We casually made our way up to Birmingham on the Thursday for the first day of EGX. When we eventually arrived at around midday we took a little wander around just to get our bearings on where everything was. We walked through the Playstation area and noticed that the queue for Star Wars: Battlefront co-op mission was pretty short, immediately we got in it not wanting to miss the opportunity.
Star Wars Battlefront
The demo we got to play was a co-op mission where you have to fight off waves of enemies on Tatooine. As you progress through the waves the enemies will get more and more difficult to beat.
Firstly you can’t help but notice how good the game looks, it has nailed the Star Wars feel and looks amazing. I would love to comment on the sounds of the game too, but my headset wasn’t working so I didn’t actually hear anything for the whole game.
Both character had access to a blaster, a shield bubble which would surround you and protect you from incoming fire for a short while and a heavy weapon – good for taking on ATST’s. You also have a jetpack which allows you to jump a fair distance for a short while, which is good for helping you quickly get out of sticky situations or just jumping up to some higher ground.
I didn’t find the gameplay all that challenging and was able to survive all six waves without a death – the same couldn’t be said for Murr, I basically carried him with my superior skills. The controls also felt nice and responsive and were easy to pick up.
Essentially, my time with Battlefront made me want to play it a lot more, and got me pretty excited for the beta coming on the 8th.
Moving on from Battlefront we carried on wandering around the hall scoping out the areas taking mental notes of where to rush over the next few days. We went through to the 18+ section and went to The Division queue. It didn’t look long and we thought we were in for a spot of good luck. We would be wrong however when one of the Ubisoft staff told us we had a 3 hour wait from where we were. “Yeah we’ll come back for this one tomorrow morning then” We decided.
Homefront The Revolution
So while in the 18+ area we noticed that the queue for Homefront: The Revolution wasn’t that long. So we waited there. What didn’t appear a long queue turned out to be a heck of a long wait. And to be honest it wasn’t really worth that wait.
The objective of the demo was to capture points on the map… I think. I enjoyed the first Homefront title back on Xbox360. But this just felt like another generic FPS. There was nothing to grab your attention, no stand out features. Just kill enemies and apparently get to objectives. I know this could describe Call of Duty or Battlefield but they are at least decent looking and offer different gadgets and more fun to accomplish the end goal. This was really quite dire. I wasn’t intending to get the game from launch as a new title. But after this demo, it’s now been scrubbed off the list completely. Never mind, that’s the point of EGX, to get a feel of games you”ll be parting you money for.
I didn’t hate it quite as much as Murr did, but I also didn’t love it. For me the controls felt really clunky, I struggled with climbing over objects and the movement in general just felt sluggish and pretty none responsive – something that they can definitely improve before its released.
I liked the customisation for the weapons, it was quick to do, and all done in game. I can imagine there will be a lot of options for this when the full game is out. But really I felt that, that was the only real highlight of it.
After this the “Big titles” had incredibly massive queues. So we just decided to wander around more until we found manageable queues. We headed onto the Nintendo area. One game I was curious to play was Star Fox Zero. I enjoyed previous Star Fox titles, even Adventures and Assault on GameCube so was keen to try Zero. The queue for this was small enough. What we didn’t factor was how long the demo lasted. We ended up queuing longer for this than for Battlefront.
Star Fox Zero – Murrs Thoughts
Well this was weird to play. It took a while to pick up but I did enjoy it. Will could comment that I didn’t play it very well at all. You need to keep an eye on the TV to track where your Arwing is flying, but also need to pay close attention to the WiiU Game pad to aim at enemies. It was an odd combination to grasp straight away. I was focusing too much on the TV to ensure the Arwing was flying right at first, which resulted in me not taking any enemies out. I then found I was paying too much attention at aiming at ground enemies with the game pad and found my Arwing flying into buildings. However it kind of clicked near the end of the demo. Unfortunately though I did end up getting shot out of the sky. At that point I called it a day on Star Fox Zero.
