I’m sorry, I’m not giving away free beer and video games. Rather, I had free beer and played video games at the IGN AU Black Beta Select Awards on Friday night. I was given a VIP pass despite the fact that I am in no way important, in any capacity.
There were important people there though, like Master Chief, Mario and Lara Croft. The awards (full results here) were mostly dominated by Halo 4, with the award statues being accepted by people like “Mike from Microsoft”, who probably had little involvement in the game beyond playing his free copy at the Australian office. I’d say he works on Windows 8.
The highlight of the night for me was meeting my childhood hero, Mario, who had clearly had a few mushrooms or something, because he was disproportionately large and wore a vacant, glazed expression. I later saw him vomiting into a green pipe. You should never meet your heroes.
Despite Mario actually making the effort to show up in person, there were a few imposters present, pretending to be Lara Croft and Master Chief. It was obvious to even the least important person present that this woman had far too few polygons to be the real Lara, and the real Master Chief is definitely taller than the measly 6 foot something this fella was carrying.
In terms of new games, there were playable demos of Aliens Colonial Marines and Tomb Raider set up. I didn’t get a chance to play Tomb Raider, but I watched it in action, and wasn’t impressed. The movement and gameplay looked a bit stilted and awkward. Which, technically, would be in line with most Tomb Raider games to date.
I got about 15 minutes with Colonial Marines and was terribly disappointed. They’ve got the design down (the visuals, the sound effects, etc…) and it definitely looks like an Aliens game, but the section I played was entirely lacking in atmosphere. Waves of aliens just ran at me and my virtual colleagues and stood around flailing at us with their claws like a group of kittens swatting flies. There was no sense of threat, suspense or fear. Gearbox seem to have missed the point of an Aliens experience, favoring generic first-person shooter action instead of claustrophobia and atmosphere. Hopefully, the entire game won’t be this mundane.