On Thursday 13th October the PlayStation Access roadshow opened in Glasgow for its second outing of 2011. Like February’s show, this was again a FaceBook organised event, with tickets being issued strictly to friends of the FB page only. This, I think, created a certain whiff of exclusivity and by glancing at the modest queue built up outside the doors it was clear this wasn’t an event open to just anyone.
When I visited the show earlier this year, I was quite delighted to see a high-end gaming show coming to Glasgow for a change. I have found in recent years that unless you live in London or the other major cities in England, there really isn’t a lot to offer. So as I made my way to the event, situated inside the ‘Glue Factory,’ in Glasgow’s Maryhill district, I was eager to find out what was on show this time around.
Stepping inside the dark and dingy warehouse that is the Glue Factory, I got the sense that I was entering an old torture chamber as opposed to a high-tech games fest. A mixture of cold, stained grey walls and a forboding set of stairs leading upwards to who knows what. That, together with a pungent, damp aroma, and you can imagine that this is no glamour event. No, this is a back to basics venue with little hint of charm.
But all that didn’t matter when I reached the top of the stairs and was blinded by the multicoloured, luminous neon lighting. It really did feel like an assault on the eyes at first but brought with it a great deal of excitement. From the signing in desk I caught a glimpse of some of the games being displayed on the Sony screens, further increasing my eagerness to get my hands on a PS3 pad. Once signed in and sporting my wristband, I wasted no time invading the show floor.
First on my radar was the behemoth that is Battlefield 3. Having had such a wait since the previous installment and being tantalized by the incredible trailers for this game throughout 2011, I couldn’t wait to see what changes developers DICE had made. And boy I wasn’t to be disappointed! The game continues in the same vein as Battlefield 2, in that it is full on and in your face. This actually feels like a ‘battle.’ The action is insanely violent, brutal and exhilarating. I get the feeling that this could be the closest thing to real warfare you can get without getting your hands dirty. But just as soon as I had begun to get my rhythm in the game, I was disappointed to see the DEMO OVER screen flash up. I really think this was a slightly stingy effort, and I believe that a little longer in the game wouldn’t have gone a miss. Listening in to other gamers reactions told me I wasn’t alone in this opinion. I only hope that the rest of the game is as good, if not better than what I have so far experienced!
Following on from that I slid over to the Resistance 3 bay, which was sporting the new ‘sharpshooter’ Move gun attachment. The moment I slipped the slinky sub-machine gun into my hands a rush of childhood memories flooded my head. As a kid, playing fake gun fights with pals was a real passion. If I only knew that at 29 years of age I’d still be doing the same. This time with the help of a massive HD screen only feet away, as I blasted computed generated baddies into oblivion! What a huge selling point the Move has. I really must purchase this.
Prior to arriving, I had researched to find out exactly what games would be on show. So I had quite a healthy wish list to satisfy. Advertised on the FaceBook page were a host of yet to be released titles. Among them the aforementioned Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3, Assassin’s Creed Revelations and Batman Arkham City. The latter I was looking forward to the most. But sadly, while chatting to event staff, I was informed that Batman did not feature. Having been such a massive fan of the first game and written a preview of Arkham City on GGUK earlier this year, I was extremely disheartened to hear that news. Although I hadn’t come solely to play one game, I was expecting to get a chance to play a section of the gameplay. The one positive I can take is the fact the game is released on the 21st October!
On entering the event, visitors were handed 4 free drinks passes, enabling them to quench their thirst between gaming sessions. On offer everything from water and soft drinks, to bottles of beer for the more battle hardened soldiers in the crowd! No food was on offer I must add though. I couldn’t help but feel a little hungry during the 4 hour event. If it was my choice I would rather have seen some pizza and nibbles on display.
One of the major themes of February’s show was 3D gaming. It gave gamers a chance to experience a brand new side to their best loved titles. Looking back, visitors really were bombarded by 3D images emanating from almost every game on show. However, this time around I never once put on a pair of 3D glasses. Perhaps this was a conscious decision by Sony to concentrate less on 3D and more on the actual games. I can’t help, though feeling a little disappointed.
The one game that Sony really went to town on at Access was Uncharted 3. Featuring a jungle themed room, complete with foliage, ancient artifacts and smoke, the multiplayer area was a real joy to see. 8 stations were set up in the room, making for a really competitive atmosphere when the action heated up. I had already played the online demo of Uncharted 3 so knew my way around relatively well. This, however, made no difference, as fairly soon in I released I was up against real pros! The sheer experience though was enough for me. One negative was a lack of any single player demo of the game. Why this was not here I do not know, but I can only think that it’s so special that the developers want to keep it under wraps till release date.
To summarise this event I believe it was another worthwhile outing for Sony, but I can’t help thinking that they put in more effort in their last event in February. The fact that there were games missing that had been stated as appearing prior to show, slightly soured my overall experience of the day. But I still thank Sony for bringing PlayStation Access to my home city of Glasgow. I keep my fingers crossed that this will be a regular event on the gaming calendar. Till next time…
Photos by FuryAc3