EGX 2015 – Day Two Report
Welcome to my Day Two report from EGX 2015. Today’s Report is brought to you by the power of Domino’s, Strongbow and Netflix. A hearty mix if I might say so myself. I dragged myself out of bed at a decent time today and was at the NEC by 10:15, and from there, my journey began…
My first port of call was one of the few AAA games on show that I was really keen to check out. I made a beeline for the Ubisoft zone and wondered what in the holy hell had been going on since doors opened at 10am…the queue for The Division was ginormous, and I was reliably informed by a member of Team Ubi that there was a two and half hour wait to get on the game. I tried to wave my press pass…but to no avail. The Division is one of those games that I probably won’t get a chance to play this weekend.
With the day getting off to a less than perfect start, I wandered the show halls feeling glum…I walked past the massive spider pictured above, and immediately my mood improved! I quickly found an empty seat and set about getting my hands dirty with Total War: Warhammer. My hands are now well and truly covered in the blood of innocent dwarves who I led to the slaughter in battle against the orc menace.
I followed the grisly nature of fantasy war with something more family friendly…Lego Dimensions. By this stage of the Lego gaming franchise, I’ve long stopped paying attention to what is happening, but with Dimensions I was blown away. It mixes the traditional Lego game structure, with the play with toys nature of Skylanders and Disney Infinity. It will cost parents an arm and a leg if their kids get into it, but I was seriously impressed.
While hanging around the Sony booth, I had a quick blast on a short demo for the Uncharted Nathan Drake Collection. The demo featured a sequence from Uncharted 2, and I think it is fair to say, people know whether they will be checking this collection of remasters out. I for one will as I never played the game on the PlayStation 3, but I know how much fun they can be from playing the version that was released on the Vita.
For the most part, the rest of my day at the expo was spent in the indie game area where I took in so many different games. I can’t do them all the justice they deserve right here, but keep an open mind as some of them might be just what you are looking for.
Sheltered (Steam Greenlight page) was one of the first indies I saw today. It isn’t something that I’m going to look to pick up and play again, but it will appeal to a lot of other people. Personally, I thought of it as a smash up between Fallout Shelter and The Sims, all in pixelated format. Manage your family in a post-apocalyptic underground vault. It achieved double its Kickstarter goal, so it must be doing something right.
Next up on my tour was Shadow Hand, a card game that I can get behind. Unlike something along the lines of Hearthstone, Shadow Hand works on the basis of solitaire style games. Get a good run of cards, and use one of your weapons to strike at your foe. The build on show was at a very early stage of development, and the team kindly showed off some of the RPG elements they will be introducing further down the line. I later found out that it is being published by Cliff Harris at Positech Games. Cliff has a great eye for promising indies, and he explains why he linked up with the guys and gals at Grey Alien Games over on his blog.
If you want some glorious party action, you don’t need to go near Nintendo’s excellent portfolio anymore. There’s a new kind on the block, and he is going by the name Jump Stars. I wish the team had some videos to show off, for this game is a riot. I played it a few times with randomers and had a laugh in every round we played. At EGX, the developers were running a high scores table based on three game modes. First up the four players had to avoid being crushed by deadly hammers, while gathering points by landing on a spot responding to their characters colour. Next up, you had to gather points from your coloured pads, all the while playing hot potato with a pack of TNT. The final level saw everyone jumping as if their lives depended on it (which they did) up different platforms to escape the ever rising floor.
It might not sound like much on paper, but in action it is great fun. I’m gutted the dev team don’t have any videos to show it off, but if I remember tomorrow, I will try to record some off screen action.
If you are at the show this weekend, I implore you to check out Giant Cop, I really think it is going to be on my list for Game of the Show. You are literally a giant cop who is running the police department of a city. Everything feels very 1970s and it is just brilliant. I need to write more about this…
Drive any Track does exactly what it says on the tin. It lets you drive any track that you throw into game. You might all start off thinking about Audiosurf, but you’ll be wrong. Drive any Track is an arcade racer at heart and you boost your score through more than just keeping in time with the song. Perform drifts, pull off tricks when flying over jumps and collect bonuses littered throughout the stage. I checked this out with a random Megadeath song and was taken for a wild ride.
Onto a slightly spookier footing we have The Intruder, an unnerving horror/thriller that is currently lurking around Steam Greenlight. It reminded me of a horror version of Gone Home with elements of Dear Esther thrown in for good measure. I think there might be more ‘gamey’ elements present here than in those two, but I was definitely feeling a bit chilled here. The demo is set in a school, where you have only your flashlight for company (or do you?). Explore the school and you will come across some decidedly unnerving notes…and even a sleeping bag. Is someone living there? And why are they so desperate to reach the third floor?
As I said, this is one intense game that had me on tenterhooks throughout.
My final indie game of the day was Unbox which features characterful boxes which you launch around the landscape in some kind of crazy world where boxes are sentient beings and the physics have fallen into a different dimension. I had a laugh playing this in a few 4-player battles, but the singleplayer demo felt a bit unwieldy. It is one thing giving players a whole level to explore, another thing entirely when you don’t feel like you will make any progress without sitting down for an hour or two with the game.
Might be one to keep an eye on though.
One of my final ports of call (after some more Warhammer End Times was Nintendo’s upcoming 3DS title, Zelda Triforce Heroes. I played this with two randomers, and it wasn’t a great first time with the game. I don’t doubt it would have worked outside of an Expo environment (or with people you actually know) where you might make use of the different shout that are available on the touch screen, but the multiplayer interaction felt awkward. The game itself seems pretty fun and makes strong use of the three characters being present in the game.
At the end of the day, it isn’t the Zelda everyone wants, and I would be interested in seeing how it works when playing solo.
My last stop for the day? Another crack at the Assassin’s Creed Syndicate demo. Much fun was had.