As a wise man once said – “All good things must come to the business end of an assault shotgun.” So too must rAge 2011 come to a close. Many were the footsore yet grinning faithful who passed the show’s doors, replete in their experience of all things gloriously gaming. Achievement Unlocked: Epic Expo Attended! Thank you to everyone who visited, and for those who couldn’t escape the sinking ship or collapsing building, we hope you’re not too far from a save point and can make it next year.

The NAG Gaming League finals for Black Ops took place today – after many rounds which all displayed a very high level of skill, the final match came down to Konsentrasie Knights versus Vitriolic. The games in this last round were generally close, plus the occasional white wash on both sides and some truly heroic frags. KK took the first map with a decent lead. Although they initially struggled a little in the second map (with Vitriolic taking advantage of this) after several games KK found their pace again and proceeded to win, making the final score 2-0. All the finalists went home with some excellent prizes. Congratulations to all the teams that took part, and especially to KK for a solid victory.

The guys from NCsoft took to the stage to show off the latest Guild Wars 2 demo, which is finally nearing completion. A primary focus of this latest-gen MMO is to maintain player involvement in the game world proper instead of constantly staring at a tool bar or quest window. One approach they’ve taken is the extensive use of audio – instead of the ubiquitous exclamation marks for quests, the giver will hail you over and initiate a cut scene where they’ll outline the quest. This maintains story and gameplay cohesion, and involves countless hours of high-quality voice acting (literally dozens of movies’ worth). Another aspect is dynamic combat and abilities, where you fight on the move, staying engaged in the game world rather than simply waiting for a cooldown. A vast amount of work has been put into the title, and it shows – it looks highly polished and carefully constructed.

We have some more hands-on reports for you, despite the ongoing but worthwhile finger cramp and thumb abrasions from endless controller clutching (this is being typed by nose, BTW). So read on…

Dark Souls looks and feels fantastic – but be warned, it is not for the faint hearted or those prone to rage quits. This game is hard. Not excessively so, but rather it presents a genuine challenge and is not dumbed down to a casual-gaming level. So you will die. A lot. But when you do prevail it is that much more rewarding. Opponents are varied, some of them colossal, all of them grim and frightening. Combat is satisfyingly precise, and button presses yield instant responses, making for intense and uncompromising action. An interesting approach Dark Souls takes is that your ability is affected by your equipment (of which there is a huge variety) more than your stats, which encourages you to experiment with different play styles throughout the game. This looks to be the hardcore gamer’s alternative to Skyrim.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – fans of the series will be pleased to know that the environments are even more gorgeous than the previous titles – much time was spent simply gawking at the amazing visuals. While combat felt somewhat loose and lacking in impact, the other gameplay aspects are brilliant. There is endless joy to be had manoeuvring through the extremely well-designed levels, and the free-running aspects are top notch – controls are spot-on and the motion captured-characters are startlingly lifelike when running and leaping.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 – while this game’s predecessor had incredible aesthetic appeal and an intriguing story, it was hampered by a word starting in “l” and ending in “inear”. Big time. This title hope to keep all of the good and none of the bad. Characters can now jump, quick-time events have been added to spice things up, and the big one – non-linear areas and side quests to explore. The core game mechanics are effectively unchanged (which is a good thing) and the opulent visuals and art style are of the highest calibre. From the look of it this will be the game Final Fantasy fans are hoping for.

Our fingers need resting, so that’s all for now, but there will be more updates coming. Further hands-on, galleries, interview details and more. Y’all check back soon.

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