Gamescom 2010 report: 2/4

Our retrospective virtual stroll through gamescon 2010 continues in hall number 7, which houses what turned out to be some of the major ‘best of the show’ award winners. Sony’s Move controller won for best hardware accessory and will be supported in next year’s PS3 exclusive Virtua Tennis 4. With the accuracy offered by Move and the proven gameplay mechanics of this successful tennis franchise, sports fans who thought Wii tennis didn’t offer enough depth have something special to look forward to here. Other games that will be supported include Take 2’s NBA 2K11, Ubisoft’s Michael Jackson: The Experience, and the Lord of the Rings title Aragorn’s Quest by Warner Bros.

The star of the show for Sony, however, was Gran Turismo 5. The much-anticipated title, which has been in development for what seems like an eternity, did not only win ‘best console game of the show’ but also walked away with the title for ‘best overall game’. Perhaps not arcade-like enough for some, but since the game sports the subtitle “the real driving simulator” you can’t go into it expecting a next-gen version of Burnout or Ridge Racer. What you can expect are mouth-watering visuals, accurate handling, sounds and environments and an experience that is as close to the real thing as it will get on the PS3 for now… Though definitely best enjoyed with a dedicated steering wheel as your controller of choice, this is a title that lives up to all the promises even after all those years of hype and anticipation.

Valve Software was also present here, showing presentations of Portal 2 behind closed doors. The innovative first person puzzle game that was the original portal has gotten an upgrade in terms of production values as well in its scale. The voice acting was absolutely spot on (no easy feat when the character being voiced is a flying robot orb) and the improved source engine still delivers impressive visuals and physics effects. The presence of various gels you can bounce off of and accelerate on provide countless ways of overcoming the many obstacles this game throws at you. Some of the level solutions showcased in the trailer were amazingly ingenious, making me realize I should not be playing this game when I’m tired and looking to relax without thinking too much. Bring your wits and your reflexes when this game comes out early 2011; you’ll be glad you did.

Hall 7 was also home to Konami, who were showing most of their games previously mentioned in our report on their press conference (check out LINK for more details). The most promising title on display was (thankfully!) also the one that is due out soon, with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow coming out in a mere 5 to 6 weeks.

Our final spotlight for this area of gamescom is on Ubisoft, which was running presentations for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, which builds on Assassin’s Creed 2 and shows that more of the same thing is not necessarily a bad thing when the basic elements feel so familiar and good. That’s not to say that there have been no changes; the playing area has moved to Rome (some very familiar sights that are guaranteed to impress) and for the first time ever in the series there is now a multiplayer mode as well. It won’t be out on PCs until spring 2011 but look for it this holiday season on PS3 and Xbox 360.

Twin Galaxies’ coverage of gamescom continues tomorrow with a look at how major publishers like EA, Activision Blizzard, Lucasarts and Bethesda presented themselves, as well as some visual treats from the ‘art of games’ exhibit.

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