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What’s on at Multiplay i50

If you’re thinking of heading down to Multiplay’s 50th ever iSeries event in Telford this weekend, but you’re not sure if it’ll be worth the trip, have a look at what we’ve been looking at and playing today and once you’re finished, you’ll know whether you want to or not.

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Judging by the early visitor numbers for the Minecraft Expo, you’d think most people decided the latter

If you’re a tech-enthusiast – most of you just raised your hands – then you’ll be pleased to see that there’s a plethora of hardware on show. Keyboards, headsets and mice dominate, since its much easier to sell a BYOC gamer a new peripheral than an entirely new system, but Overclockers has a big 8Pack rig and a few other full desktops. 

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Chillblast also has a fair bit on show, including a ridiculously eye burningly huge monitor. I say that, it’s not that bad, but good luck to every married guy that tries to pitch it as a necessary purchase.

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The Penguin case drew particular attention

Considering they’re brand new, you’d expect the Xbox One booth to be rammed with eager gamers. Nothing could be further from the truth. While I’m sure it’ll be packed tomorrow when the majority of i50 visitors stop by, today it was relatively sparse. The plus point of this is that I got to have a ten minute go on RYSE: Son of Rome and Dead Rising 3. With the latter, I spent a couple of minutes trying to figure out how to pick something up. I’m not an idiot – most of the time – but I swear I couldn’t figure it out. I was too embarrassed to ask anyone so I just shuffled over to the RYSE demo. 

That was a little easier to pick up and play, but it was still pretty clunky. While being very pretty for a game running at 900p, the combat is like a clockwork version of the Batman Arkham games. Button, slash, button, slash, button, slash. Its very repetitive and takes a while to kill anyone. As everyone else has said, the death animations look great; the first time you use them. 

Oh and it takes a long time to load a level too. Maybe I’m spoiled by years of SSD use, but 30 seconds + seems too much. 

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If you buy RYSE, get used to staring with hate at this one word

While there are some One’s on show, along with all the usual MOBA equipped laptops, the most interesting games on show – at least in my opinion – can be found in the indie section. Here you’ll find an interesting digital board game called The Living Dungeon. It features some interesting gameplay and will be released with a real world board game and a full length companion novel next year.

There’s also Honour Bound, an interesting side scrolling strategy, hack-n-slash, with a very cool art style and Space Farmers, a simple coop puzzler. Dream is perhaps the most impressive looking with the highest standard of aesthetics, but my favourite pick of the bunch was The Sandman.

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If you’re wondering if this is one of those many Rift horror titles, it’s not. I already asked.

It’s an Oculus Rift supporting game that sees you paddling a canoe through a procedurally generated environment. You might meet a boy, you might meet a man, you may meet people with skulls and skin masks. I only met the former two, but the atmosphere was fantastic. The developer, a first timer, has also done a great job of making the game look good, despite the Rift’s resolution shortcomings.

If you like boardgames, like me, you’ll want to swing by the demonstration area of Esdevium Games, who will be happy to talk you through something new. I had a quick Ticket to Ride, which was fun.

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Retro gaming gets a good showing at i50, with a tonne of old consoles to try out. If there’s a classic from your youth, chances are its here, being played by someone like me. I even had a go on a MAME cabinet and tried to set a Donkey Kong record. Needless to say, I can see why people complain about multi-axis joysticks on old games.

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Special Effect makes an appearance at iSeries once again, showing off its eye tracking software and peripheral, which has allowed many disabled gamers get back in the virtual driver’s seat. I had a go with it and while difficult, its very nuanced. It doesn’t feel like learning something entirely new.

Don’t forget, Special Effect has a Game Blast charity gaming marathon soon. Head here for more details.

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Of course you can also just go and be impressed by the hall of BYOC gamers, who are playing away through all hours of the day and night. It’s an impressive site, especially when looking at the wide varieties of rigs, displays and peripherals everyone has.

And that’s just a selection of what’s on show. To finish up, here’s a random selection of other pictures I’ve snapped throughout the day.

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The cosplay competition drew its fair share of attention

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Maybe if Microsoft has sprung for a single poster, its booth would have been more popular

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Cooler Master has a lot of new headsets and keyboards on show

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By far the most visually impressive game of the day: Dream – better than Ryse too

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The Sandman’s concept art book is very creepy

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MSI is only talking about notebooks, despite what Tom’s (right) polo shirt says

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Antec’s booth needs more freebies

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KitGuru Says: Thanks to everyone that took the time to chat to me today and thanks to the Indie devs for walking me through their games. Best of luck to each of them. 

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