The Rezzed Report
EGX Rezzed is an incredible celebration of the Indie side of gaming, completely packed with games from pretty much every conceivable genre and packed with wondrous ideas. The event was held in the Tobacco Dock this year, a grade 1 listed warehouse built in 1811, which is an amazing venue that once you've explored a little is easy to get around, and is compact enough to mean you are never more than a couple of minutes away from whatever you came to see.
The event itself is in fact multi-faceted, not only are there a huge amount of games on show, but there are merch stands, a careers fair, portfolio reviews, industry talks and a ball pit. This means that the show isn't a simple display of the amazing upcoming or recently released games, but also a great chance for people who want to get into the industry to get some advice, and maybe find out about some job opportunities. Also there was a ball pit, which was great if you like ball pits.
First up we took a look at Phoenix Point, the upcoming tactical strategy game from the creator of the original X-COM Julian Gollop. At first glance the game looks a similar to X-COM but when you see it in action you start to see some very interesting differences, for example, when aiming at an enemy, you go into a first person view and can zoom in on the enemy, targeting specific body parts and seeing what kind of bullet spray you are likely to have. This adds a new dimension to the gameplay and takes away some of the frustration that occurs when you have a 99% chance to hit but still miss. When you combine this with the reactive procedural generation of the enemies, they actually adapt and evolve based on your tactics, then you have something that is shaping up to be incredibly special.
Next up we saw Disco Elysium which is a detective RPG set in a fictional shore town where crime is out of control. The most interesting thing about this game is that combat isn't the focus and that your personality develops as you play. The RPG elements let you shape your character based on their experiences, memories and feelings. It means that sometimes the character your make may do things that fit their persona perfectly even if it isn't what you wanted. The way this impacts gameplay and player agency is sure to make this a truly unique experience and one that will be hard to forget.
Wargroove was the next stop and the combination of stunning art style and incredible gameplay looks fantastic. Chucklefish had a few games on display and all of them looked incredible but the stand out for us was definitely the Advance Wars inspired turn-based strategy game. The gameplay is incredibly familiar but also had some great new ideas on show including a co-op mode and a map editor. In fact the team said that the game will ship with the same tools they used to build the games campaign, this will allow the game to keep growing and no doubt the community around it will make some inspired new levels and campaigns.
We got to see Catastronauts being played as well, a co-op game very much in the same pot as Overcooked, it focuses on a team trying to keep everything together as aliens attack and everything goes horribly awry. You are tasked with making sure you survive through each level, having to work together to get through and trying not to get in each others way. The game has a wonderful look to it and everyone who played got to the end of the demo which is always a good sign. There is always more room for local multiplayer games and this looks like a great addition to the roster.
Finally in a less traditional medium we got to try out Windlands 2 a VR game which has you swinging around like Spiderman to get around and firing a special bow to attack. The game felt great and the fast respawn speed was great because on small slip and you will find yourself at the bottom of a canyon. The game was surprisingly easy on the stomach given that you are rarely in contact with the ground and the controls felt great on Occulus too. It had a very cartoonish look and while the boss bested the group we played with it was an incredibly enjoyable experience getting to it.
There were lots of other games worth noting that we didn't get to play like Sunless Skies, Cultist Simulator, Dead End Job, The Swords of Ditto and Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption just to name a few. Overall the show was great and getting to talk to the indie devs behind these incredible games is always a joy. Getting to experience the passion that is put into the games first hand is wonderful and is one of the reasons that EGX Rezzed should be part of every gamer's calendar.
Keep an eye out for a few more Rezzed articles that will be coming out over the next few days as we do a deep dive into other themes that were present, especially the huge showing for Nintendo Switch.