Visually it’s not up to the WiiU’s standards. When you think how gorgeous games like Pikmin 3, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and Mario Kart 8 look on WiiU, Star Fox lags behind massively. This could be one of the reasons as to the delay to 2016. The good news is that there isn’t any interference or lag between the TV action and the game pad action. It’s all pretty smooth and if you can adjust to the dual screen play quickly, it looks to run fine.
Esdevium Board Games – Murrs Thoughts
Before EGX we were contacted by staff from board game company Esdevium. They were going to be at EGX and wanted us to swing by, meetup and try some board games. So as we only had a half day on Thursday we spent the remaining few hours after Star Fox Zero at the Esdevium Board Games area.
First up we played a quick round of Dobble. This was the first time I’d played this. It’s nice and simple, your given a card with loads of different small pictures on it. Things like ice cubes, spiders, arrows and such. In the middle of the table is a pile of cards face up. You simply have to pay attention to that pile of cards and shout if you see a picture on the face up card that you have on your card. So like snap. You then take that card revealing the next card covered in pictures and again shout if you see anything that matches the card you just picked up (if you won the last round) or matches the card you originally had. It’s a very quick game to play but was pretty entertaining. Especially when you don’t know the correct name of one of the pictures. I believe I shouted out “Canadian Flag Maple Leaf” when I think I could have got away with just… Leaf.
Next up we played another shorter game called Mascarade. This game we all had one card with a character on it ranging from king, bishop, queen, thief, judge etc. Each character has an ability which you can use. The catch, you can only use it if you’re confident that the card you possess is the character power you want to use. Each turn you can shuffle your cards with one other person. You can keep your card without the other player knowing but for all they know you’ve shuffled and swapped them. This is how you lose track of who’s who and what power you can use.
If I were to start as king and swap with Will, I’d keep my King card and on my next go declare my ability. Will may think that he’s the king due to my “swapping” the previous round and challenge me declaring he’s the king. We then reveal our cards. If i’m king i’d collect gold from him for challenging me. But as the rounds continue with players swapping often you can never tell who will shuffle honestly or not. We ended up playing 2 rounds of Mascarade. Of the games we played this was my least favourite. But it’s not a bad game, it was still fun. But I think due to the lack of time we had with it and only really picking the rules up properly towards the end of the 2nd game that’s why it didn’t grab me straight off.
Mascarade Picture from: https://boardsandbees.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/0286/
And to see day one of EGX out we played a longer game called Sheriff of Nottingham. This was another game about bluffing and mistrust. Each player took a turn playing as the Sheriff. The other players would try to get goods into Nottingham. Players can smuggle in contraband items that sell for more at the market but need to get them in past the sheriff. The player will declare to the sheriff that they have “3 apples” in their item pouch. It’s up to the sheriff to believe them or question them. The player can bribe the sheriff if there is contraband in there. Of course this is where the double bluff can come in and the player may indeed be smuggling naughty items, but choose to not back down or pay a bride. This is when the sheriff normally backs down as if he checks a loot sack and the player is indeed honest, the sheriff pays out to the player for his troubles.
You play 3 rounds with each player being the sheriff 3 times. This game was hilarious. We’d just met these guys from Esdevium but during this game it was as if we’d known them for ages. There was a lot of fun exchanges had when trying to persuade someone you were telling the truth. It’s also a game that could incorporate alcohol very easily and make the game even more funny. I really enjoyed this game, and genuinely enjoyed the afternoon at Esdevium’s game area. I won this game by being completely honest and somehow making the correct choices when I was sheriff and getting large bribes from Will and the Esdevium team we played with. A really enjoyable experience and a game I’d recommend for casual play and lets get drunk play!
And with that, our first day at EGX was over. We then had drama getting a taxi back to the hotel. Once back we set up our room to be a nerd hub, Got some food then headed back to the room for Destiny, Witcher, Metal Gear Solid V and GTAV.
– Murr & Will