EGX returned to Birmingham’s NEC bringing together gamers and developers alike to showcase the latest and upcoming tech in gaming to sink our teeth into!
This event comes with a warning: if you want to get a chance to play some of these demos be prepared to queue for it. Some queues for games such as Star Wars Battlefront II and Destiny 2 were seen to go up to a 3 hour wait. Some more devoted and perhaps better prepared convention goers bringing their own folding chairs so as to not be left standing for too long.
Although once you conquered the queue you were given access to at least 15-20mins of game time for your enjoyment. I personally would recommend trying to attend during the weekdays of the event if you want to avoid the particularly larger attendance queues on the weekend.
Here are some of the highs and lows from the developers at the convention this year.
Ubisoft have some exciting upcoming titles arriving in the next few months these include the latest iterations of Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry. Assassin’s Creed in particular has a lot to prove to fans after some of the more disappointing and bugged releases of AC Unity and AC Syndicate.
Assassin’s Creed Origins
Assassin’s Creed Origins is due for release on October 27th 2017, and the chance to sample the changes Ubisoft has made to the series after a year hiatus was quickly seized upon. Sadly the game again felt more style over substance. Ubisoft seem to pride themselves on re-creating cities and locals of the past in incredible detail, which i cannot fault them over; Origins looks beautiful the graphics are of the highest quality allowing the player to experience glorious vistas of the ancient Egypt. However game-play wise Ubisoft made the confusing decision to make the playable mission and generic fetch quest, which was honestly boring. The combat has been changed and it is difficult to tell if this is for better or for worse, as most of the time was spent fighting the camera sometimes engaging an enemy who was off screen. Overall a little disappointing however holding out hope that Ubisoft can deliver on this one.
Far Cry 5
Far Cry 5 drops the player into the fictional Hope County recently taken over by a radical preacher and his doomsday cult. The player takes on the role as the deputy sheriff who is tasked with the capture of Joseph Seed the aforementioned tyrannical preacher. The mission during the demo showcased one of the new mechanics, which was likely taken from Far Cry 2’s Buddy system. Guns for Hire allows you to take into missions a companion each of whom have different abilities catering to a variety of play styles. The aim was to free a territory from the Eden’s Gate cult this could be done with stealth or guns blazing the choice is yours. The game was fun however it has always been the characters that are the most engaging aspects of Far Cry particularly the villains, which sadly were not present during the demo.
South Park: Fractured But Whole
South Park: Fractured But Whole chose to show perhaps its most vulgar level during the demo at EGX taking place in a strip club with task of performing a lap dance to drunk clientele, the mini game was a frustrating series of button presses where most the time actions felt like they didn’t register making the whole thing irritating. The combat however was fun all in all very similar to Stick of Truth so if you enjoyed that perhaps this will be for you too.
Microsoft had a few interesting titles on show this year including the multiplayer pirate game Sea of Thieves as well as showcasing the new Middle Earth: Shadow of War.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War
Middle Earth: Shadow of War is the much anticipated sequel to 2014’s Shadow of Mordor a fantastic open world action game set in the Lord of the Rings universe. The available demo gave you the opportunity to experience some of the newer game-play elements and mechanics. The main mission available to play was to wage war on a citadel, this was a huge assault featuring an orc army at your command to attack and capture the stronghold from the legendary chieftain. The experience was truly epic, you are able to command your army to attack in different ways while you tip the scales in your favour using your fighting skills and wraith abilities. As a side note you can also fly on a drake burning your enemies with ease. A wonderful demo and a masterclass in drawing in your audience. Definitely a game to pick up on release!
Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves is a first person multiplayer cooperative action game where you take on the role of a member of pirate crew. Set in an open world where you can take on quests in your search for treasure while also engaging enemy players in ship combat. The game is being developed by Rare and will feature cross platform play between PC and Xbox One. The game is definitely fun and you could see yourself spending a good few hours enjoying its cartoonish style and funny mechanics however its longevity will be dependent on having enough friends to play this with.
Sony was once again promoting the Playstation VR. Virtual reality is slowly making its way into mainstream gaming, no longer is it just fun gimmicks, but major titles are being remastered and adapted for the VR experience. Sony had several titles available to sample the VR headset in all its glory. The first person perspective of games like Elder Scrolls Skyrim and the indie game Superhot look and feel amazing to experience.
The VR truly gives you an immersive experience and fortunately does work with glasses wearers. There does appear to be a slight graphic downgrade through the headset however this may be due to the quite finicky positioning required to get the perfect view. Personally it is difficult to tell whether VR is worth getting at this point in time, however we look forward to seeing how this technology develops and how many companies will jump on the VR bandwagon.
