Reviews

EGX 2016 Round Up

EGX 2016 came and went as all conventions do, far too quickly. After a couple of weeks to reflect on the weekend, what is usually one of the bigger shows for video games just didn’t feel the same as previous years. Although still an enjoyable way to try out and get excited about upcoming or unknown games, the show just didn’t have the presence it once did with developers/publishers making the effort to head to the key shows in Paris, Germany or the States.

While there was a big focus on VR, the Rezzed area and tournaments like the Capcom Pro Tour event held in the Fight Zone this year, some of the main names in gaming were missing from the list. Microsoft and Nintendo were absent, although Nintendo was understandable as everyone would be asking about the NX but there was no Ubisoft, no EA… it felt a little empty. Amazon Prime replaced GAME as the place to get your pre-orders and there was a lack of effort by the bigger publishers offering incentives to try to guarantee your order at the event. That’s not to say that what was there wasn’t good! Playstation had a huge area to themselves, with Bethesda and Square Enix taking some space for themselves too. While the queues were not as long as last year, there was still the insane rush by the public who sprinted to queue for the bigger titles first, especially the Playstation VR stand which offered pre-booking in the lead up to the event but due to the demand had to try and fit more people in. The Rezzed area was back in full swing again with a plethora of great games to choose from. It was the perfect area for showcasing the indie studios and upcoming games which prove popular every year and there were spots for some of the games that you may not have heard of just yet getting shown off too.

We will go into a bit more detail about some of the games, but it’s worth mentioning the likes of the Insert Coin clothing, the merchandise stands and the Cosplay stage who provided opportunities to spend our hard earned pennies and be dazzled by all of the creativity. There seemed to be a little more focus on these areas this year while at previous EGX, it has been all about the games. So let’s get cracking! First off, we’ll cover the AAAs we managed to play before focusing on the VR, indie and small studio games. We didn’t get to play everything, but I think it’s fair to say that what we did get a go on was pretty good! Other titles available over the weekend were Titanfall 2 (which featured the same demo as in the recent beta and we did manage to get a go on again), Battlefield 1, South Park: The Fractured But Whole on Nosulous Rift (yes, you did hear that right), Hitman, Final Fantasy XV, Gran Turismo Sport and Rise of the Tomb Raider for PS4 but due to the queues, we opted to focus on some of the titles offered in other areas of the convention.

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Dishonored 2

I wasn’t originally going to queue as I have only watched some of the first Dishonored and am not fully aware of the story. But I thought it would be worth a shot as I had only heard good things. The demo allowed me to get a solid 30 minutes taking on the Clockwork Mansion in which there were two objectives to try and complete. We were given the choice of playing as Corvo or Emily, each with their own set of abilities and weapons and although I asked for Emily… I actually was given Corvo. Either way, it didn’t matter! This particular mission takes place around 4 hours into the game and now it’s time to infiltrate the tower and try to save one person and kill another. Graphically, it was very pretty and reminded me of the gameplay I saw of the first instalment. While I don’t want to give too much away, the game is still focused on the stealth aspect although there may be times when brute force is required. I did enjoy the demo, enough so that I will make the effort to try and play the first game before diving into this one!

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare/Modern Warfare Remastered

It’s that time of year again when the new Call of Duty is about to be launched and this year is one that has been highly anticipated since the Modern Warfare Remaster was announced, so I expecting big things. I haven’t played Advanced Warfare as I have been solidly invested in Black Ops 3 but I was intrigued to see what was coming next in Infinite. Both were showcasing the multiplayer and the first thing you notice is that instead of Specialists, you have Rigs which provide similar perks. I got to like the FTL with the Eraser… which is essentially the Annihilator pistol but with a bit more of a space like bang and the maps weren’t too dissimilar to previous games. All in all, it is another Call of Duty game and I can’t help but wonder how many more titles the publishers think they can squeeze out of it before people stop paying out for the same thing with a different skin every year. The Remaster on the other hand was an exact replica of Modern Warfare 4 but with shiny graphics and a couple of updates. Other than that, it hasn’t changed at all! If you’re looking forward to going back to how CoD used to be, then you should definitely consider getting the Remaster, but I’m not sure I want to pay out for Infinite Warfare unless the campaign is going to be phenomenal.


