Trade conventions teach people many things. They teach you organisational and time-management skills, they test your physical and mental endurance... and each year you can learn something new. This year, I learned that there is such a thing as a shower that's 'too' powerful. Imagine trying to wash yourself whilst the blasted contraption is also trying to plaster you against the wall.
Anyway – The first official day of Gamescom was a bit of a typical one, but I'll run down what I saw and give you some top line feedback, before we do the main write-ups:
Mars War Logs – Focus Home Interactive (XBLA, PSN + PC Digital) In addition to finishing work on Of Orcs and Men, Spiders (the development studio) are working on a science-fiction themed RPG. What's odd about this one is that they want to keep it to just around 15 hours of length, so it's going to be like a bite-sized version of Mass Effect. Stay tuned.
Ni No Kuni – Namco Bandai (Playstation 3) I think I may be the only person who doesn't really 'get' Ni No Kuni... everyone else seems to be raving about it. It looks lovely, don't get me wrong, and from the demo it plays reasonably well... maybe I'm just getting too old for this s***.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 – Namco Bandai (Xbox 360 & Playstation 3) There wasn't a lot of new stuff to see here in terms of action, but Namco were talking about some other features of the game, and showed off their premium online service, World Tekken Federation.
Company of Heroes 2 – THQ (PC) We may have talked a lot about COH2 already, but this was like an hour-long hands-on session, so we'll have some updated impressions for you. In short, it's looking good, and apart from some subtle features it doesn't seem all that different from the first game. We'll let you decide if that's good or bad.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing – Neocore (PC) Neocore's new action-rpg, this is a Diablo-like game without all the messy DRM-intensive back-end, and a lot more character. The studio may not have had all that much success with recent titles like King Arthur 2, but they always manage to put a lot of character into their games, and Van Helsing seems no exception.
Dark (PC & 360) Demonicon (PC, 360 & PS3) – These Kalypso Media titles were pretty standard affair. Demonicon we saw last year, and whilst visually it's looking better it still very much remains to be seen what will become of it. Dark looks like it could be a nice little stealth-action game however, and they've got a good art style going.
Highlight: Omerta: City of Gangsters – Kalypso Media (PC & Xbox 360) Imagine Tropico. Now imagine that there was an XCOM-style combat layer attached to it, and the whole thing was set in Prohibition USA. The clear highlight of the day (and possibly of the show?), it was surprising how interesting Omerta turned out to be, and we can't wait to get more of it.
A brief snapshot of the first day, and of what's on offer throughout the show. Day Two has a lot to offer as well, from Rome II to Beyond, so as always stick close to your radios! Until tomorrow.