The BAFTA Video Game Awards have become a key date in the gaming calendar, and this year BAFTA have opened their doors to the public for the first time, with a new event called Inside Games held during the daytime hours leading up to the award ceremony in London's Tobacco Dock. Some of the biggest names in gaming brought some very cool things to show off, from the big hits of the last 12 months and the chance to go hands on with some of the games that will certainly be the big hits of the year to come.
It was a great and unique location, and, needless to say, it was a very well-attended event, with some games proving to be especially popular. There were games we've already had the chance to try out, like Dark Souls II and Titanfall, so we decided to leave those for the rest of you to try, especially when there were new titles we were yet to get our hands on. Games like the forthcoming Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, which had one of the longest queues of the day.
Fortunately, we happened to be waiting just at the right time, as the MGS fans were greeted with a surprise appearance from series creator Hideo Kojima. The iconic developer happily posed for photos with the surprised crowd, taking plenty of time to appease the many cosplayers hanging around the Ground Zeroes booth. It's once-in-a-lifetime moments like this that make events like Inside Games so great for the gaming community.
But what of the game itself? Well, due to its understandable popularity, the playing sessions were kept to a strict time limit of a around 10-15 minutes, but we managed to get a suitable taste of the favour of the game... while sat on a seat designed after the iconic cardboard box from the games! Again, it's the little touches that can make events like this so much fun for the gaming community.
Hit The Ground Running
In a mission set in 1975, Snake has to infiltrate a U.S. military prison, with stealth, recon, and limited casualties the order of the day. In theory, at least - we learned quite quickly that the guards are as keen to spot you as you are to remain un-spotted, and once you've been seen, any notion of "no fatalities" goes as quickly out the window as the body of the guard you've just killed. Fortunately, there are a few new tricks to learn, like the lens-flare indicator that identifies when someone in that direction thinks they may have seen you, and with a bit more time we're sure we could have nailed the stealth parts of the mission.
So, gameplay-wise, it's classic MGS with a few new twists. Visually, it's a treat, too. The graphics of the PlayStation 4 version we played gave us a very good glimpse at the kind of world we can expect to see throughout the whole game - this is very clearly a next-gen version of Metal Gear Solid with a rich detailed world to explore. We just wish we'd been given more time to explore it, but fortunately we don't have too long to wait till it' release.
There were some other highlights of the day - Awards host and avid gamer Dara O'Briain was seen wandering around, as were Matt Littler and Darren Jeffries (better known as Max and OB from Hollyoaks) getting content for their We Got Game! YouTube show. Sonic The Hedgehog and the knight from Dark Souls II were also parading around the place, although the latter two got far more photos with the crowd. Other new games on show included kickstarter sequel Elite Dangerous, inFAMOUS: Second Son and Kinect Sports: Rivals, and the one that we were able to get a pre-crowd extended play on, Murdered: Soul Suspect.
A Perfect Murder
Square Enix's new supernatural mystery follows in the footsteps of the likes of Heavy Rain and LA Noire, adding elements of horror to the detective work in a tale of a murdered cop trying to track down his killer. This is the "unfinished business" keeping him from passing over to the afterlife and joining his late wife Julie, who tells him "where you are is a prison - or a bridge". Yes, this is a game where there are even deadly consequences for the dead.
After an opening sequence that had more than a little hint of the movie Ghost, detective Ronan O'Connor begins to get to grips with his situation. Guided by a ghostly young girl who gives you the basics of your supernatural abilities, including which buildings you can simply pass through and which doors have to be opened by the living, you're off, combining your keen cop skills of crime scene examination with your new ghostly gifts.
Detective n' Spectre
These primarily centre around possessing the police, witnesses and passers-by in order to get new information - you can read minds, "peek" at what they're writing or eavesdrop on private conversations, as well as using the evidence you've stored in your mind to influence the memories of key witnesses, cracking that particular part of the puzzle and letting you move on to the next stage of the mystery. The possession skill is a fun trick, and takes a while to truly master, but proves to be a unique way to collect clues, perfectly in line with the spirit of the game.
As the game goes on, you'll find smaller mysteries to solve, like the ghost of a young woman looking for what happened to her body. It remains to be seen if these side-quests will end up having any importance to the main story or exist purely to gain you extra achievements, but they certainly help hone your skills, serving as a micro version of the overall mystery you have to solve.
Elements of horror also exist in the game, mostly represented in the form of demons. The ghost-girl explains they were once ghosts looking for their unfinished business, but were unable to pass over and became something... else. We had one very brief encounter with a demon, a nightmare figure made of teeth and shadows, and it seems that the supernatural elements of the game will become more apparent as the game continues. Like all good mysteries, there are a lot of potential suspects, red herrings and "what's his story"-types introduced early on, and we look forward to unravelling the strands of this particular riddle when it launches in June.