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WWE2K17

It’s that time of year when another updated WWE game is released. I still have WWF Raw on PS1 along with subsequent games when it moved to PS2 and while the graphics have come a long way, I think it’s a little over complicated these days. You have to press the counter buttons at just the right time in order to execute a move and I still have no idea how you do any of the moves! Admittedly, it’s difficult to learn the moves in a 10 minute match with your friend and it is a bit of fun after all.

Gears of War 4

I don’t own an XBOX and never have. Therefore, I haven’t had the opportunity to play the Gears of War games and in fact, they would be one of the only reasons for considering picking one up. I wasn’t going to let that stop me having a go on Gears of War 4 however! The game was running on PC with 4K screens showing off the graphics and it was pretty impressive although I do wonder if it will be as such on the new XBOX consoles.  Overall, the demo was relatively short but gave you a taster of what’s to come. Battles, violent and unstable habitats where you’ll take out the bad guys. It’s certainly peaked my interest and made me want to play through the series in order to get through to number 4.

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Horizon: Zero Dawn

Since the announcement of this title, I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on it. The trailer and gameplay demonstration at E3 were enough to make a decision about it. So at EGX, Sony had a closed off area which required you to book a spot in order to get in on the action. Firstly we were shown an updated trailer followed by the gameplay demo seen at E3 before being let loose for minutes on the demo. The only issue I had was that it wasn’t explained that we wouldn’t be playing the same demo we had just watched but instead were placed about half way through and giving objectives to complete within the demo area. I had managed to capture and override my mount but couldn’t figure out what to do afterwards and as a result ran out of time. Lucky for me, some people left and another console became free so I had a few more minutes play time. Graphically, it looks great, even at this stage and I did enjoy it but I am looking forward to getting more time with the game as unfortunately the demo only left me needing more.

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Playstation VR

Kuniku and myself pre-booked to get a go on the PS VR and see what all the fuss was about! As we haven’t currently pre-ordered or planned to pick the kit up on release (along with a PS Pro, ouch!) we wanted to see whether it lived up to the hype with its imminent arrival on the gaming scene. Kuniku got to test out the Shark tank demo in which you are lowered into the sea in a cage where you watch a shark swim around you, but as with every shark adventure (Deep Blue Sea or Jaws for example) the shark turns bad and starts to attack. While more of an experience than a game play demo, Kuniku stated he felt a sense of vertigo during the gameplay and watching it on the screen did make me feel a little uneasy. Graphically, it looked pretty good and responsive to the movements made by the player. I played on London Heist, a shoot em up game which sees the played in a van being chased by guys with guns. The demo was fun and took a few moments to adjust to before getting stuck in to some good old fashioned shooting. These were the only demos we got to try out but I did go back to observe other players testing out the gear. One demo that caught my eye was an early build of Farpoint, which actually had a rifle peripheral which is also in development. I would have loved to have a go as that is what I imagine to be the closest to the full VR experience Sony can get to without gloves with sensors and multiple cameras. The rifle looked great and easy to use and suited the game well. I’m still not sold on the PS VR, mainly due to the lack of funds and still want to wait a while before parting with hard earned cash for it, but I’m warming to it after seeing what they have so far.

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Nvidea VR

Other VR opportunities were available over the weekend but we made sure we hit the Nvidea stand as there were a couple of games on offer which certainly looked intriguing. The boys had a go on Serious Sam which had you standing on a green screen area with the choice of wands or a giant mini gun… either way, you were going to be doing a whole lot of shooting and the spectacle of an audience being able to see you within the environment while you have the headset on was pretty impressive. While I didn’t play it myself, the booth was booked up quickly to allow folks to have a go with the mini gun. The other game on offer was a Carnival style fun fair which allowed the player to go through a series of mini games to build up points. These ranged from bursting balloons with swords, shooting plates and firing arrows at targets. You got more of a sense of the physics behind these games where it did make a difference if you were too low or too high with your attempt but also you could notice if there was any latency between you pressing buttons on the wand and the outcome on screen. I didn’t notice too much of a difference and  with no motion sickness during the demo I found it was fun to play but the set up required and the amount of space you would need to ensure you’re not going to fall over over smash that awful picture frame your nan bought for you is evident. If you do get a chance to try out these demos in future, you will certainly enjoy.

