EGX 2015 Impressions – Day 1

EGX 2015 has now come and gone, but our impressions live on! EGX had a lot of games to offer, but I didn’t get to play many myself, truth be told. Some of it came down to long queues. A lot of it came down to the present “fad” genre not being for me. That said, lordwelshi did try quite a few as I spectated, so I was able to get an idea from them.

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Day 1 – Thursday the 24th

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(Warhammer: End Times) Vermintide

lordwelshi played this one, as he’s been watching it for ages now. A four-person co-op game based in Warhammer Fantasy, it centres on a group of heroes fighting against the Skaven (were-rat men people things). A couple members of the dev studio, Fat Shark, were there from Sweden. From what I could see, the squad-like gameplay works well in this fantasy FPS. lordwelshi remarked that his blows with an axe felt like they had impact, a slight recoil and heft to them. I may give this a try myself, as they were also giving out beta keys.

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Elite Dangerous

We both played this on the PC, with flight joysticks and throttle! This was late in the day, which turned out to be a bad thing. Everyone who played was entered into a raffle, but the winners were entered into a separate raffle for an Xbox One. Unfortunately, it appears that by the end of the day, some people had played the game multiple times, becoming quite good at it, and thus some players were winning – a lot. This meant new players had no chance of entering the winners raffle, because they had no chance of winning. There was a mention that they would look at something to counter this for future with the demo raffles. That all aside, the flight stick controls were cool – I just didn’t have the chance to adjust to them and get my bearings while the more learned players killed my almost-stationary self.

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The Living Dungeon

This is an indie game, also in the Rezzed section like Vermintide. Because of that, I’d hate to say anything bad – I will just say that it wasn’t my type of game in the end. It is pitched as being like a board game with puzzles, where you are pieces on the board, there are dice to roll and a grid to move about / fight on. To me however, it’s the other way around – it’s a puzzle game on a board-like plane. This makes a difference, as the pacing of it as a “board game” is too slow for me. As a puzzle game, however, it seems a bit fairer. Unfortunately, that pacing wasn’t doing it for me – I’m just too impatient sometimes and I can; get a handle on it.

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Soul Axiom

You’ll have to ask lordwelshi about this title. He played it in the Nindies area (Nintendo Indies), and I was too distracted by the Nintendo stage with a Splatoon match going on nearby to see what the hell it was about. It was a long demo though, I’ll give them that! It’s by Wales Interactive, so you know we had to stop there…

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Lovely Planet

Another Nindie game, we both gave this a shot and were terrible at it. This game is deceptive in that it is all simple shapes and a “kawaii” colour palette. Don’t be fooled – it’s an FPS. Armed with some sort of gun-arrow-thing, your goal is to reach a specific spot on the map, all whilst shooting red stuff – enemies, bombs, environmental blobs, etc. Get hit once by the red’s attacks (which are purple) and you start back at the beginning of the level. This is deceptively hard, because it’s cuteness makes it look like it should be easy. The game is still in beta, and I did mention my biggest challenge to the rep there was that there was no reticle – I couldn’t see where I was actually aiming. He did seem to acknowledge this gripe and said hopefully further development releases will see that come forward, which is nice to hear.

 

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Super Mario Maker

There are enough YouTube videos out about this one by now. And this is in no way a cop-out to avoid talking about how lordwelshi gave up at Level 3.

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Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

Right. Okay. Time to get this one out: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was the biggest disappointment of the show for me so far. Just for some background – I haven’t played Asassin’s Creed since the first one, and I didn’t play much of that. This was because I felt Altair was a dickbag – I didn’t want to be a dickbag for an entire game, so I stopped. That was all character-motivated. So I thought Syndicate, with its Victorian London setting, might give me something enjoy. So keep in mind that I am essentially an AC “newb”, particularly on the new generation of consoles.

Picking up the PS4 version of Syndicate, the controls make no logical sense to me. For the demo, your character arrives by boat to the little docks along the canal in London. It is already an issue – for new players, it’s not obvious how to get off the damn boat. A rep had to tell me how to do it, which involved holding R2 to go into a run, and then X to do an “Up”-type run motion – again, a leap. Okay, what? Again, this may just be because I’m not used to the controls, and they are completely different to every other game with environmental access that I’ve tried before. I’m sure the full game will ease you in, but this was a jarring start for a demo.

Getting past that, the controls just felt clunky and inconsistent. After a specific point, you are able to rope launch – shooting a bolt of rope to attach on a piece of architecture and use this to climb across. Even from the start, this was hard to predict. For one thing, if you faced your character in one direction, but the “launch-spot-finder” hadn’t fixed on a point in front of you, it would stay on the last spot or closest spot it found and use that – this was usually behind me, so I’d end up launching straight above me and not to the next building.

The second major problem for me was that when I was detected by guards, my ability to rope launch seemed to disappear! Surely, when I am spotted, that is the time I wish to Spidey-web it out of there! There was no explanation on screen – no “You cannot rope launch at this time” or “You’ve been spotted! You can’t rope launch!” – just…nothing. No response – just pointless, empty button mashing.

I also found it interesting that as an assassin, I was shit at fighting a group. I mean, horrible. In the demo, you play as Evie Frye, sister to Jacob Frye. When I came across an enemy, she did well against one. But against more than say, two, she had almost nothing effective for a group. Now, I’m not saying she should have an AoE magic missile hidden in her pocket for just such an occasion – I realise it’s a stealth game and you’re not really mean to be taking on groups. But, really, NOTHING? Not a smoke bomb for a quick get away? Not some caltrops to stop a group from chasing you? No – just a pistol, a throwing knife, and a poison dart. That will help against the 10 guards tailing me because I can’t rope launch myself away for some effing reason.

