Day four of Gamescom will be forever remembered by yours truly as the day I actually got to sit down with some videogames for a period of time longer than around sixty seconds. Despite my internal body clock deciding that I needed to sleep through every alarm I set and oversleep by around three hours, I still made it to the Koelnmesse by around half past ten in order to continue the fine, fine standard of games reporting I’d established on day one.
Most of the day was spent writing up impressions of games from the day before and further editing some of the videos that will be doing the rounds on the interwebs soon, but I found an hour to go up to the show floor and properly sit down with Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic.
As you might expect – and if you’ve already read my hands-off preview – Mass Effect 3 is everything you’d expect from Shepard’s third outing and more. I probably spent longer than I should’ve upgrading my Shep, if only to fine-tune the new options available to me within each upgrade stream (such as exact adjustments to duration and effectiveness of my improved reflexes) but I still managed to complete about two thirds of the demo shown to me by Bioware the day before, which was enough to satisfy me until next March.
As for Star Wars: The Old Republic…as an MMO virgin, I had my non-existent expectations shattered by a game that was as well-presented as it was deep. Despite only having around twenty minutes to fiddle with my Jedi Knight, I was astounded by the simplicity of the interface and impressed with the accessibility of the combat and the familiarity of some aspects of the gameplay, including the trademark Bioware conversation wheel.
Star Wars: The Old Republic gets another paragraph simply because I was, deep-down, amazed at how well presented the game was. My dedicated preview goes into more detail, but the soundtrack, voice acting and the visual presentation all served the game infinitely well and ensured that even that most of wary MMO first-timers could have fun without much trouble. Consider me a contemplating convert.
The end of the day finally saw the EA UK community team and I go hands-on with the PC version of Battlefield 3 in a “winner stays on” challenge. It was pretty clear that the conditions of the contest were a ruse to motivate us, as the team we played against were absolute pros and we were, to put it simply, served better than a Michelin-star restaurant dinner. I still notched up a few kills here and there and was able to test the Frostbite 2 engine with a well-placed RPG. As a typical PC gamer, I couldn’t rate…but as a demolitions expert I was unmatched.
Today marks the day that a lot of the press goes home, presumably to make way for the oceans of the German and international gaming public that will swamp the halls of Gamescom over the weekend.
But not us. We’re here until Sunday to further brave the waves and play everything we can. What’s still on my list then? I’m pretty sure Battlefield 3’s PS3 co-op campaign on the main show floor will go better for me than the PC deathmatch, but I’ll need to find some way of braving the queues without wasting an entire day.