Europe has Gamescom, Japan has the TGS, and our trans-Pacific friends have E3. But here, in this sparse land we call Australia, there seems to be a severe shortage of dedicated video game conventions. This year, however (well, last year too, but it was at the Gold Coast so it doesn’t count), everyone’s favourite video game retailer EB Games is hosting their own expo, the creatively titled EB Games Expo. I’m sure you’ve all heard about this – after all, while it might be lacking the sorts of important announcements we might get from international conventions, the EB Games Expo 2012 will present to us thumb-twiddlers over 25,000 square metres of floor space, comprised primarily of upcoming games, accessories, and all-important free swag. And let’s not forget the e-sports, cosplay competitions, pop culture booths, and area focussing on Australian-grown video games.
Why am I harping on about this fantastic looking expo? Well, it’s because I’ll be there. That’s right – I, the near-godly writer behind this entire website, will be at the EB Games Expo in the flesh, for all three days of gaming goodness. Strictly on business duties, though – I won’t be there to have fun, I’ll be there to pick up as much free shit as my backpack will carry… and to live-tweet, Facebook, and publish daily posts on the site about the days happenings, of course.
But that’s still not the reason behind this post. I’ve been given a list of the games that will be exhibited as playable titles at the expo, and I’m here to tell you exactly which ones I’m looking forward to the most, and why. In no particular order. Oh, and I’ll only mention games that won’t already be out by the time the expo rolls around – sure, Borderlands 2 will be there, and I might pop around for some free swag, but the chances are I’ll have already played it three times by the 5th of October.
Alien: Colonial Marines
It should come as no surprise that I’m a huge fan of the Alien franchise. Gearbox Software are taking the helm for this entry into the series, which, according to Randy Pitchford, will be the first original storyline in an Alien video game. Compared to the mediocre last entry in the series, Rebellion’s Aliens vs. Predator, this title is dropping the Predator aspect and will hopefully focus on the atmospheric scares that are so vital to the film franchise. My primary hopes are that the primary aspect of this game is the singleplayer campaign rather than the multiplayer, and that the spaceship/alien planet/whatever the location is is dark, damp, not swimming in ammunition, and horribly isolated, even if you’re surviving with a fellow marine.
Far Cry 3
Don’t get me wrong, the last trailer I saw for Far Cry 3 (I think it was the E3 gameplay trailer, the one with the burning house) looked total rubbish. It was cheesy, it was clichéd, and it looked like something that I just didn’t want to play. But there’s a part of me, deep down inside, that can’t wait to see what Far Cry 3 is like. The seed of this is most likely just my love for the first one and my tolerance of the well-natured brown mess that was Far Cry 2 – I haven’t got enough room to list all my criticisms for that game, but man did I still enjoy it. I’m sure, though, that Ubisoft have heard all of these complaints a thousand times over, so all I can do is cross my fingers and hope that they take them on board.
I like Hitman. I really, really like Hitman. Sure, I’m totally shit at it, but I enjoy it. I never know which disguise to take or whether someone can see me at a certain point, I never seem to be able to get the hang of the clumsy control system in the earlier games, and I hate the hugely scripted, patterned behaviour of all of your targets, but I love every minute I’ve ever spent playing Hitman games. The most recent one, Blood Money, was the best thus far, and I, once again, am crossing my fingers and hoping that Absolution tops it.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
I’m not entirely sure I understand the concept of this game properly. Maybe I should do some research before blabbing about it online. But there’s one reason I’m looking forward to NFS: Most Wanted more than the vast majority of titles showing at the EB Expo. I fucking loved the original Need for Speed: Most Wanted. To those of you unfamiliar, a game with the same name was released in 2005 for every system imaginable, and it was fifteen levels of awesome. For that reason alone I’m desperate to play this reboot/sequel/remake/whatever it is. Oh, and Criterion are behind this one, the team that brought you Burnout: Paradise - yet another fantastic sandbox racing game that wholly deserves all the praise heaped onto it.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
I’m a bit of a Nintendo fanboy, and like all of us Nintendo fanboys, I wasn’t happy when I first heard about this little title. “But… but… it’s Super Smash Bros.!” I stammered to anyone willing to listen. And then I watched gameplay videos, and became to properly understand the concepts behind this game that differentiate it from SSB – while I’m not entirely sold yet, I’m looking forward to having a play with it and seeing exactly what it has to offer that I can’t already experience with my Nintendo characters.
Pokémon Black and White 2
This is the first direct sequel to a Pokémon title yet. I know, people will complain that it’s not a 3DS release, but to be honest the fact that it is just coming out for DS makes me think that there’s a bigger Pokémon game (well, two games) on the horizon, and Black and White 2 are here to tide over those of us who fell in love with the world of Unova and its unique inhabitants. Shit, I’m happy with that.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
All PC gamers born, at the latest, in the early 1990′s should have had wasted night after night on UFO: Enemy Unknown. This remake, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, is being handled by kings of strategy Firaxis, a name that should put a hopeful smile on any gamers face. Unlike the tragic FPS reimagining of the series, creatively titled XCOM, Enemy Unknown is a promising resurrection of a classic strategy series, and one that I cannot wait to test my Earth-saving skills on come October.
So there you have it. I’ll keep posting about the Expo, my plans, where I’ll be, what I’ll be doing, and other stuff that you are all oh so interested in. If you can get tickets, by all means do so, to support the idea of an Australian gaming convention and, of course, the opportunity to play some awesome games before release. I, for one, can’t wait.