Little Nightmares

I had not heard of this game prior to arriving at EGX but had a big presence at the event. With giant booth including a cage, kitchen area and the characters from the game chasing around their section, it certainly caught my eye and was very busy over the weekend. It’s a puzzle platformer with an element of horror from Tarsier Studios  and Bandai Namco. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw it as it had that creepy vibe right from the start. You play as a small child, Six, stuck in The Maw where nothing is as it seems and in this section of the demo you end up in a kitchen where you must creep, climb and figure out a way to escape the chef who bumbles around looking for you. It certainly is eerie and I fell in love with it. This style of game is very popular at the moment and developers are finding new and intriguing ways of presenting them to us. I’m certainly looking forward to the release of this game and hope to bring you a full review when it’s out!

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Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War 3

Brief interlude from Kuniku here! I didn’t get to play much at EGX as I was working in the Fight Zone. But one game I did go out of my way to have a little go on was Dawn of War 3. I’ve been a fan of the series since the original launched way back when. I was very interested to see if the game would be closer to its “old school” RTS roots in DoW1, or more like DoW2. It’s actually a very pleasant mix of the two! If you were a fan of either of the previous Dawn of War titles (and their numerous expansions) you’re probably already excited for this new offering from Relic Entertainment. The demo itself was a bit of an odd one, as it really throws you in at the deep end, as Lefranzine found out, if you’ve not played RTS titles before the demo gave no instruction, it just threw you right into a kind of mid campaign mission, controlling the Blood Raven Space Marines fending off attacks from the Xenos threat of the Eldar while also working towards the goals of the mission at hand. If you’re a fan of the previous games or RTS titles in general – check this one out! If you’ve never played RTS games but are a fan of the Warhammer series – check this one out!

Gravity Rush 2

I’ll have to be honest and say that I haven’t played the first Gravity Rush but thought I would have a go on the demo for number 2 while EGX. With an anime art style, interesting control mechanics and crazy dark monsters you have to try and fight, I was mostly just trying to fly without killing myself. It was quite interesting to play, but as I’m terrible at picking up controls that require you to be pretty accurate to ensure you’re landing right or doing a fancy mid-air turn to stop your character floating off into the sky, I got a little bit frustrated. The demo was still quite fun and if you have played the first game, it looks to be more of the same.

Yooka-Laylee

From the moment I saw this title announced, I wanted to play! It’s an open world platformer featuring Yooka (the chameleon) and Laylee (the bat) who work together who tackle puzzles and challenges together. From the creative folks of Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong, Yooka-Laylee is great fun. While the demo mainly featured you running (or rolling) about exploring and doing some mini challenges, there will be bosses and all sorts of baddies to contend with. I would certainly recommend it as a game for all ages, as long as it’s your thing of course! Sincerely hoping we’ll have the opportunity to review this one in full at release.

Aragami

Aragami is a third person stealth game with a gorgeous art style and very reminiscent of Assassins Creed but in Aragami, you can control the shadows and use these to teleport and reach new heights in order to fight the baddies. We have been fortunate enough to get a review code for this one thanks to the developers at Lince Works so check out the review here!

Black The Fall

Being published by the Square Enix Collective, Black The Fall is a highly atmospheric side-scrolling puzzler adventure. One of the developers was on hand to tell us more about the game and its story inspired by the Sand Sailor’s upbringing in Communist Romania. You much escape a factory in a state where oppression and darkness are everywhere. You will solve puzzles and move through an industrial world trying to avoid suspicion and being caught by the state. The art style of this game is lovely and the puzzles are very clever… with one relying on you using only sound to get through. If you like Limbo, you’ll really enjoy this game and it has caught our attention, that’s for sure.

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Dead Cells

Dead Cells was the main attraction in the indie area for some members of the Darkworld Team over the weekend… so much so that because the boys kept going back for more, the developers set up a challenge for them! This Castlevania-inspired, action-platformer allows you to explore an ever-changing castle in which you can find gear that will allow you to access new areas. Similarly to The Binding of Issac, no run is the same as the loot is random, the secrets change and different characters appear. To start as Dead Cells, that want revenge! So you take over the nearest corpse and head off to take out other undead creatures within the castle. Every death has its own reward though as you unlock new areas and passages every time you die! This was certainly the highlight of the weekend for the team so we definitely recommend that you keep an eye out for this title!

