By in General, Xbox


Every year, the good people at Xbox host a very special event – The Gathering. This is a unique chance for the great and the good of the community to get their hands and/or eyes on the hottest new games that are due out in the coming months.

Understandably, we were very excited when we were asked to create some special XCN Gathering hoodies – and an insignia, complete with motto – for the event. Working with the guys at Xbox is always a huge pleasure.

And then it happened. We got a lovely message from Graeme Boyd asking us to come down and be there too. Needless to say, everyone at Insert Coin was extremely honoured to be personally invited to such a great event. We did squeal with excitement when we got the email… we’re not too proud to admit it!

Anyway, we made our way down on the Saturday, for what would be an epic day of gaming goodness…

Batman: Arkham City
This was mostly an eyes on, but it was absolutely spectacular (made even better by possibly the most enthusiastic demonstrators EVER). Rocksteady look to have built upon the very solid foundations of Arkham Asylum and this new entry into the Bat’s franchise flows beautifully. Best of all it looks FUN – Catwoman’s flexible fighting skills are a refreshing change to Batman’s more traditional antics, but whoever you use, the combat looks meaty and the movement seamless. That release date can’t come quickly enough now…

Battlefield 3
It was lovely to see the guys from DICE at The Gathering. They had brought along the latest demo of the title – essentially, the same one that you’ve been busting through on your Xboxes for the last few days. It was incredibly fast-paced and some people were merciless in our game… some truly mad skills on show already! If you’ve been playing the demo, you know what this bad boy’s all about…

Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Missing Link DLC)
The DLC for DX:HR only had a relatively small presentation, but it still looked damn beautiful. The gameplay looked smoother and the visuals crisper and more detailed. The story is definitely there in abundance and it looks set to answer a few of the questions that lingered after the end of the main game.

Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition
Oh goodness. I don’t think there are words available to express how excited we were about getting some time with this HD reworking of the Xbox classic. And do you know what? It doesn’t disappoint. At all. In any way. It is an amazing looking game and, running about through the opening parts of ‘343 Guilty Spark’, it was impossible not to feel somewhat overwhelmed by the memories as they all came flooding back. By the way, that pun is definitely very much intended. The multiplayer was amazing too – as you’d expect – helped along by us nabbing second and third spots in our group. We’d say ‘we was robbed’, but the eventual winner had about 10 more kills than us, so it was a bit easier to take! In all seriousness though, this is a very special game and we are very, very excited about it…

Hitman: Absolution
Hitman is a hugely loved franchise, and so Absolution had a hell of a lot to live up to. Luckily, this demo was hugely impressive. In fat it was one of the games that everyone was talking about in between sessions. We were led through a level set in a rainy Chicago, with 47 having to escape the police who have him trapped in an old abandoned library. Graphically, the game is gorgeous and the gameplay looks equally impressive. ‘Cinematic’ is a phrase that is bandied about a lot when it comes to games – not many really match up. Hitman: Absolution really looks like it might do the job… colour us very impressed!

Tomb Raider
The Tomb Raider games have a very special place in our hearts, so we were really excited about seeing more of the all new adventures of Lara. The game is supposedly about a year off from release, but it is already looking very, very good indeed.

We didn’t get a chance to play anything else (other than some quick mooching about on Mass Effect 3 – awesome as ever!) as we sadly had to make tracks, but Ghost Recon, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Forza 4 and a host of Kinect goodness were all on hand too. It was an amazing line-up and a fantastic event to have been a part of – we were genuinely touched to have been invited.

Massive congratulations and thanks need to go out to Graeme, Terrie and Crissie for organsing and running such a fantastic event. I’ve never been to anything like this before where everyone was so happy. People also loved the exclusive hoodies we produced and the feedback we got from everyone was so lovely… genuinely touched as always by all the kind words. Huge thanks, much love and apologies for the swift exit to the friends we met – old and new – next time, we’ll definitely make arrangements to stay longer! The whole event had a great atmosphere and was huge amounts of fun. Plus there were hugs from AceyBongos. What’s not to love, eh?

Bring on The Gathering 2012!