Blimey.

So yes. Tomb Raider was my own personal Game of Show. I managed to interview its art director Brian Horton which you’ll see shortly with some deeper impressions on somewhere that will give me money for it.

But essentially, I came into it with managed expectations. I was already sold on the look and feel of the Crystal Dynamics reboot since it was first announced. This wasn’t the Tomb Raider that I hadn’t gotten on with before in past titles (I had Anniversary on PS2 and Legend on PS3, but I didn’t get too far due to puzzle stuff), but this one had something which I like about storytelling. That being tense storytelling altogether. From something to as little as crossing a twitchy log to the thrill-packed climax of the demo, there was always a jump at my heart whenever I experienced said tense moments throughout the half-hour demo.

By the time I finished my playthrough of the demo, I was a picture of expression. So much so, Square Enix’s UK PR boss asked at the end, “Did you enjoy that, Johnny?”. It seems that I had gone through several expressions by the time I had gotten to the end of the demo that several journos that were also there and Square reps silently surrounded me and kept an eye on me until the end of the demo to see what my reaction was.

As I said, I went into it with managed expectations, though already sold on the game by its concept. By the time I was back at Earls Court, I was left with a new and lasting impression of a game that you don’t get from watching trailers. It’s that good. And it’s those types of reactions and game-changing impressions (I don’t mean that as a pun) that I absolutely love.

Alas, as I said, much detailed impressions and an interview will come soon. But for now, know this: Tomb Raider is worth the hype.

Runner Up

GRID 2

It was the first place I had gone to in terms of actual playable games on the showfloor as I had an interview to prep for an hour later in relation to GRID 2. Needless to say, if you’re playing with a steering wheel setup or a controller, you won’t be disappointed. Easily the best racer at the show and one very high up on my list now following last week.

Third place

Hitman Absolution

Hitman’s been a funny ole series for me. I’ve been a bit on and off with it since 2. But Absolution played a blinder with me last week after playing the King of Chinatown level. I was, admittingly, a bit rubbish in it while trying to do the whole stealth thing, but the new Glacier 2 engine shows the game in fine form, with the added spice of an excellent crowd AI¬†dynamic¬†(‘don’t go to that food stand, that food stand is dirty’) as you blend in with them for added stealth. Nicely done, 47.

Honorable mentions: Dishonored, Assassin’s Creed III, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Ni No Kuni, Warface

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