A rAge 2012 Journey
Over the past weekend, the largest gaming expo in South Africa was being held for the tenth year in a row, resulting in a massive convergence of gaming folk from all over the country. So many exhibitors, developers, media folk and gamers under one roof was a sight to be witnessed. The Coca-Cola Dome was flooded with a salvo of all sorts of life forms, which a human being scarcely witnessed only once in a while. It was a sight both awe-inspiring and scary at the same time. At times so crowded; every claustrophobe from here and yonder would be seen running with flailing Claptrap arms. Don’t be misled, it’s a good thing. (Except for the claustrophobic folk, that is.)
Yes everyone, I’m talking about the rAge expo!
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Read on and join us in the rAge 2012 excursion the eGamer team undertook. (For the record: We travelled in a non-shady-looking white van that did not contain any volatile or illegal chemicals whatsoever… Maybe…)
The Sights and Sounds
According to confidential sources; the Coca-Cola Dome’s roof soars 42 meters high across the soil that was being trampled by gaming feet and housed all things gaming-related for 3 whole days.
The sounds that bear-hugged one’s ears were of speech emanating from thousands of eager gamers, announcements being blasted over the expanse of sacred gaming land, the games being played and the deafening holler of people throwing prizes into a crowd willing to asphyxiate one another over a key-chain. (Note: The term; “Bear-hugging” may not be used when standing next to a 2-feet tall speaker at the main stage.)
Besides the ear-deafening sounds; that I’m not complaining about, merely stating, the sights intrigued like none other. (“None other”, meaning none other gaming related sight. -Insert winking smiley-)
The many sights consisted of many playable games, trailers being played over a hovering screen, new and flabbergasting technology, a ton of stalls selling games and accessories, the massive NAG LAN, cosplayers and the resplendent booth-babes.
My two favourite dressed-up individuals were Batman and Hitman. We had an exchange of words with Batman in the Media Lounge and the over-exposure to his well-crafted suit caused unfortunate back-pain. I do love the irony. Hitman is one we can only speculate about. We found him posing and being just plain awesome at the Hitman Absolution stand in traditional Hitman attire and seeing him a while after that in traditional civvies. We assume he killed someone and worked his magic with a disguise. A mysterious pile was found in an abandoned Hospitality Suite, but we were watchful about actually inspecting it.
Pyramid Head from the Silent Hill series was handing out “Free Hugs”. Cavie was brave enough to make a move and received a free hug. I, for one, was running in the opposite direction, desperately holding on for my life and my skin. I prefer an intact and functional skin, thank you very much. (Any confusion about the skin issue; please see the Silent Hill movie.)
The Games On Display
The one thing that made this expo for me all the more awesome was the fact that I could play demos of unreleased games. Sure, you can expect this at a gaming expo, but it’s something I cherish.
Games on the show floor included: Medal Of Honor: Warfighter, Resident Evil 6, Lost Planet 3, Tomb Raider, Devil May Cry, God Of War: Ascension, Far Cry 3, Assassin’s Creed III, Hitman: Absolution, Halo 4 and Forza Horizon. All these games are still works in progress, but a lot of promise could be seen. I didn’t play everything at the expo, regrettably.
My personal impressions of the following games:
Assassin’s Creed III
Three playable demos showing enough potential to have me eagerly awaiting this game and being able to play Assassin’s Creed Liberation for the PS Vita while waiting to play Assassin’s Creed III is an added and very welcome bonus. The demos consisted of traditional singleplayer, multiplayer and Naval Battles. It has the classic Assassin’s Creed feel but with a different feel altogether. I know it sounds very contradicting, but that’s the vibe I got. While I liked the characters from the previous two titles’ multiplayer, there’s a few designs for the multiplayer characters that have got me wanting to stab my fellow Assassin’s Creed fans more than ever. However the multiplayer has never been the selling point for me, it’s the single player that gets me all giddy. Like much of the games to follow, I can’t wait.
I’m not a person for driving games. The racing genre is something that many other gamers enjoy and I respect that, even though it’s not my cup of tea. I found the brief demo for Forza Horizon quite enjoyable. I’ve come to appreciate the rewind mechanic from previous racing games, and I found this one straight forward and it worked for me without having to be an expert racing gamer dude person. It was a short demo and I used the rewind function more than I probably should have. It looks nice and I’m sure the racing fans will enjoy it.
Devil May Cry
The latest Devil May Cry had a lot of fans moaning and whining about the different direction it’s taking, alongside the fact that the visual change the protagonist’s undergoing is apparently a cardinal sin. To me, I love the new direction and the new look of Dante. I’m not a hardcore Devil May Cry fan or anything, but this is something I’m really looking forward to. The demo had me jumping around, eviscerating demonic cameras, shooting and slicing all types of baddies beside demonic cherubs. What I really liked about it was that you have angelic and demonic powers all at your disposal. Holding down L2 for angelic powers and R2 for demonic powers. Each one being useful in its own way. Some ledges needed to be pulled out by your chain while fuelled by demonic power, before pulling yourself to it with angelic power. It’s something you have to play for yourself in order to appreciate it. When you get used to the controls, you’ll be guaranteed to have a blast.
Our beloved Agent 47 makes an appearance after six full years, with Hitman: Blood Money released in 2006. I have to admit that being able to play the demo had me wanting to play so much more. The flexibility and variety is back in full swing. The idea of killing people in different ways and trying to fool the AI has always been a selling point for me in the Hitman games. When you begin the demo; a lot of things are being shown to you, like your target, a potential disguise and means of extermination. Your target is on the phone and in the middle of a courtyard filled to the brim with a very energetic crowd. What I like is that you’re handed a bunch of tools with which you can do as you please. A cover system has been implemented and I can’t help by having mixed feelings about this. Mostly due to the fact that it will grant players the chance to go in guns-blazing like a regular action game. Sure, you could’ve done that in the previous games, but it wasn’t encouraged. You could see that the demo was still a work in progress, but it didn’t stop me from having a fine old time. That, and accidentally breaking the guy’s neck I’m only trying to subdue. To the Hitman fans; keep an eye on this one.
It’s the same old deal with fans loving it and the rest hating it. I don’t know why it’s so completely controversial, but it’s always been like that. Marko can vouch for it being fun. It looks nice and certainly has the fans going bonkers. Don’t know exactly how I feel about this one, but I’ll be more decisive about it when I’ve played the finished product. It certainly looks like an improvement, let’s hope it is.
God Of War: Ascension
Welcome back to the gaming industry’s bad-ass with the shortest temper. Taking place before the original God Of War, Kratos is slaying enemies with the needed / brutal efficiency. The demo had me tearing enemies in half, ripping off their heads and making it feel as satisfying as it did the first time. The demo was short, but had enough platforming and combat to make me want play the finished product. The amount of detail for a demo was astonishing. It ends with Kratos propelling himself to the Titanic-sized enemy causing mayhem at sea. That and spilling the brains of an elephant warrior and hearing the reaction behind you while doing so is oddly satisfying.
Meeting The Team
Last and certainly not least was the fact that I got to meet a large portion of the eGamer team. Guys, it was amazing meeting you. An absolute honour and privilege. Don’t know how else to say it.
It was hectic, but I enjoyed my time at this year’s rAge. I look forward to next year and to what it has in store for us. Before you go, do tell us about your experience and thoughts about the expo.
Until next time, take care.