EGX is a convention that happens every September here in the UK. Thousands of gamers flood the NEC in Birmingham to play a mixture of AAA and indie games, and I was lucky enough to be one of those people. I was there with Games Bulletin and we played our fair share of games while there. Below I’ve put my first impressions of the games I played.
Detroit: Become Human
Detroit: Become Human is a game from the studio that brought us Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls, and it shows. The game has that extremely realistic look to it, as we have come to expect from Quantic Dream. The game also plays similar to the studio’s previous titles. You walk around an environment, in this demo it was an apartment, looking for things to interact with.
In the demo I played as Connor, an android tasked with tracking down and stopping defective androids. An android had become defective and, after murdering the father of the family he served, had taken the daughter hostage. As Connor you had to explore the apartment and gain information on what had happened prior to the hostage situation. When you went onto the balcony to try and calm the android, you were prompted with a choice of options of what to say. You then pressed one of the four buttons (triangle, square, circle or cross) and the conversation evolved. Depending on what you said, the android would either trust you more or distrust you. Then as the situation came to an end, you got one of several endings depending on how far you had progressed in calming the situation. Me and Dan both got very different endings (no spoilers), but there was one thing we both agreed on. This game was our game of the show, and one that fans of Heavy Rain and the like should keep an eye on.
Detroit: Become Human will release in 2018 for PS4.
Dragon Ball Fighter Z
Dragon Ball Fighter Z is a game I had been somewhat interested in since it was announced. As a fan of fighting games and Dragon Ball Z, I tried to get along with Xenoverse but I just couldn’t. I didn’t like the whole 3D movement in the game, and had hoped that Fighter Z would be a fighter game I would enjoy. I’m glad to say I did.
The game has a similar art-style to Marvel vs Capcom; bright, vibrant and colourful. It was fairly easy to pick up and enjoy. There seems to be somewhat of a learning as with fighting games, learning combos etc. There’s honestly not much to say than that. Fans of Dragon Bal Z will love the game. As for anyone else I suggest trying before you buy.
Dragon Ball Fighter Z will be coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC in February 2018.
Far Cry 5
I tried to like the Far Cry series. I couldn’t get along with 2, but really enjoyed 3. I never bought 4 as it seemed like a copy and paste to me, but I’ve had people tell me that I missed out on an enjoyable game. I tried Far Cry 5 thinking that it would be more of the same, and it is. For fans of the franchise that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but as someone trying to get back into the franchise it wasn’t the best of things.
The game centers around Far Cry’s usual theme; an evil group (in this case a murderous cult) needs to be taken down and it’s the player’s job to do so. In the demo I liberated an outpost, traveled to someone else who had another mission for me. I then jumped in a plane, blew up some silos that slowed down the evil cult’s operation. Then the cult sent up a plane to take me down, and I ended up in a dogfight with the plane. While that was fun, I couldn’t help but feel that the 20 minutes I had with the game at EGX allowed me to see everything the game had to offer. I hope I am mistaken, but first impressions haven’t impressed me. More of the usual for Far Cry 5. If you enjoy that, you’ll enjoy the latest installment.
Far Cry 5 will be coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC on 27th February 2018.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood (MCoB) is an adventure-platformer game that released on Xbox 360 and Xbox One back in 2013. Now thanks to publisher Wired Productions and developer Flashbulb Games it is making its way to PS4. MCoB sees Max wishing that his brother would disappear forever, and so repeats a spell hoping his brother will disappear. A few seconds later a portal appears, a creature’s arm comes through the portal and drags Max’s brother into it. Max jumps into the portal after his brother (hence The Curse of Brotherhood) and attempts to bring his brother back to their world.
Now the bulk of the gameplay revolves around using a magic marker that Max is given to interact with the environment. The marker allows Max to interact with columns and the like, making them grow or erasing them to help him along his journey. The game looks nice, and the platforming in the game is fun. Those like me who have never played the game should check this one out. Those who have previously played the game need not pick this one up, nothing new here.
MCoB will release on PS4 later this year.
My Last Son
My Last Son was in early development, and the demo was fairly simple; it simply involved running away from an evil looking spirit. Speaking to the game’s designer Sam, he explained that the game is meant to explore the five stages of grief. If I’m being honest this wasn’t expressed in the demo, and there wasn’t much gameplay to it other than running and pushing a block. I’ll be keeping an eye on this game as I’m interested to see how the game explores the five stages of grief, but it seems only time will tell.
