With another EB Expo all done and dusted its time to reflect on what was good, what was bad and what was awesome from this years event. For those of you that don’t know about EB Expo, it’s a gaming and pop culture event that takes place each year, playing host to a wide range of games, developers and pop culture goodness for thousands of fans to enjoy. EB Expo has a unique advantage with it being the first major event of its type in Australia after things like E3, Gamescom and TGS which also means it’s normally the first time upcoming games will be playable for the public prior to their actual release (Star Wars Battlefront was playable for the first time in Australia at EB Expo). Just like in previous years Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo all had a dominant presence, but in saying that size wasn’t everything with some of the comparatively smaller displays bringing the same exceptional level of quality and production to the show.
Now with all that said and done time to move onto The Good, The Bad and The Awesome of EB Expo 2015.
In previous years things like personal space, even just the ability to move through the crowds was practically non existent and wanting to get anywhere in the expo at speed required you to have some sort of next level parkour skills that would make Ezio Auditore blush, but this year was different. Perhaps there were fewer tickets sold to keep numbers down, perhaps it was a better layout or perhaps there was another reason, but for whatever it was, the lack of overwhelming crowds made for a far better experience.
Not a big a focus on pre-ordering:
I’m under no illusions that when it comes to expos, it’s just as much about the money as it is about the passion for those that organise it. In previous years there was always a massive push to pre-order every game you saw or played with the spiel being repeated to you to the point of ad nauseam. However this year I was very happy that throughout my entire time at EB Expo I only heard the prompt to pre-order a game once, seriously once. I have to admit not having that constant push to pre-order was a refreshing change.
Now of course the games were great, that’s why we were all there after all. I don’t think there was a game that I played while I there that I didn’t enjoy. It honestly made it feel like the games coming out in the next 6 to 12 months are going to be some of the best in a long time and while I could easily go on forever about all the games that were there some of the highlights for me had to be:
- Need for Speed
- Yo-Kai Watch
- Mirror Edge Catalyst
- Halo 5
- Assasins Creed Syndicate
- Guitar Hero Live
- Rockband 4
- The Division
- Fallout 4
- Lego Dimensions
- Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2
It was great to see that there was a lot of passion for so many of the games there this year with dedicated fans willing to brave the wait to check them out.
Lego in this day and age is becoming more of a mainstream collectable and expression of art than a children’s play thing. At The Sydney Brick Show there were some phenomenal examples of this that showed off some incredible Lego creations ranging from some brilliant artwork and complete scale retro arcade to Star Wars and Jurassic Park dioramas.
The dreaded line ride:
Probably the only real bad point from this years EB Expo, and just like with any event of this nature, is of course the lines. These are always going to be a pain, especially with the more popular and highly anticipated games. Depending on the game the wait could be anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours (Battlefront easily had the largest line for each session which I believe topped out at a 2+ hr wait).
However in this sort of scenario, fortune favours the prepared, and there was always plenty of people having a chat about what they had seen/ wanted to see, on their 3DS’s checking street passes, the odd PS Vita player and even one guy with an Atari Lynx, all trying to make the best of the inevitable wait.
This was one thing that I was personally excited to experience and im happy to say it didn’t disappoint. The PlayStation VR (formerly Project Morpheus) was brilliant and I have to say that after all of my previous experiences with VR gaming over the years this one has been by far the most impressive experience yet and yes in my opinion even better than the Oculus Rift. It was far more comfortable meaning longer gaming sessions would be far more viable, it had a better adjustable focus resulting in a far clearer display and therefore a greater overall experience.
There was a fantastic sense of spatial awareness with the PlayStation VR, as I interacted with the environment everything felt proportional to my own movements. The demo I played took place in a getaway scenario and everything from looking around the cabin of the vehicle, opening the doors, using/reloading weapons and leaning out of the vehicle to look around and see what this snippet of the PlayStation YR’s virtual world had to offer was amazing.
Interactive History Museum:
Another fantastic aspect of EB Expo 2015 had nothing to do with the latest releases, but instead focused on the rich history of gaming with the Interactive History Museum that was put together by the team from Weird and Retro. This mini museum gave people the opportunity to get hands on with some of the most iconic systems from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s, but that wasn’t all. Throughout the museum there was a broad assortment of incredible pieces of nostalgia to show what has helped shape gaming and pop culture into what it is today.
With plenty on offer to impress attendees and capitalising on the unique window of opportunity they have between the end of the big international expos and the release of those games here in Australia, EB Expo 2015 was a great experience and definitely well worth attending.