Advertisements

EGX 2015: What We Played — Part 1

EGX may have relocated from Earl’s Court to the behemoth NEC in Birmingham, but that doesn’t mean that the party has stopped. In fact, this year’s EGX was bigger and better than ever, sprawled out across a massive show floor with a stellar showing from just about every corner of the gaming world, large and small.

With so much to play and only four days to go it – and with the last day spent sitting in Caffe Nero for nine hours at the airport, it was tough to squeeze in everything we wanted to get our mitts on. With that being said, we still got to check out some stellar slices of gaming goodness. Here’s a brief rundown of what we played, and whether you should be adding them to your Amazon wish list in the vain hope that your grandma has finally figured technology out and might buy you something other than shortbread for Christmas.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Xbox 360 & Xbox One (November 10th), Windows (Q1 2016), PlayStation 4 (Q4 2016)

The next foray into the rebooted Tomb Raider franchise, taking place several years after the events of Tomb Raider, we see Lara Croft as slightly more seasoned in the art of raiding tombs, avoiding horrible death, and slaughtering hordes of foes.

The demo we played took us through a flooded temple environment, with only minimal combat coming at the end of the sequence. The same fantastically frenetic game play remains, with a mix of logic puzzles and twitch reflexes needed to make it through. The focus of the demo suggests a renewed focus on the titular tomb raiding, which was more of a series of side quests in the first game. The villains seem to be a bunch of armored goons called Trinity with a generic handsome type as their leader. They look very cannon fodderish and prove to be so.

A brief encounter between their leader and Lara reveal they’re both hunting for an artifact that someone else has already pinched from under their noses, which proves that there may be a little more of the archaeological intrigue present in the first title. From our brief hands on, it looks like more of the same, which is no bad thing at all.

Knee Deep Act 2

PC/Steam (November 2015)

We loved the first Act of Knee Deep, titled Wonderland, and we caught up with head of Prologue Games Colin Dwan, to chat about Act 2 and get a little hands on time. It’s clear that the feedback from Act 1 has been taken on board, and the team are frantically beavering away to really make Act 2 shine, and it shows.

The biggest change is the addition of voice acting and improved facial emotions, really bringing the game to life. Act 1 had a fantastically low-fi feel, calling back the silent story driven and adventure titles of old. While we felt the absence of voice acting was part of the charm, it’s clear that it really adds to the experience. Interestingly as well, when Act 2 is released, voice acting will be retro-actively added for Act 1 as well, effectively giving you an excuse to play through it all over again – as if you needed that.

Alienation

PS4 (TBD)

A spiritual successor to Deadnation, Housemarque are a studio that can seemingly do no wrong on PS4. With Deadnation, Resogun and Super Stardust Ultra, they’ve released a slew of games that reward twitch reflexes, muscle memory and pure skill.

Alienation is the most polished of their titles yet, with top-notch graphics, gorgeous, vibrant neon colours, and out of this world sound. It places you on a vaguely futuristic earth that has been over run by alien beasties. The release date is still TBD but to us, the title seemed polished and good to go — at least the slice we saw. Playing on co-op, the game is a compulsive and challenging twitch shooter where reflexes, reloading, and keeping your distance are key.

With some RPG-lite mechanics thrown in the form of loot, leveling up and skills, it looks like another fantastic couch co-op experience that irons out all of the minor kinks from Deadnation. Colour us excited.

Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Heroes You Know

PS3/PS4 (Out now in Japan, October 2015 on PS4 for N.A/Europe)

Dragon Quest games have always had dumb titles, that’s nothing new, and while this game has been out since February in the land of the rising sun, it’s just now coming to PS4 elsewhere. It’s essentially Dragon Quest mixed with Dynasty Warriors, in the same way that Hyrule Warriors, the Wii U title based within the Legend of Zelda universe was.

This genre has always been huge in Japan but generally ends up with middling to negative reviews, but Heroes has been well received across the pond and sold over a million copies. It’s not hard to see why. The graphics are bright and immediately pleasing, the combat is simple to master, colorful and visceral, and free of any overt blood or violence. Leveling up unlocks new skills and abilities, you can switch between your characters at will in the heat of battle, and enemies drop loot and items which will go towards upgrading your gear.

The environments are open and sprawling, with hordes of classic Dragon Quest enemies and screen filling bosses being the order of the day. It’s dumb, hack n’ slack fun, and you’ll likely already know by the end of this snippet if it’s your cup of tea. We’re looking forward to checking out more.

Dead Pixels II: Straight to Video

Windows/Mac/Linux (Late 2015)

Streets of Rage meets The Walking Dead, you mete out violent justice against the zombie menace with a slew of weapons in a synth loaded homage to the B-Movie heaven of the 80’s. Dead Pixels II had an eighties themed stand with VHS tape skins on the console and on the game boxes, and this is what grabbed our attention. The excellent and tense game play held it.

Another fantastic co-op title, bullets are scarce, zombies are deadly, and the graphics call back to the days of the SNES and the Sega Master System. There are RPG elements in the leveling up of your character and buying new weapons and items, but for the most part, it’s retro all the way, with death coming thick and fast and the difficulty giving you a palpable fear of the shambling, eighties reject zombies. Yet another game to show us that the couch co-op scene remains alive in well with our indie developers.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III

PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC (November 6, 2015)

The big kahuna. Surprisingly this wasn’t the biggest game at EGX by quite some distance, actually. The only reason we joined the queue was because the line was much shorter than we thought it’d would be. That turned out to be a lie, but an hour later, we got hands on.

Naturally, it was a multiplayer demo, because who cares about the single player? Having been alienated from Call of Duty since shortly after Modern Warfare 2, this writer has only dipped his toes into each iteration of the franchise since. However, newsflash, Black Ops III is excellent. From our brief hands on time, it looks gorgeous, runs smooth as butter, and is as frenetic, and kinetic as ever. The super suits remain from Advanced Warfare but now we’re more into the territory of cyborgs and robot/human hybrids rather than regular Joes in fancy army. There are kill streaks and futuristic tech, and there are a few nods to Destiny, as well.

On top of your streaks, you have a special ability or weapon that charges up over time, and charges faster when you bag kills. Our special weapon was Tempest, and it effectively fires lightning bolts. It takes a moment to charge, but the electric can arc between foes, allowing multiple kills in one go. It was very fun and very beefy, and overall, Black Ops III will be manna from heaven for returning fans but if you’ve never understood the appeal, you’re not about to now.

___________________________

That concludes the first part of our EGX 2015 run down. Watch this space for part 2, where we’ll go through the rest of the stellar titles we checked out, including Need For Speed, The Division, Just Cause 3 and Star Wars Battlefront.

Cover image via

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Video Games

Stay Connected

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. EGX 2015: What We Played — Part 2 | Another Castle - 10/05/2015

    […] If you’re here without reading part one, then you might want to go read that. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: