Features// SPOnG's Review of the Year 2010: August

Posted 30 Dec 2010 10:14 by
This is a continuing SPOnG retrospective of the year’s events.


If you thought that E3 was the only event worth following on the gaming calendar, you’d be wrong - things were just getting started. This month, the European industry got to hog the spotlight thanks to Gamescom in Cologne, Germany.

It’s largely a trade event, much like its American cousin, but unlike E3 (and like the upcoming Tokyo Game Show for the Asian market) the public is allowed to get in on the action as well. Cue cosplay contests!

SPOnG (well, Mark) was there to represent, press pass and everything, and managed to report back with some great features. This is despite the lure of bratwurst and beer, which together is an incredible temptation for game journalists around the world. Our Mark came back with a lengthy chat with Microsoft’s Kinect spokesperson, Kudo Tsunoda - who had a lot to say about the definition of ‘core gaming’ - and impressions of Dead Space 2 and inFamous 2.

With Call of Duty: Black Ops just around the corner at this point, Mark decided to have a catch-up with Treyarch’s Josh Olin as well, to see exactly what the developer has done to improve on complaints about Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer mode.

Luckily whatever plans the studio had didn’t involve charging a subscription - earlier in the month an “anonymous source” had apparently leaked a Call of Duty Premium Service which would allow players to pay £10 a month for exclusive maps and features (12th August). Josh said, “you will not need to pay to play Black Ops multiplayer at all.” Glad that’s cleared up, then.

There was also something about No More Heroes creator SUDA51 crapping his pants, apparently. You kind of have to read the interview to believe it, it’s pretty crazy.

It wasn’t all fun and games though. Word broke out of troubles between the Koelnmesse venue and its landlords, Oppenheim-Esch, with the former under threat of being evicted by the latter (Gamescom May Get Evicted, 11th August).

Apparently, the issue comes from Kolenmesse allegedly failing to pay the lease on the property. The dispute would have thrown Gamescom out on its ear as collateral damage, but the BIU group that organises the trade show promised that the event would go ahead as planned. And it did. Phew.

Back in Blighty, we were conducting plenty of interviews too. I had a sneak peek of Sonic Colours, the game that seemed to finally ‘get’ the hedgehog after years of gameplay missteps. Throw in a chance to grill Sonic Team boss Takashi Iizuka on the state of the franchise, and you have some tasty coverage right there.

Continuing the Japanese vibe, Capcom had just announced a new Marvel vs Capcom game - so naturally I couldn’t resist hopping over to London to play a round against producer Ryota Niitsuma. I lost, obviously - quite catastrophically, in fact.

Publishers were either focusing on Gamescom or preparing for a monster Q4 launch schedule this month, so reviews and previews ended up being a bit thin on the ground. Blizzard did spice up the summer with the launch of Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty though, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. 95% - easily the PC game to get in 2010.

The digital download release of Scott Pilgrim vs The World was too good to resist, and fans of the series would no doubt love this 86%er. Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days wasn’t so good - it left a bitter taste in David’s mouth at 55%. A preview of Red Dead RedemptionsLegends and Killers DLC and interviews for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Crysis 2 rounded up some of the more popular features we had this month.
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