Last Thursday, along with fellow community member Alledged Mr Buzz, I had the chance to visit the Virgin Media Game Space (VMGS). Located in the bearded, plaid shirt and red drainpipe trousered super cool environs of Shoreditch in London, it’s a free exhibition running ahead of this year’s Eurogamer Expo.
As the blurb on their site itself says ‘A drop-in space where everyone’s welcome to pull up a chair and test out the latest indie titles that they can’t find anywhere else, all for free.’ But not only that, they have a few other rather special things lurking in there for you to try…
We must have been pretty lucky, because we got there around half 4 and the place was virtually deserted. Well decked out with lots of nice lighting and big screens, we grabbed a couple of Playstation Vita’s to try out the handhelds two biggest upcoming games, Killzone Mercenary and Media Molecule’s Tearaway.
I have to say that Killzone Mercenary was a very good looking game, it really does appear to be that definitive handheld FPS experience missing from the console. I didn’t play enough of it to really make much of a judgement than that but I’ve no doubt Vita owners are watching this one very closely. Same applies to Tearaway- which is much more of a traditional 3D platformer than I had originally though. That said, it has unique mechanics such as seemingly pushing your fingers through the rear touch panel to affect the on screen action. Nice stuff.
I also had an opportunity to play through the Beyond Two Souls demo, which has helped me decide it’s a day one purchase, or at least on the list for Christmas. Those familiar with Heavy Rain will know what to expect, the controls being largely context and movement sensitive.
The demo comprised of three sections of the game. Opening with a very young Jodie Holmes (as played by Ellen Page) seated in one of those interrogation rooms you see in every movie ever with a large one way mirror, you’re presented with a set of ESP cards on the table in front of you. Without spoiling anything, you are able to move through the large one way mirror in the room where someone is seated with an identical set of cards. You match up the cards and then you’re also able to unleash telekinetic hell on those around you by flinging chairs and papers and filing cabinets around the room, much to the horror of those around you.
The next section introduces you to the combat. Presented as a training session for Jodie, this is largely gesture based, you direct Jodie’s arm in the right direction to hit opponents, and to duck out the way at the right time. Finally, it’s time to put it altogether in a thrilling sequence that sees you being pursued through carriages and up onto the roof of a fast moving train.
Perhaps the biggest draw for us at the VMGS was the promise that the Oculus Rift was available to try. Fortunately with the place being empty, there were two unattended Rift dev kits. These are the original (non HD) versions and were hooked up to PC’s running a skydiving demo.
The headset in surprisingly light and comfortable. Needless to say, it’s a remarkable piece of kit, with no discernible lag as you move your head about. With the headset on, it was a very weird sensation when I reached for the controller and realised my arms weren’t there. My brain was telling me it was dark, but I was staring at blue skies. Everything you’ve heard about it is true and I urge you to give it a go at Eurogamer if you can.
VMGS is located in Blackall Studios, 73 Leonard Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 4QS, runs until Saturday 21st October and is open 10am till 7pm. And you really should pop down there if you can.