The Iris’ EB Games Expo 2015 Awards

The EB Games Expo has come and gone for another year; three days of video games and tech with some of the biggest, most exciting, upcoming titles. Developers such as Bethesda and EA DICE had booths set up, showcasing their latest works as either playable demos or extended previews, and in true EB Expo fashion, it was all complemented by various exhibitions, an EB mega store, a light saber battle, and laser skirmish, amongst others.

The event is one of the most joyously fun weekends on Sydney’s calender for those with a deep love of video games, or just popular culture in general. There’s often not enough time in just one day to get through it all, especially with the queues for some of the more popular games. This year, Star Wars Battlefront (EA DICE) took the cake as the most hysterically popular game over the weekend, attracting queues with a wait time of almost three hours. Other big presences included the super exciting Fallout 4 (Bethesda), the unstoppable Halo 5: Guardians (343 Industries), and of course, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (Treyarch).

Star Wars Battlefront wasn’t the most popular for no reason though; word quickly spread that the 15 minute playable demo is one of the more enjoyable experiences available at the expo and so the wait somehow ended up being worth it in the end, capturing the ‘wow’ factor of the gameplay trailer – which has been out for a few months now – with an impressively comprehensive Star Wars experience.

Another impressive playable demo was Rise of the Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics), which puts Lara Croft in what looks like her most cinematic adventure yet. The puzzles that were presented to us in the demo weren’t the most difficult things in the world, but the dark, moody atmosphere of the game was so effective that we couldn’t help but name it Runner Up for our Game of Show award.

While it was – disappointingly – not playable, the Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog) was one of our favourite experiences of the Expo. We watched an extended video, on a big screen, of an exhibitor playing through one of the most brilliantly layered action sequences I’ve seen in a video game to date. It could very well top ‘that train sequence’ in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves with all the bells, whistle, and tension that comes with the high standard of the Uncharted franchise.

Even though catching even just a glimpse of what Fallout 4 (Bethesda) has in store for us was exciting enough, Bethesda still seem to be keeping all the bigger secrets until the game finally hits stores later this year. We did get an overview of just how much emphasis will be placed on the ability to customise both weapons and settlements in the game (though, that’s just an option, it won’t be a necessity), but other than that it was no more exciting than the initial announcement.

We’ve been covering the event here at The Iris for a few years now and have watched it grow into the juggernaut it is today. Across five half-day sessions (two on Friday, two on Saturday, one on Sunday) the exhibition has turned into a full on convention with a carnival aspect, huge presentations from some of the world’s biggest developers, cosplay dance battle stage shows, fireworks displays, amusement rides, and more.

Though, the most impressive non-demo exhibition, this year, was the Freeplay City Interactive History Museum which built on the retro gaming area of previous years by presenting the history of gaming consoles in rooms divided by era. From retro consoles like the Atari 2600 all the way up to the new generation, a massive range of games were available for free play in between shelves of nostalgic game covers and memorabilia.

What follows are our picks for certain ‘Best of’ categories, including games which have either been recently released or are just about to hit stores.

Game of Show

Winner: Star Wars Battlefront (PS4)

Runner Up: Rise of the Tomb Raider (XBOX One)

Best Experience

Winner: Uncharted 4: Thief’s End (Gameplay Trailer)

Runner Up: Call of Duty: Black Ops III Multiplayer / Shredding it on the new controllers in Guitar Hero Live (TIE)

Biggest Surprise

Winner: Tearaway Unfolded (PS4)

Runner Up: Dragon Quest: Heroes (PS4)

Most Popular

Winner: Star Wars Battlefront
Runner Up: Halo 5: Guardians

Most Creative Design

Winner: Super Mario Maker (Wii U)

Runner Up: Cuphead (Xbox One)

Best Multiplayer

Winner: Star Wars Battlefront (PS4)
Runner Up: Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (PS4)

Best Booth

Winner: Xbox
Runner Up: Playstation

Best Exhibition

Freeplay City Interactive History Museum

Most Nostalgic Experience

Winner: Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
Runner Up: Star Fox Zero  (Wii U) / Rare Replay (Xbox One) – TIE


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.