My Last Son currently has no release date.
Phantom Halls is an interesting little game. It has a very 80s horror B movie vibe to it. The idea of the game is simple. You play as one of several characters, each of whom has their own objective in the house. I played as the Metalhead whose aim was to explore the house and find fuel for my van which broke down on the way to my band’s gig. The game has blocky art style, similar to Paint The Town Red. As you adventure through the house you find additional weapons which you can use to kill the enemies that are scattered around the house. The gameplay is fairly simple but the game has a really lovable charm to it. It won’t be a game for everyone. For £7.50 on Steam it’s definitely worth at least trying. If it isn’t for you, you can at least refund it but do give it a try.
Phantom Halls is available on PC now.
Rogue Trooper Redux
Time for a remaster. Rogue Trooper originally released on the Xbox and PS2 back in 2006, and Redux is a remaster of the game. Developed by Rebellion, the game should be one for fans of the 2000 AD series of the same name. However I cannot personally say I was a fan of the game. The game looks okay, but compared to the high quality graphics gamers experience today the remaster doesn’t really compare. During my time with the game I also experienced some major audio issues such as the audio cutting during cutscenes. This was something that Dan also experienced despite playing the game on a different station to me.
The gameplay is fairly simple. Shoot enemies and stop the waves of invading enemies. During the game some of Rogue’s companions die. Rogue removes their biochips and inserts them into the relevant part of his equipment. In my time I discovered Gunnar (which was attached to Rogue’s gun) and Bagman (which was attached to Rogue’s bag). Both of these companions help Rogue in some way, such as Gunnar who occasionally auto-aims for Rogue. I personally didn’t enjoy the game. I am not a fan of the Rogue Trooper series and never played the original. I feel like I would’ve enjoyed the game had it not been for the audio issues, but hopefully these will be fixed before launch.
Rogue Trooper Redux is set to launch on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch on 17th October.
The runner-up in my personal favourite game of EGX, and a close runner-up at that. Switchblade is a MOBA-like game, in which 2 teams of five fight it out to destroy the enemy teams towers. Each player chooses 2 tanks from the four available classes (Assault, Scout, Artillery and Tank) and sets about destroying the opponents. When you die you can choose pickups and abilities for your vehicle, such as boosting damage or increasing your shields. What really set Switchblade apart was its ability to let you switch vehicles on the fly.
When playing in your vehicle, pressing space allows you to send for a dropship. It takes a few seconds to get there, but once it arrives it allows you to switch to your other vehicle. There is of course a cooldown period so this can’t be spammed repeatedly. What’s also interesting is that the dropship can be shot down by your opponent meaning that you don’t switch vehicles. This adds a kind of strategy element, where working with teammates to have them provide support while you switch may be a viable tactic. It’s a game that’s simple in idea, execution and very easy to play; but this doesn’t take away from the vast amount of fun the game is to play.
Switchblade is now in beta, and is set to release on PS4 and PC early next year.
The Occupation is very early on, and is one to keep your eyes on. The demo I played was more of a test, to see if everything worked properly and if people enjoyed the experience. I walked around and interacted with the world and learnt little bits about the story here and there. However I didn’t get much from the game. It was only when someone in the game’s team explained the plot to me that it become clear.
The player plays as a journalist who is stuck in the middle of a rather heated topic. The game centres around The Union Act; a controversial act that is set to threaten the rights of citizens. In the full game the player will meet with two individuals (one for the act, and one against) and then must influence the decision based upon what they feel is morally right, thus meaning the player decides the game’s narrative. The best part is that the game takes place in a 4 hour window (in-game), and events happen in real-time meaning that you can choose to do nothing and sit on the fence but things in the game’s narrative will still unfold without the player’s input. I thought this was a cool little feature personally. The game itself looks nice, and the concept seems like a good idea. However this is another one of those “time will tell” games at the minute.
The Occupation is due sometime this year, but no platforms have been announced.
