GC 09: The five most hotly talked about games at Gamescom

Games so impressive that men can't stop talking about them

At any games show there are always a handful of titles that are so impressive they fuel an excitable word-of-mouth buzz that rises above the raucous din of the showfloor. And things at Gamescom are no different. We've seen an absolute ass-load of games since we arrived, but we're only talking obsessively about a select few of them. And after chatting with other show-goers, it's pretty obvious which games have had the most impact and left a lasting impression for all the right reasons. These are the games of Gamescom that everyone's talking about...

Mafia II (360, PC, PS3)

Anyone that saw the 20 minute play-through of Mafia II at Gamescom can't help but make comparisons with GTA IV. "It's properly GTA-d up", is the not entirely elegant post-demo summary that we've heard a lot. And it's an accurate observation. From main man Vito Scaletta's crummy apartment, the wanted system, the Molotov-cocktail tossing side-mission, the car resprays, the hookers... it's impossible not to be reminded of Rockstar's latest crime orgy. But this is a positive thing. Mafia II is definitely not some sleazy derivative knock-off job. It looks like it's going to be epic and awesome. We're excited.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)

Even though the guy that demoed the game during our 20 minute presentation managed to kill Nathan Drake in excess of 15 times (dude looked tired), we were still utterly impressed by Naughty Dog's sequel. We were even more impressed after indulging in some additional show floor hands-on time. Any changes are slight, but we weren't looking for a do-over. The first game left us wanting more. And this is more. And, judging by the lengthy queues for Uncharted 2 when the Gamescom doors opened to the public, that's exactly what the punters were after as well. More in-depth preview shaped words on Uncharted 2 next week.

Brink (360, PC, PS3)

One of the most staggering things about Brink is the sheer neck-breaking velocity of the action. Yes, it's a squad shooter, but holy hell-for-leather it's intensely fast. Guns. Blast. Mega-boom. Wow. The other most staggering thing about Brink is that it looks incredible. The art style, the detail, the more than several shades of one colour. It's gorgeous. And then there's the in-game, on-the-fly ability to change character-classes and the pop-up wheel menu mission selector. This is new, innovative territory stuff. The gathered men of Gamescom - us included - have all been suitably blown away by Brink.

Gran Turismo 5 (PS3)

Playable for the first time. On the show floor. How the hell could we not devote a lot of talky time to Sony's long-awaited car porn? And the chat has been largely positive. We were fully expecting it to look incredible and it absolutely does. We would have been quite happy to stand and ogle the replays over and over and over. Impressive lighting. Fancy camera angles. The damage system is a tad underwhelming when compared to how mashed-up motors get in other drivers, but being able to demolish trackside tyre walls - rather than bouncing off them - has definitely been a crowd pleaser.

Fable III (360)

Peter Molyneux craftily fed us enough tantalising Fable III nuggets at the Microsoft conference to ensure its place on every conversation agenda. Unsurprisingly, the big buzz is the apparent masterstroke of carrying save data over from Fable II to help create Fable III's hero. And the promise of being able to affect and change the whole of Albion as the kingdom's ruler certainly appealed to the inner megalomaniac of many mild-mannered attendees. Much debate has been debated regarding the game's 'touch' system. Will there be some Natal controller-less game play? Opinion's divided, but all we know is that - outside Microsoft and Lionhead - no-one really knows.

BONUS: Other favourite Gamescom talking points
- That the level of interaction with the game world in Heavy Rain is reminiscent of Shenmue.
- David Cage's presentation at the Sony Conference being a downer. Infant death makes everyone sad.
- Red Steel 2 being surprisingly good and actually working how everyone thought the first one should have done.
- The size of the queue to play BioShock 2. It was long.
- Modern Warfare 2's 'Special Ops' mode looked good, but let us see the 'main' game already.
- The Tony Hawk's Ride board peripheral being OK-ish. Bit slippy on the carpet, though. Will prob work best on a nice shag pile.

August 21, 2009

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