EGX 2018 has been and gone, this year I attended on the Thursday and Friday, I got to play a fair amount of games, although probably not as many as I would’ve liked.
Ever EGX I’ve attended I’ve always looked in to what games I want to play and this year was no exception. From the AAA line up of games I only really had two that I wanted to play and that was Metro Exodus and The Division 2, for all the other games outside of the Rezzed zone it was just going to be a case of seeing what I could get on.
Of those two I only played Metro because the queue for The Division was constantly around the two hour mark and I’m just not going to wait that long to play a game for 10 minutes, even though it was a game I really wanted to play.
Personally I felt that there was too much room dedicated to games that were already widely available in retail. Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Destiny 2, Spider-man, Fortnite all had very large booths, with Spider-man being the only one that really seemed to generate long queues. Destiny 2 was fairly quiet, and whilst Tomb Raider and Fortnite were constantly full, they didn’t appear to have large queues. I felt like this exacerbated the queue length for games like The Division and Metro – which whilst I got on it in about 30 minutes, was way over an hour the rest of the time I was there.
There was also fairly large e-sports presence and I’m fine with that, but the problem was, was that for the most part it seemed unused. I walked through the area a few times and found it mostly empty. Sure when thing were going on like live matches of Hearthstone etc… it was a bit busier, but it seemed like a bit of waste to have all this space dedicated to e-sports that was only being used intermittently.
On the flip side to that there was a lot more going on in the Table Top sections and it was always bustling and busy – a clear sign, as it were needed, that the board game scene is only getting bigger and bigger. The food on offer also seemed a lot better this time around with quite a few different options available.
But I wasn’t here to sample the local delicacies, I was here to play video games and that I did!
As I mentioned I played Metro, it was one of the first games I played and it was a great experience. Getting to take a quick look at the sandbox style of gameplay and how you can approach encounters in various different ways, be it stealth or all out guns blazing was a lot of fun. The visuals, atmosphere and sound design all seemed excellent and it’s a game that I’m really looking forward to playing fully when it comes out next year. For me, the Metro series is fantastic and if you haven’t played the previous games, I really recommend you do.
I also got some hands on time with Flotsam, a game that I’ve been following for quite some time but have managed to miss at previous EGX shows. It’s a city building game set on the ocean, it looks amazing with a fantastic vibrant colour scheme, it plays well and is looking really promising. I got to briefly chat with one of the developers – I didn’t catch his name, and he was saying that they’re hoping to do some closed alpha/beta testing fairly soon with the idea to release in 2019. I’m not sure whether that testing will be something available to the public, but it might be worth keeping an eye on their social feeds if you’re interested.
Hash Rush is another game I got to play and initially it sounds a bit random, as the game ‘unites the world of Cryptocurrency and real time strategy’ and apparently offers a ‘play to earn’ experience. I’m not entirely sure about that side of the game, it sounds a bit weird, but the actually gameplay seemed pretty fun.
Essentially you start life on a planet in a shared universe – not playing directly together though, and you have to gather resources and build a city of sorts. On your planet there will be monsters you can fight and special loot to find. It kind of reminded me of Populous the Beginning. The main hook is that there is this online economy where players can trade goods, and apparently then earn real money. Honestly that side had some alarm bells ringing, but I’m willing to see how it plays out as the gameplay was enjoyable. There are also plans to include some kind of co-op style ’dungeons’ that players can work through together. I will keep an eye on it for sure!
Dark Pictures: Man of Medan also made a showing with a fairly short demo that actually did really show you too much of the game. It plays very similarly to Supermassive Games previous title Until Dawn. It’s a story driven game and in the section I got to play you’re exploring an old WW2 ship abandoned somewhere in the sea, there is some supernatural thing going on and it was fairly scary with a few jump scares thrown in. But it was a short demo so it was a little tough to get a really good idea of the game although I did enjoy what I got to see.
Ubisoft’s Starlink was up next on the Nintendo Switch. Physically creating your space ship before playing and plugging it in to your controller to see it appear in real time on the screen was a really cool touch. The actual gameplay whilst fairly fun didn’t really do enough to make me want to buy the game. Flying down on the a planet’s surface and hunting down monstrous creates and completing various objectives was pretty fun, but the flying didn’t feel that great to me and basically amounted to a lot of hovering on the spot or having to do long sweeping passes just to kill a couple of small mobs. I also wonder how expensive this game will end up being, the base edition comes with one ship and it costs around £70, extra weapons for ships are available for pre-order at £10 a pop, whilst a new ship is around £25. I don’t know if you can still earn new weapons and ships in game, but if you can’t then it’s going to be a very expensive game to play.
That’s not all the games I played, but it’s the main ones that really stood out for me. There was also a really cool area called Transfuzer which is kind of a talent programme, they had lots of interesting looking projects and games going on, and it was always buzzing with activity. To me this is why I like events like EGX and Rezzed getting to see new and exciting projects from people who are incredibly passionate about games. Getting to meet the people behind these projects sells me on them. Knowing who made them and seeing how passionate they are about these games makes me so much more interested in them.
Speaking of passionate people, I attended the session for Disco Elysium and it was amazing. Hearing the developers speaking about their own game and the dedication they have towards making it incredible is quite astounding. I was already sold on the game back when I played it a Rezzed earlier this year, but this just made me love it even more. They spoke about their influences on making the world the game is set in and how they came up with the incredible complex conversation system where you can interact with different personalities from your sub conscious. If you’re not keeping your eye on this game then you’re missing out. They want to create the greatest RPG of all time and I kind of think they can do it.
Overall I enjoyed EGX, but I did feel like I played a lot less than I normally would, and that’s for a few reasons. Having attended Rezzed earlier in the year, there was a lot of games from that show that I’d already played. Plus the queue lengths for the bigger games just completely put me off. But I still had a lot of fun, and can’t wait to go again.