TDF @ EGX 2018 - The Report
You’d be forgiven for thinking that EGX is actually a fitness convention, walking an average of 12km a day I can safely say I have come out of the experience leaner and faster than ever before. Well, I will be once everything stops hurting and the blisters are gone.
Anyway, EGX is a big old convention full of a ridiculous amount of talent, weird food-based cosplay, and some of the best games that aren’t out yet. Upon entering the convention, you are greeted by what is possibly the most intriguing and unusual section, the Rezzed area. Here there were an obscene amount of indie games from a wide array of different developers all in different styles.
Chucklefish had a very strong offering this year, they are well worth keeping an eye on for the sheer quality of the games they both develop and publish. I got to have hands on with Eastward, which is a love letter to SNES era adventure games that gives you control over two very different characters who set off to defeat a skeleton at a sawmill. It has all of the whimsy and personality you would expect from this style of game and some interesting puzzles that will no doubt evolve into some truly testing stuff later on in the game.
Wargroove was just as enjoyable as it was when I got hands on back at the Rezzed event back in April. It still feels a lot like Advance Wars with dogs and other cute animals in it. Apparently, the game is in the ‘being polished’ phase of its existence so if everyone can keep their fingers crossed maybe we can get a release date soon.
Moving away from Chucklefish but staying with the indie scene I came to a game called Beacon from Monothetic. A roguelike twin stick shooter that has a great sci-fi aesthetic and a really interesting hook. As you kill enemies they have a chance to drop part of their genetic code, you can splice this with your own genes and potentially mutate and gain new powers. It isn’t just an intriguing idea though, it plays well, sounds good, looks good, and should definitely be on your radar.
Next up is a game called Card Life. Apparently, it will end up as “Minecraft meets Ark” but with substantially more customisation. When you make something you get a basic dot to dot template to follow but you can go outside of that and design your own magnificent tools. You can even alter the PNG file that this process creates in other programs and put your own face on a sword if you want. So far the developers have been working closely with the community around it in order to try and give the people what they want.
Ant Workshop have been busy as bees working on Dead End Job, a roguelike ghost buster ‘em up. As you work your way around the maps shooting and vacuuming up the puns of times gone by you will also work your way up the career ladder and earn some pretty decent money. There is even going to be a co-op mode so that you can play through this weird rat race with a friend.
One more indie game and we can move into some really cool experiences before heading to the AAA space. Vanguard is the first game from devclever and it is incredibly ambitious. A space shooter is one thing, but this one imagines what would happen if the Roman empire never fell and continued to expand and eventually conquer the stars. It will be playable in VR, on Mobile, and on PC. It was fun to play and worked surprisingly well across the different systems, time will tell how balanced it will end up being with the cross play.
There were two very interesting games in the Leftfield collection that I managed to get hands on with. The first of which was from a team called Sand Gardeners. Between Stations was set up an old TV with a few buttons, an on/off switch, and a tuner. You switch between different frequencies and try to make sense of, more of an experience than a game, it simulates what it is like to be a transient visitor to an off-road hotel. It really was a very cool experience and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next.
The other one I checked out here was Small Talk, a small narrative game that mimics the strangeness of house parties. You walk through a cast of unusual characters and chat to them at a house party as the world is about to end. You get to delve into their thoughts and almost live through them. It was inspired in part by an overly personal tale that one of the developers was told at a party and is quite simply inspiring. The art style is simple but incredibly striking and the game is well worth any time you have to spare.
Oh, one last indie game, and it is a doozy. Out of everything I played over the days I was at EGX one game had the most surprising queue. Untitled Goose Game is a goose ‘em up where your aim is to torment a farmer and have a nice picnic. At least that was what the demo was about. It is a very funny game that seems to have whipped up a storm. It seems House House know how to make an interesting game.
Right then, onto Sega. Team Sonic Racing is a new take on the cart racing genre that has you teaming up with two other racers and winning or losing as one entity. It is a really cool idea that should fit those who play with kids or people who maybe aren’t as comfortable gaming but getting to feel like they all contributed. There are lots of special team strategies you can use, and it looks like it could be a nice addition to the space.
Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight are both cute spin-offs of the incredibly popular RPG series that have a notably lighter tone. Rather than summoning monsters and throwing down you summon up the courage to throw shapes. The music in these is fantastic and watching normally serious characters dancing around is quite refreshing, if you like rhythm games then these are for you.
At Ubisoft I got to play as part of a squad of agents in The Division 2. We had to go through a building and a plane wreck taking out some ne’er-do-wells who had blown through and caused a whole bunch of trouble. I got to play as a sharpshooter who could more or less support themselves thanks to a very good drone that went around helping to scare enemies out of cover, and just generally wear down some of the stronger enemies. The gameplay felt very tight and the gunplay felt better than it did in the original, which is impressive because it was good then. It certainly helped pique my interest in the sequel and I am looking forward to getting stuck in.
I played a lot of Bandai Namco games at EGX this year. Man Of Medan from Supermassive is an incredibly tense and atmospheric experience. It can be tough to impress with a slice of any of this kind of game, but it did it with a lot of aplomb. The voice acting is incredible and the characters feel very real, it already looks like it will be another hit from the team behind Until Dawn.
I also played Jump Force, Soul Calibur VI, and My Hero: One’s Justice. I think I will write these up together in a separate piece but I am really impressed by how different they all feel. The quality of the anime games that are being published is definitely improving. As a giant fan of My Hero Academia the video game brawler really does impress, I haven’t been this excited for an anime game since Dragon Ball FighterZ.
Lastly, but definitely not leastly (I am on 4 hours sleep and I want you to understand that my humour gets really stupid at this point) is actual video game Shia Labeouf. I mean Kingdom Hearts 3. There were two levels on show, one had you fighting one of the titans from Hercules. The other, and the one I chose to play, had you getting your cowboy boots on the ground and meeting Woody and Buzz in Andy’s room. The incredibly frenetic combat is chaotic but incredibly enjoyable, the changing Keyblade is a nice new touch and adds in a lot of extra style into every fight. Also, it literally looks like you are playing the movie, it is truly mind boggling.
That is pretty much everything I got to see on the show floor. There were loads of meet and greets, live demos, tournaments, and competitions going on all over the place, but I was running from place to place to bring you this good content. Did you go to EGX? What did you like and what are you excited for?