We Go Alone
Another game in early stages of development, but a seemingly good idea. The premise of the game is that the player plays as a necromancer, who enters the minds of the dead to discover how they died. While inside there are puzzles to solve (this was in the form of exploring and discovering gems) which helped the player to understand what happened to the individual. While playing you encounter literal demons in the person’s mind, which had to be disposed of but knocking them into a mirror. The most interesting part of the puzzle solving was the moving platforms that the player had to hit with the necromancer’s whip. Any platform touched by the whip moved, and to complete the stage the player had to arrange 5 select platforms in the correct sequence.
We Go Alone is a game being developed by university students and the gentleman at the station explained that the engine used to create the game had limited them in a number of ways, and had meant that the game wasn’t a true depiction of how they wanted it to be. He explained that they now had access to more powerful engines, and so could begin to create the game the way they wanted to. I will personally be interested to see where this one goes.
We Go Alone currently has no release date.
A strange game, but an interesting one at the same time. The game sees the player take control of one of two characters (player’s choice). I picked gentleman A (his name escapes me), and awoke from cryogenic sleep on a space station. I began exploring and trying to find out why I was awoken and what happened. Suddenly an alarm ran telling me that the energy for the ship was low. Next thing I knew my character was dead, and I was being told I had only experienced 50-something-% of that character’s story.
I turned to look at the developer and ask what happened, only to see him looking at me smiling and chuckling. It turns out Sonder isn’t your typical game. Think of it as Groundhog Day meets Life Is Strange. It was explained to me that it was possible to rewind back (using the pause menu) and continue exploring, or to even explore new parts of the ship. The player can gain complete control over the ship’s energy supply, and cut off energy supply to certain rooms to prolong the finite amount of energy you have. It’s even possible to awaken the other two mystery people from their cryo-chambers and have a conversation with them to understand their side of the story. This game isn’t going to be for everyone. This is for gamers who like a good, interweaving story and lots of exploration.
Sonder is now available on PC.
The Grand Mission
The Grand Mission caught my interest because I saw someone playing it and crashing into many many asteroids in a gigantic ship. I began talking to the marketing rep and she explained a bit about the game. The game is set in a world where one singular empire rules the majority of the universe. The main product of trade is tea, so you can imagine the shock when the planet responsible for the majority of tea growing decides to stop exporting tea. The player plays as the captain of the ship responsible for escorting a member of the Empire’s government to the planet to attempt to reconcile. The man you are taking there was described to me as “Boris Johnson meets Black Adder”, which I can confirm he most certainly is.
The gameplay is fairly simple in theory. You take control of the ship. You place people in a room to perform a task. The more people in the room the more efficiently the task gets completed. Place loads of staff in the main engine room to go fast. You can also press the space button to freeze time and reassign staff. This is handy when heading towards an asteroid as you can freeze time, move staff into one of the side engine rooms so you turn faster and avoid damaging your ship by hitting an asteroid. I personally am not good at these kind of games, mainly as I rarely play them. Yet I still enjoyed the game. Not enough to purchase it myself, but between the gameplay and the witty comedy of the game I enjoyed myself enough to recommend it to fans of games such as FTL: Faster Than Light.
The Grand Mission is due for release on PC, but no date as of yet.
Vostok Inc. is a fun, twin stick shooter game where the goal of the game is simple; get money. All of the money. Or as it’s called in the Moolah. You fly around space destroying asteroids and enemies you find. From there you can then travel to planets and buy things to make you even more money. You can also upgrade your ship. While flying along it is possible to have your big ship destroyed and become a small ship. With this there is no boost, and very limited weaponry. The screen also zooms in, making it harder to see what you’re heading towards and increasing the tension. Returning back to Motherbase will restore your ship back to its former glory, but that can feel like an eternity when being chased by enemies.
When flying around, the screen scrolls with you allowing you to go where you wish. Allowing you to fight or flee, whichever you choose. Yet from time to time the screen will lock and force you into a confrontation with enemies. Once this has happened once it is always in the back of your mind, meaning that when your ship becomes small and vulnerable you find yourself praying for a return to Motherbase without the dreaded lockscreen. However if your ship is not damaged, and is running with full weaponry it is a fun (albeit tense) experience. The screen lock forces you to engage the enemy, and successfully doing so rewards you with more Moolah of course.
The game is fun to play, but from playing the game I got the impression the game was meant to be an on the go game. Something to dip in and out of to pass the time. This was confirmed by the developer, and by the game’s release on PSVita, and it’s soon to be release on the Switch. It is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC as well but I suggest grabbing the game on a handheld if you can.