Star Wars Battlefront 2
Star Wars Battlefront 2 the exciting sequel to the Battlefront reboot from 2015 finally bringing the elements fans hoped for from the first game. Now set across all eras of the Star Wars saga the demo featured a battle between the confederate droids and the republic on Naboo. The game now has a class system increasing variety of play styles and bringing with it new abilities. You now earn points as you play that you can spend in game to respawn as a unique trooper/droid or one of the hero characters this removes the randomness from the first game of picking up dispersed tokens. The game was extremely fun and the actively changing objectives as the match progressed kept you on your toes on how you approached the map. Possibly this was the best game of the convention this year.
The Nintendo Switch is slowly increasing the number of titles it has on offer it is an incredibly unique console promoting both local multiplayer, which is something the most developers these days tend to ignore, as well as its amazing portability. It was seen on several occasions that con goers in the queues would crack out a Nintendo Switch to pass the time while waiting. The main features that Nintendo was showcasing this year were Super Mario Odyssey and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.
Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey continues to impress taking a more open world approach to the tradition Mario 3D platforming experience similar to the hub world of Super Mario Sunshine. The game has Mario travel to variety of kingdoms on the ship the “Odyssey” with his new sentient hat “Cappy” in search of Power Moons that provide energy to the ship allowing for game progression.
Cappy provides a whole host of new abilities, they can be thrown to attack enemies as well as being using as a temporary platform. However it is the unique capture abilities that show the most interesting aspect of Mario’s new kit. When thrown at specific enemies or objections Mario is able to take control of them gaining access to their unique skill set. Mario Odyssey looks to be another feather in the cap for the Nintendo Switch.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a turn based combat game similar to X-COM featuring the rather interesting crossover of Mario and Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids. Players take turns against the AI controlled enemies to move their characters into advantageous positions to then take aim and shoot the enemies. The game is fun and tactical having received very positive reviews since its release.
Rezzed who hosted the indie area showed a huge amount of support for new and upcoming game designers. There were panels specifically directed at developers covering topics from funding and tax, to getting noticed on steam this was as much an event for the developers as for the gamers. There were a huge number of indie titles on display at this years EGX sadly only a few could be sampled and here are the ones to keep an eye on.
Q.U.B.E. 2 is a fantastic puzzle game bearing many similarities to games such as portal, which it would be difficult to not be compared to. The game involves the manipulation of coloured cubes to traverse the area to eventually reach the exit. Introducing several new mechanics from the first game Qube 2 was an extremely enjoyable experience which I personally look forward to playing when it is released in 2018.
The Occupation was a true stand out hit. Taking the role a reporter who has infiltrated the UK government with the task of finding out information about a soon to be passed bill under the noses of the general public. Your aim is to eavesdrop and extract information delivering it to your external contact to either support or destroy the bill in question leaving the choice up to the player. With an art style inspired by Dishonored the game is very pleasing to the eye. What was great to see was the small game-play details of getting a target to leave a room by turning up the thermostat allowing you a short time to enter their office and acquire the information you need. A fantastic indie title looking to arrive on steam next year.
Dead Cells is the perfect game for fans of Castlevania and Dark Souls this 2D action rogue-like is the perfect dip in and out game. Your aim is to progress through the procedurally generated dungeons unlocking weapons and abilities as you go, should you die however you are sent back to start again. You can put together some interesting load-outs of weapons that synergise with your abilities making you a destroying machine. Out now on steam and constantly being updated.
There were also some very interesting concepts for games including Dad Quest where you used your children as weapons and the Purrfect Date whose name encapsulates its theme perfectly!
EGX is not just an event for developers to convince you to buy their games it is also an event for like-minded people to get together and express their passion for gaming. There were areas devoted to retro gaming having pretty much every console that has existed in once for people to sit down and enjoy some nostalgia. As well as hosting tournaments for Street Fighter V and live casting of Overwatch seating was always packed for these stages.
There was also the chance to meet some famous people within the gaming and entertainment community. Andy Serkis gave a fantastic discussion of his work in particular the upcoming Planet of the Apes, Cara Theobald the voice of Tracer from Overwatch opened the twitch tournament stage, as well as several Youtube personalities all attending panels and doing live let’s play commentaries for viewers entertainment.
Overall EGX was a massive success and a fantastic experience from gaming to cosplay to merchandise there is so much for so many people to enjoy and see at EGX and Resonate looks forward to returning next year!!