Gamescom 2013: The business area (Part 3)

Yes, it’s been a very long time since this website has been updated, but again due to personal life taking its toll with free time, it’s only now that I can return to do some unfinished business (and also finally start something new with more up-to-date articles), even if it means continuing something which should have been done a year ago…

So let’s just pretend for a second it’s still 2013 and that we’re back again in the busy business area of Gamescom. Let’s see what the last day had to offer (although some other stories with indies and Sony’s presentations are still open for coverage).

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With courtesy of Deep Silver, a small detour into zombie survival horror multiplayer action ensued with Stunlock Studios.

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Dead Island Epidemic
(Sweden 2013, developer: Stunlock Studios, publisher: Deep Silver, platform: PC)

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This was actually a pleasant surprise, as I was expecting the same first-person survival horror splatter gore fest like the original offered. But the top-down perspective had a more Diablo-like touch with lots of enemies to slay and boxes to smash in order to get new weapons or upgrades. The gameplay didn’t stray too far from the kill-any-disgusting-zombies-and-monsters template, but the levelling up system and teamwork while defending critical locations were still a lot of fun, even if communication over headsets wasn’t necessary in our team…which I left shortly afterwards to get to another appointment, anyway. Still, as a no-brainer-more-fun game, it seemed to turn out rather well (and is only recently in closed beta).

Official Website

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Sometimes it pays off to break out of the routine of making appointments beforehand and simply just meet the people in the business area to see if there’s a free slot or one can jump in an empty seat. It’s not guaranteed that this works, but in the case of Austrian publisher Nordic Games, a glimpse at some pretty fun games could be had.

Starting with an interesting mix of old-fashioned adventure movie flair with FPS-mechanics, The Farm 51 led the way.

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Deadfall Adventures
(Poland 2013, developer: The Farm 51, publisher: Nordic Games, platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3)

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There are a lot of first-person shooters on the market, and fighting against Nazis might not be the most innovative idea since Wolfenstein, but there was something about the presentation of this game which made it feel unique, namely an Indiana Jones touch (which is actually not true, either, because it’s set in the world of Alan Quarterman who came before Indy, but whose movies are maybe less known), made clear by the way how enemies could be disposed off when triggering booby traps. Having weapons reflect real WWII guns was a nice idea, but what was even better: voice acting showed that for the first time there are actually Germans speaking Germans. So none of that “Los! Mach schnell!” neo-German-English mix, although this of course made the game lose some of its unintentionally funny moments. Still, even if the gameplay mechanics and graphics weren’t genre-changing, it looked like a lot of silly blasting B-movie fun.

Official Website

Next up was a German company which already made its name with the comic point-and-click adventure The Book of Unwritten Tales, only this time, KING Art Games followed a more mature path with a classic crime-solving game.

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The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief Chapter 2
(Germany 2013, developer: KING Art Games, publisher: Nordic Games, platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3)

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Unfortunately, I hadn’t played the first episode, and there wasn’t much time to get more than one-screen-impressions from the second chapter of the point-and-click adventure game. Still, it was nice to see that the developer went in a more mature storytelling direction than the rather childish (even if very popular) Book of Unwritten Tales games had. With no actual puzzles or more gameplay shown, it would be unfair to judge this, except for some nicely drawn backgrounds and atmospheric music. There will probably be a review coming up here for the complete season.

Official Website

The last appointment of the day and week already showed that the publishers were removing their posters and other equipment from the booths. Still, this didn’t mean that one couldn’t have some fun with the bitComposer Games PR.

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The Voice of Germany Vol. 2
(Germany 2013, developer/publisher: bitComposer Games, platforms: PS3, Nintendo Wii)

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Yes, most of these songs were in German, and yes, they’re totally mainstream with an emphasis on some sugarsweet vocals, but fortunately enough, there are also some lesser offensive ones to the ear. Having some out-of-tune songs with the PR made this so much more enjoyable. So what if it’s more or less a cash-in of the popular casting show in Germany? Get some friends together and see who CAN actually sing. Kidding aside, what made this also engaging for single-player was the implementation of a career mode in which one’s performance is rated by judges, an actually pretty cool way to stay true to the original concept.

Official Website

Now if you’d rather use some guns instead of your vocal chords, then get to the chopper with Games Farm‘s military shooter.

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Air Conflicts: Vietnam
(Slovakia 2013, developer: Games Farm, publisher: bitComposer Games, platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4)

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Visually maybe not that impressive, but with gameplay harking back to simple arcade fun, this provided some decent quick bursts of dogfight action with a rocking soundtrack, despite its rather controversial setting. It was intuitive to control and with a nice variety in mission objectives, it’s easy to overlook the lack of story content. Still, with cinematic camera perspectives, it’s a low-budget title that just cries for the winner of a weekend no-brainer game.

Official Website

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After so much action, taking time to enjoy the (wild) life and let the day end with a more leisure strategy title was the last thing I did, with courtesy of b-Alive‘s simulation game.

Adventure Park
(Germany 2013, developer: b-Alive, publisher: bitComposer Games, platform: PC)

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Again a rather low-res presentation from bitComposer’s catalogue, the main idea of building a big safari-like park like in classics as Theme Park might just be enough for those who always thought zoos lacked a grander scope. What was especially cool, even if not new to the genre, was to participate in certain rides and see it all in the first-person perspective. Again maybe not the best in the genre, but with business sim mechanics working as they should, this could be another guilty time-waster for the child in all of us.

Official Website

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every Facebook LIKE or comment is appreciated :).

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About nufafitc

Being an avid gamer, cinemaniac, and bookworm in addition to other things the internet and new media present, I'm also very much into DIY music, rock and pop in particular. Writing short or longer pieces about anything that interests me has always made me happy. As both an editor for German website "Adventure-Treff" and UK website "Future Sack", I like to write reviews and news about recent developments in the movies, games and book industry.
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