what to make of it. Developer Thatgamecompany have made a real name for themselves as architects of unusual, genre less downloadable games. Only time will tell if Journey can deliver an engaging experience.


Jon Titmuss

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