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GamesCom Cologne 2009 Day Three

GamesCom Cologne 2009 Day Three

While this isn’t strictly the last day of the show, it’s definitely the last day of the convention for us here at bit-tech, where we have every intention of catching our plane back to the UK so that we can rest our tired toes and get a proper cup of tea again.

Just because it’s our last day at the show though, which will carry on for one more day without us, doesn’t mean we’ve slowed down – if anything we’ve sped things up, moving from publisher to developer at a furious pace. Disappointingly though we went past a speed camera at one point though and it turns out our top speed is really only about 12 miles per hour. Ah well.

Since we’re apparently going so slow, we thought we may as well bring you up to speed with what we’ve seen today for those of you who are in a proper rush. We’ll be writing proper, full-length previews and features on a lot of these titles in the coming weeks once we’ve assimilated the information properly and chased things up from the safety of Dennis Towers. In the mean time, you can check out our immediate impressions below.

*GamesCom Cologne 2009 Day Three GamesCom Cologne 2009 Day Three
Unfortunately, this was all EA had on show for Crysis 2

RUSE

Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3

The bad news about RUSE is that it’s quite obviously one of the most console-focused RTS games we’ve ever seen, with everything in the game divided up into nice big sectors and a super-friendly UI to the extent that, even though we played the PC version, we were still handed a controller to do so. The game was so ‘dumbed-down’ (if you want to look at it that way) in fact, that we managed to easily trounce the developer we were playing against by a margin of a few hundred points.

The good news though is that even though RUSE has streamlined and slimmed everything down to it’s absolute core essentials, the game still works surprisingly well, though there are still a few quirks. The central game mechanic of being able to deploy decoy armies and misdirect your opponent by controlling the available information may have been boiled down to essentially a handful of special abilities, but there’s still a decent amount of room for tactical manoeuvring.

Not as much room as we’d like admittedly though – despite how polished the game feels there’s still the underlying feeling nagging at us that this isn’t really a proper RTS game, nor is it truly a tactical affair. It’s simply a matter of using the special moves as best you can rather than learning the deeper tactics of the game balance – something which can easily be countered by good use of recon planes and well-divided troops.

*GamesCom Cologne 2009 Day Three GamesCom Cologne 2009 Day Three
There were plenty of live music acts going on throughout the day, despite technical hitches

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3

By far one of the most anticipated games of the year, as well as one of the most controversial due to the recent news of a price hike, Activision were careful to keep as much of the game as possible under wraps at Cologne this year. They weren’t showing any of the singleplayer content, nor answering any of our more carefully aimed questions. We did our best to seduce the developers with our musk and wink-winks, but to no avail.

On the plus side, what Activision did show turned to still be pretty interesting – namely the new co-operative game mode for two players, which can be played locally or online. If you want you can even run it solo, which is what we got to see, but since the game doesn’t scale difficulty to match the number of players you’d be best off going in as a pair – especially considering some of the new and improved enemy tactics.

Our favourite new addition to the game was the bullet-proof shields which have already been revealed in trailers and screenshots, allowing users a small zone of protection at the cost of a weapon. From what we saw though the shield itself is still pretty useful for ramming enemies – though it took more than one hit to best a similarly armoured baddie who decided his shield was better than ours.