Information you need – Edinburgh Interactive Festival

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As events go the Edinburgh Interactive Festival is among the most prestigious for those involved in the gaming industry. It’s been announced that GameStation will be acting as the retail partner for the event again this year. What it means for the everyday man is special discounts at the event when going to purchase games at their on-site store.

There are also a few good points to Gamestations involvement for the Scottish public at large with a one-off pre-festival launch event scheduled at the Gamestation store on Prices Street in Edinburgh in August featuring giveaways and competitions. While full details are still coming the Gamestation website will be updated with full info near the end of July.

In addition a highlight for all at the festival is the public screenings programme. It allows members of the public to preview in person some of the biggest games before they are released in addition to asking those involved questions about the games involved and offers a glimpse into their development. Most screening sessions are around 45-60 minutes long so its not a 30 second gameplay clip in most cases. It’s most of the perks that the press get only without the annoying writing to justify the freebies!

While the screenings are a ticket only affair they are free of charge with the tickets available in any Gamestation branch in Scotland. A download & print version for those outside Scotland can also be found on the Gamestation website from June 10th.

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First impressions: Conflict: Denied Ops for PS3/Xbox360

The first level had us trying to take over a monastery

Yesterday I was invited to a plush London bar for a preview of the latest first-person shooter to enter the already crowded shooty genre. After sampling the deliciously free canapés and drinks on offer it was time for the serious business of guns, tanks and explosions, co-op style.

If you didn’t already figure it out, Conflict: Denied Ops is all about team-working with your army buddy. The buddies in question are the stealthy Lang and fast paced action-man, Graves trying to stop a dictatorship from getting hold of nukes.

Gamers can choose to switch between each soldier to get through the game. Lang is equipped with a sniper, while Graves the more trigger-happy of the two carries a machine gun.

Upon playing, the cut-scenes were impressive enough but it was the in-game action I was more eager to witness.

The first level has you trying to liberate a monastery from opposing militia, who like in Call of Duty 4 resemble the present stereotypical image of a terrorist. Also featuring was a face-off with a helicopter and a brief jaunt in a tank blowing up buildings and sniping enemy soldiers.

The option to switch soldiers does provide some element of team-working. At times I was unable to pick out far away soldiers, which was when Lang and his sniper came in handy.

When killed pressing the L2 button would make the soldier I wasn’t taking control of come and replenish my health with a boost of adrenalin.My major gripe with the co-op system was that on occasions my partner kept getting left behind and it was up to me to switch character and move him along with me.

Most of what was on offer was pretty standard war-based shooter fare, interlaced with a bit of co-op. At the moment it’s nothing special. The PS3 version did at times look a bit ps2-ish. Not a great start.

However the Xbox360 version looked much better. It just looked so much more crisp and moved more fluidly than its PS3 counterpart, which was playing alongside it. Even the controls felt smoother.

Pivotal, the developers were keen to point out the new ‘puncture technology- allowing gamers to blow holes in the scenery to create their own passages in the levels. The destruction didn’t seem too different from anything I’d previously seen in Red Faction on the PS2 or indeed the likes of Stranglehold.

Perhaps playing through just one level does not give a true indication of the game. What I can confirm is that Conflict: Denied Ops is a relatively solid shooter for those in love with the genre.

But during this first play provided very little, besides co-op that hasn’t been done by many others.

The game itself will be out on 12th February.