Brut@l

I only got to watch Brutal while standing behind the others as this was a very popular title over the weekend but if you like classic dungeon crawlers in which you can slice, dice, level up and face off with a big nasty at the end. I was really drawn to the graphics for this game as it is mainly  black and white 3D areas which dashes of colour that are really striking to look at. The game features 4 character classes to choose from who can brew potions or craft weapons while leveling up to unlock new items and abilities. It certainly looked like great fun and I really hope I get to have a play with it soon.

Black and White Bushido

Good Catch were back with Black and White Bushido with an updated version of the game and preparing for a console release in a few months time. While we have reviewed this title before, we have a lot of love for the gang! We’re looking forward to putting together a stream or video of the game upon its updated release so you can all enjoy the madness!

Tokyo Dark

I’m not the biggest fan of point and click adventure stories but I thought I would try Tokyo Dark out as it is another title being supported by the Square Enix Collective. You play as Detective Ito, making choices that can affect the outcome of the story dependent on the leads, clues and interactions you come across. It was a little bit odd as the story turned dark (funnily enough) very quickly and while it doesn’t appeal to me personally, if you like the stories that are affected by your decision making, then Tokyo Dark may be one to add to your collection.

The Turing Test

Do you like Portal? If so, you’ll like this one! You’re on Europa, Jupiter’s moon, trying to discover what happened at a research facility. It is being published by the Square Enix Collective and is already available on PC. The demo starts at the beginning where you learn how to use your Energy Manipulation Tool to open doors, transfer power between objects and doors and eventually will be used to take control of machines, structures and solve even more complex tasks. While it takes me a while to work things out, I certainly enjoyed playing this game as I loved Portal. You should definitely give it a try if you like this style of puzzler.

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City of the Shroud

I’m terrible at PC games, so I let Al take over on this one but the overall concept of City of the Shroud is one that might suprise you. Reminiscent of XCOM, it is a turn based fantasy fighting game with an interesting real time combat system. You can choose your allies and build your characters to survive in a city descending into civil war. The combat, although turn based, doesn’t stop you from preparing your next move while your combo is being carried out by your selected character. The combat wheel is interesting as you can build up a combo depending on how much stamina you have remaining and is a mechanic I don’t recall seeing in previous games I’ve come across and once you get used to it, you may find that you’re blitzing through the fights pretty quickly. We were pleasantly surprised by how well it worked and hope we get to see more of this title in future.

Gang Beasts

This title was pretty popular on the Twitch stage with the devs appearing multiple times to show it off. A fun local multiplayer where you fight each other as gelatinous characters affected by physics and the environment around you. You fight, you try not to succumb to gravity so you can win! Some rounds are over in an instant if everyone misjudges their attack and the last blob standing or to fall off of the level wins! It is a really silly game but it is great fun! I can forsee this title joining the rostra for future Genital Games tournaments!

Shu

Shu is a beautiful platformer in which you control Shu and her friends as they try to climb a mountain and outrun and relentless storm. All hand-drawn and very engrossing, Shu is not only very pretty but the gameplay is smooth and enjoyable. Reminiscent of the newer Rayman games, you can take your time through most of the level but once the storm comes, you have to get a move on to ensure everyone escapes unscathed. Sadly, none of the devs were available to chat to about the game but the demo was enjoyable and one to add to the list.

Overcooked

After seeing a lot of people walking around in chef hats over the weekend, I thought I should check out Overcooked. It’s a co-op cooking game for 1-4 people who need to work together to prepare, cook and deliver orders on time in order to build up points. Simple right? WRONG! You only get a couple of minutes to get good and the stages aren’t static in any way! Whether you are in two halves and need to communicate to make sure both sides work in unison to fulfill the orders or the scenery moves so you have to time things just right to maximise the potential of your kitchen. It is fun and slightly stressful but communication is definitely key if you play with others!

Inops

I don’t usually play games designed for mobile devices as I just generally don’t use my phone or tablet for gaming, but INOPS may have converted me! This is a mobile puzzler in which you need to rescue your INOPS and successfully guide them through the hostile environments. You can join your INOPS up together to make a giant INOP or split them up for better maneuverability or to outrun the hazards that surround you. It was really fun and you really want to get your INOPS through the level, mainly because they make a heartbreaking sound when they die! I’ll definitely be downloading this one when it is released and best of all, it’s free!

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