Another year and another EGX come and gone. For those of us in the UK this is often the only videogame expo we can ever get to and it's great to have such a large and exciting show on our doorstep. Despite not having anything new released here, or anything not already seen at E3, Gamescom or the Tokyo Games Show, it's still a great opportunity to play lots of upcoming games (as well as a few that are only recently released) or try out new tech. I attended two days of the event this year and got to play roughly twenty games, presented below are the top five that made the most impact on me, with a couple of caveats. Firstly, I've excluded anything that I saw but didn't actually play, so as impressive as Deus Ex: Mankind Divided looked, it didn't make this list. Also my preferences tended to draw me towards the Nintendo stand and indie game sections; I just don't have any interest in shooters like CoD, Battlefront, Tom Clancy, etc. Anyhoo, here are the five best @ show for EGX 2015.
Those of you that know me, or have followed my blog for a while, will know that I'm a *massive* Zelda fan, so this game might seem like a no-brainer entry into this list. But, seriously I didn't have much interest at all in Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes, as I was dubious about the multiplayer gameplay and Link Between Worlds (which it shares the engine with) has probably been my least loved Zelda ever. So, I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed buddying up with two complete strangers and playing through a couple of temples. The gameplay on this seems *solid* and the engine works really well here; it just seemed like a really fun game that I'm now very interested in picking up. For sheer enjoyment this game is probably the most pleasurable experience that I had all show.
Eitr is one of the games I was *most* looking forward to trying out when I saw it was playable at EGX. It's a kind of 16-Bit mix of Dark Souls, which I'm a huge fan of, and Diablo that simply oozes atmosphere and challenging gameplay. The way that it controls, with dodges, heavy and light attacks, blocking and parries, etc. is very reminiscent of From Software's games, and the art style evokes the dingy dungeon crawl of a 'Souls title. It was great to chat for a while with the dev team (just two guys) about their inspiration and the design process that has gone into Eitr thus far. I smack-talked about how I was going to be one of the few people to beat the demo boss before the guys left to go take a break... and I was annihilated. I *loved* playing this and I'm really looking forward to it release on PS4.
I know I know, this game is already out, what was I doing playing it at EGX? Well, I don't actually own Shovel Knight yet, and had never even played it before the show, but with the physical release at the end of October looming, I was interested in trying it on 3DS to see if that would be a good format to get it on. Firstly, I thought the game itself was awesome, this was another title that I had only a passing interest in really, and which completely changed my mind after playing it - to the point that I now have it preordered! Secondly, I have been thinking about getting it on the WiiU mostly for the co-op mode unlocked with Amiibo (which I also saw at she show and it looked *great*) but wanted to see if the 3D added anything - it does! In my opinion the graphical art style is a perfect fit for the screen resolution of 3DS, and the scrolling backgrounds look great with the depth slider cranked up. Anyhoo, I was really impressed with Shovel Knight, much more than I thought.
A game that I was already looking forward to, and have already preordered, was Xenoblade Chronicles X on the WiiU. This is the last remaining potential GOTY left this year for me, and the demo I played at EGX did nothing to change that. The first thing that really struck me was just how good it looked, especially considering it's platform, and not only that but it ran *very* smoothly too - I think it might have been some fancy display setup but it looked 60fps (I find this hard to believe and assume it was just a very solid 30fps with some smoothing applied from the monitor). It played excellently too, with an intuitive battle system, and easy to navigate menus - it was just a lot of fun running about in the vast open world collecting things and fighting animals. When the Nintendo-rep called "time up" on my demo I decided to fight a *massive* level 45 creature and was promptly smushed. Good stuff.
Again another game that is actually already out and available in shops, but one that I've never played! My wife has played Tearaway on the Vita and has always recommended that I play it, because she knows I'll love it, and she was right. However, what impressed me most about Tearaway Unfolded is the way that Media Molecule have redesigned it for the PS4. I'm aware, from watching my wife play through parts of the game and listening to her talk about the features of the game, just how much the original relied on the design of the Vita and how much that hardware was integral to the design of the game. Well, the PS4 version, which is not quite as unique, has a similar feel in that it uses motion control, the touch-sensitive pad, even the light bar on top of the Dualshock 4!! I especially enjoyed being asked to design a new type of snowflake, cheekily drawing and crude cock and balls, and then watching phallic snow rain down on the world. Priceless. Oh, and there's a companion app to use smartphones or tablets for touchscreen designing bits, or the camera for taking pictures... hell, you can even still use the Vita via second-screen remote play if you have one knocking about.