rAge Day 3

The last day of rAge 2009 has come to an end. Work the cramp out of your button fingers, put those weary feet up, quiten the caffeine-fuelled buzz, and look back at another successful expo.

The Quake 3 tournament was completed today, with some very close matches featuring plenty of riveting gameplay. The final round was between the two players from international team Fnatic – spartie (Sweden) and l1nk (France). After 3 matches (6 – 11, 14 – 9, 27 – 16) spartie emerged as the overall winner. 3rd place was taken by South African ph4ntom after a tense and very entertaining battle against Shase (10 -8, 22 – 12). ph4ntom will be travelling to Dreamhack to take part in the contest there. Being a local tournament it was unfortunate that entrants were not exclusively South African, but our guys aquitted themselves really well against the foreign professionals. There were tons of great prizes for the top 15 places.

We had plenty of hands-on time with a variety of titles. Avatar presented some truly gorgeous visuals while exploring the lush jungle, and there was plenty of satisfying gunplay. Some slowdown was noticed, but this will no doubt be remedied for the final release. Red Steel 2 is coming soon to the Wii, and the excellent feel of swinging a sword really made an impression. Assassin’s Creed 2 (in which you play a different ancestor’s memories) looks great – the play is very similar to its predecessor but with a more open-ended approach. Forza 3 is a blast – from a body-hugging race seat with a wheel in your hands the sense of immersion is fantastic. Brutal Legend is heavy metal personified – everything about the characters and world comes straight from the most epic music video imaginable. Slaughtering demon nuns with guitar and axe rocks! Splinter Cell: Conviction sees the return of Sam Fisher who now has some new toys to aid him, such as the portable EMP which makes short work of lights. It also adds a “Last known position” indicator, which tells you where your foes believe you to be. We got to grips with DJ Hero – gameplay is a little more complex than Guitar Hero, but doesn’t require quite the same insane finger dexterity. Lastly, we indulged in some co-op Borderlands – multiplayer is excellent, with some really nice team dynamics and integration. This gets our vote for most anticipated title.

The SA premiere of Microsoft’s Lips took place on the main stage – a karaoke simulator which features polished graphics and original music videos from many well-known hits. Some of the guys from SA Idols were on hand to demonstrate the game for us – Monroe (2007) and Graham (2009) performed renditions of Coldplay, Timbaland and Nickelback tracks without looking tooo silly. An excellent feature of Lips is the option to play songs from an external storage device. You lose out on the music video feature, but this will surely appeal to those who find little of the game’s included music to their taste.

Telkom’s DO Gaming tournament took place in the well-appointed lower LAN area. Teams from all over the country took part, representing every walk of gamer life. First In Battle team Terra took top honours in Battlefield 2, Arcasian Persuasion (sp?)  prevailed in CS: Source, and Brazen won the COD4 contest. Hit the gallery for pics of all the teams that placed. Numerous prizes were awarded from medals to Logitech goodies to big heaps of cash. Thanks go out to all the great guys and gals that competed!

We spent a while watching Craig from Rigworx apply his airbrush magic to a unique PC case. They had all kinds of custom hardware on display, including paint, vinyl and sandblasting. If you’re after a special keyboard, mouse, case or whatever, check www.rigworx.co.za.

Those who aspire to create animated content for games or movies were able to attend free lessons in Maya and 3DS Max, presented by Learn 3D over the course of the weekend. Some valuable advice was given to all who attended, even those with just mild curiosity. It is easy to forget how much work goes into a slick 3D animation.

Be sure to check out the gallery – there is a lot of stuff that hasn’t been mentioned here. Our coverage of this outstanding event draws to a close. Whether you came for the hardware, software, free stuff, booth babes or just to get out of your cage for a while, thank you to all those who attended. And thanks also go out to all the hard-working people who helped make rAge happen. For those who couldn’t make it to the show, you missed out on a lot but there is always next year!