GamesCom Cologne 2009 Day One

Written by Joe Martin

August 20, 2009 | 08:21

Tags: #booth-babes #borderlands #cologne #events #pspgo #scribblenauts #shattered-horizon #starcraft

Companies: #futuremark #gamescom

Little Big Planet PSP

Platform: PSPGo
Again, it might seem odd that our attention was drawn to a handheld console, but what we were mainly interested in in this case wasn’t the game, but the console itself. This was the first chance we got to go hands-on with Sony’s new handheld – the PSPGo. Again, our cynical expectations were shattered – the PSPGo felt a lot better than we expected.

Although Sony is quick to talk about how much smaller and lighter the new machine is, that really isn’t what we like most about the PSPGo . Instead, it’s the little things that make it such an improvement, like the small area that’s recessed around the thumbstick, allowing you to get a much better grip on the game without your thumb flying off the moment your palms get sweaty. We’re still a bit baffled why Sony’s laid the thumbsticks out the way they have instead of adding a second thumb stick or simply positioning it opposite the D-pad, but nevermind.

As for the game itself, we really only got a quick ten minute play with Little Big Planet before we were called away to the Microsoft press conference, but we were still mightily impressed. The PSP version of the game looks to be a faithful adaption of the PS3 game, with many of the same abilities and features. Our short time with the game meant we didn’t have enough time to finish building our hot air balloon (especially since we got stuck switching between layers), but we’re pretty sure it would have flown anyway.

GamesCom Cologne 2009 Day One GamesCom Day One - PSPGo and StarCraft 2
A love between woman and plumber is a love that was never meant to be

Borderlands

Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3

There were both good and bad things about our experience with Gearbox’s cel-shaded co-op game. The bad news was that the presentation was entirely in German and despite having played a million WW2-set games, we didn’t understand a bloody word of it. The good news is that meant we could have a good long chat with a couple of 2K Games reps who were on hand, much to the annoyance of the German journos nearby.

Billed as a role-playing shooter, it seemed odd that much of what 2K was showing seemed to be pulled from the single player campaign, not the four-player co-op mode which has us most interested. Still, that’s by far the least weird thing about this cel-shaded, space-western, genre hybrid of a game!

Since it was our first proper peek at Borderlands, we’ll admit that we were very surprised to see how extensive the RPG side of the game was, with dozens of stats and upgrades available for each of the four characters and the supposed-billions of weapons that’ll be available in the game – a feature we unfortunately can’t attest to. Yet.

GamesCom Cologne 2009 Day One GamesCom Day One - PSPGo and StarCraft 2
We have no idea what game they are advertising

StarCraft 2

Platform: PC Exclusive

Blizzard had two booths up on the show floor this year; one for Diablo 3, which had a huge queue outside, and the comparatively quiet StarCraft 2 one. It was as much our hatred of queuing as our lust to play the game which lead us in to have a look at Blizzard’s latest strategy epic for a quick burst of gaming between meetings.

The exact level we decided to settle down with was one labelled ‘Tooth and Nail’ – and it was a fight which certainly lived up to it’s name, tasking us with scouring a Protoss shrine world for valuable relics while also trying to resist attacks from the Protoss and the Zerg. Nevermind that it was one of the earlier missions in the game – we still found it very difficult holding off both forces with naught but a team of marines and marauders.

What we liked most about our time with Starcraft 2 though wasn’t the missions themselves, but the strengthened sense of character and tension that’s been built into the new cutscenes and between-battle interactions onboard the Hyperion. Titus may be a stereotype in a can (literally), but chatting with him before the briefing was still well handled.

Keep your eyes peeled for what may be going on in Day Two of GamesCom!
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