If yesterday was my hopelessly floundering journey to the venue, today was my evolution into the new age Carrie Fisher. I arrived with enough time to grab a quick coffee (in the Costa near Gate S7 – for the record) and sat tapping away at the laptop working, while nursing incredibly sore legs from doing those godforsaken squats yesterday, all before the chaos of the day began.
And chaos was an understatement as I kicked off the day with DOOM Eternal. After queuing for the best part of an hour, I got to punch a whole load of demons in the face – and it was great! Needless to say, the sequel really does live up to the hype. The soundtrack is incredible, practically tearing you apart through your ears, so Mick Gordon has clearly nailed it again.
Also, there have been small but noticeable changes to the moment-to-moment gameplay to make the whole experience more fluid to play and give the player more freedom of movement. I do still utterly suck at the game, dying repeatedly, but the game just throws you back in if you die so your adrenaline levels just don’t drop even for a second. Really, it should come with a health warning.
From one game I simply cannot play very well to another, I jumped onto Nioh 2, which didn’t disappoint with its punishing difficulty. Being repeatedly and throughly spread along the floor like smooth peanut butter on toast by a demon with a sword three times larger than me was a genuine treat. I should get around to playing the original, but today is not that day sadly.
But, what loser goes to EGX for the games? The merchandise stands are the actual place to be at gaming events! With a whole host of things to buy from art work to retro games to t-shirts, all of your gaming dreams can be purchased for (mostly) reasonable prices. Me? I spent somewhere in the region of forty British pounds simply on dice, so I’ve clearly got my life in order.
After a quick break to re-energise (strong black coffee, two sugars), the rest of my day was all about the indies and there was a huge amount to choose from across several themed areas. With friends in tow I got to check in with Phogs, which is looking and feeling so much smoother than my last time playing it, and sat in a deckchair (?) to play the gloriously dumb Cake Bash.
Next, and because it would have been very unlike me to overlook it, I tackled Eldest Souls. Obviously inspired by the classic title, Rayman Raving Rabbids – I mean, Dark Souls – this solidly made action adventure title definitely didn’t disappoint. This was especially true for the first boss, which was tough and incredibly satisfying to beat, when I finally managed to do so.
Lastly, I had a mosey through the wonderful and kitschy Leftfield Collection near the entrance. If you’re at EGX this weekend, I would thoroughly recommend giving some of these titles a try as they’re some of the most unique and interesting experiences in the whole event. Two that really resonated with me personally were Birds of Passage and The Things We Lost In The Flood.
Both had simple premises, but dealt with this in such a way that I was completely pulled in. Birds of Passage, for instance, involved your character giving his story to the driver of a taxi, a story that slowly unravels as the journey goes on, based on your answers to questions. I left the game dumbstruck in the best possible way. The narrative felt weighty despite the game being simple.
With the lasting impression left on me by the last two games, I called time on the second day at EGX, mostly because it closed, but that isn’t the point. My main takeaways from today was that deckchairs make for terrible gaming chairs, and I have no self control when it comes to pretty sets of dice. One more day remains for my time at EGX 2019, and it’s going to be a busy one.
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