I wanted to like it – I really did. The setting is right up my alley, I just got a PS4, and the visuals themselves do look good. But the controls just don’t make sense to me, and neither do the inconsistent aspects of gameplay. So I will be giving this one a pass when it comes out. Maybe when it’s in the sale bin?

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Playstation VR

Well, now that I’ve torn apart Syndicate, let’s move onto something unexpectedly pleasant! We tried to sign up for the VR experience at Sony, but alas, all spots were taken. That didn’t stop us from mithering the desk staff anyway! They were kind enough to take our name and number, and would text us if anything became available. This could be either a specific time spot opening or a “run your butt over here right now” situation. Sure enough, while standing in the queue for the Total War: Warhammer developer session… Needless to say, we bailed and booked it to the VR stall.

My main concern with VR units has always been my glasses. I have a fairly strong prescription, to the point an optometry student asked if she could include my stats as a case study for her class. This is from a few things, but a large part is that I not only have astigmatism, but my eyes have two different levels of it, which leads to two different prescriptions in each eye. So, my big fear with things like Oculus Rift and Playstation VR was that I just wouldn’t be able to use it.

While I can’t speak with the Oculus Rift, the Playstation VR fit very well! The technician placed the device on for me, and gave me instructions on how to adjust the screen’s distance from my face until it was in focus. My sweet spot was just shy of the furthest point, but not quite there – which was a huge relief to me!

I got to try EVE: Valkyrie on my VR experience, but I know that The London Heist was also being demoed (lordwelshi played that one). My experience did include some slight lightheadedness, but this was my own fault. For some reason, I thought using boost and doing backwards barrel rolls in a full 360 space was a good idea. Just…avoid doing that in VR. Outside of those moments, however, I felt fine and really enjoyed the experience. It’s definitely put my mind at ease for some of my anxieties for VR and I’m sure we’ll get one at some point, now that we have the PS4 to play it. I’m really looking forward to what other experiences become available in VR for the future.

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Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes

lordwelshi played this one. For the demo setups, they had three 3DS’s together in groups, and the three people on those handhelds were playing together in the same game. lordwelshi did not realise this at first, and kept picking people up and then throwing them over the edge. The game is very co-op – I mean, almost totally. You really have to be in sync and communication somehow with you teammates to get anywhere. This sounds great if you have friends you enjoy playing with, but I’m not sure what this means for solo or distanced players. The co-op is fueled not just by enemy encounters, but puzzles – lots of puzzles. The whole thing is mostly a trust exercise in problem-solving as a unit. As I didn’t play this, and was also distracted by the Nintendo stage (this time, it was Smash Bros!), I don’t have much to add on this. If I had a 3DS, I dont know if I’d play this one, but that’s only because it’s not my sort of thing. As a game, it looks polished, has that old Wind Waker / Minnish Cap feel to it, and the collective we were with seemed to enjoy themselves.

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Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection

lordwelshi was really looking forward to this. Uncharted is one of his favourite series. Couple that with the new PS4, and we knew we had to see this one. I have to say that I have not played the original Uncharted games. I didn’t have a PS3 when they first came out, and by the time I did, they were old. That said, I do know how they looked, and I can say the Nathan Drake Collection for PS4 is a huge visual upgrade. I mean, WOW. It would be hard to tell that it wasn’t designed at such high detail in the first place. The environment and character models look fantastic, and the action was nice and smooth. If you have a PS4 and like Uncharted, you should get it – it’s just too damn pretty not to lick play it again.

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Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woes and the Blight Below

(Phew, what a title!)

First off, Square Enix put a wall of bubble wrap next to their play area for people who are waiting to stay entertained. That’s just brownie points from the get-go. The demo had two missions available. One was smaller and completable in a reasonable amount of time. The other was more in-depth, so it had a 10-minute limit on it. I played the shorter level, which involved clearing the field of all enemies. This started as lowly slimes, moving its way up to defensive knights, and up to a golem boss fight. The controls were pretty simple – you could use two buttons to attack and trigger combos, or you could hold one of the trigger buttons to bring up an attack menu to manually select the special combo attack you wanted to do. The game’s aesthetics keep in style with the existing anime-esque feel from prevous games, but there is no doubt that this feels HD. The designs are simple, but the models are still smooth and well-textured. It keeps it’s cartoon-ish feel while also feeling detailed. The gameplay itself was also smooth. While I would have liked if the camera were a little further back for better camera swing, I never felt like the gameplay was lagging or clunky. This may just be me from my experience with other games, bu a sprint option would have been a nice cherry on top.

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Xenoblade Chronicles X

I don’t even want to comment on this one yet because we got to see so little of it. We were at it two minutes – literally. As such, I will say that the environment and enemies are EFFING HUUUUGE. I mean WOW. I also think that it will serve as a good example of how the WiiU IS next-gen, even if Nintendo has given up on that. The graphics are just phenomenal, breath-taking even.

 

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Total War: Warhammer

This one is lordwelshi’s bag again. While being a Warhammer fan, he is also a big Total War fan. Oh god, love child: make! From what I could follow, he seemed to enjoy himself… I’m sorry, I don’t enjoy RTS, and he was doing commands very quickly, so I have no idea what was going on. I zoned out. He did win on Hard mode, however, which meant free t-shirt, whoo!

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