Thursday was a bit of a weird one, for me. After being exceptionally lucky enough to sneak in and play Final Fantasy VII Remake before the general public, most of the day was spent taking in the entire event, deliberately ignoring the massive queues.
But then I thought, “I’m here to work”, so I knuckled down and made a point to play a lot more. So join me once more, as I do a quick recap of what I played at EGX 2019, the two-day version:
Sniper Elite VR
I’m no stranger to the Sniper Elite series (and even reviewed the remaster recently), but I am still fairly new to VR. I was lucky enough to play it with the Move controllers, combined with the aim peripheral, to give you the feel of holding a rifle. Which, to the game’s credit, works well. It’s a bit finickity to get used to, but pulling the controllers in line with the headset to replicate looking down the scope is a neat feature.
It wasn’t a particularly long demo, and I can’t say it’s going to make me rush out and buy a VR headset, but if you do have one, I’d say give this a go. Pulling headshots off with your actual skill and not an aimed thumbstick is a beautiful art to master.
Pacer is, in essence, WipeOut. Let us not beat around the bush, but for all intents and purposes, it’s a WipeOut clone. Yet, that’s not a criticism.
It’s taken the mold of its predecessor, right down the techno soundtrack and weapons, and created something visually impressive in its place. It’s fast, it’s got the similar air braking aspect that other games utilise, and will be one to watch out for in the futuristic racing circuit.
Journey to the Savage Planet
To say that No Man’s Sky had a slow burn of an eventual success story would be an understatement, but I don’t think many people were expecting similar games to follow so soon in its wake.
Yet, Journey to the Savage Planet seems to be a little charmer that’s riding those coattails. A bit more focused and grounded than NMS (or at least, what we got to play), JttSP has you mount an expedition on, well, a savage planet. Armed with curiosity, a pistol and a few items, you’re sent to investigate and hopefully not die. Aided by a computer that’s channeling her inner GlaDos, the bright and beautiful setting and comical dialogue had Sean and I enjoying what we played. Well, until I went into an area I wasn’t meant to be in and burnt to death. Fun times!
Zombie Army 4
Rebellion have gone to lengths to really prove that this series is more than just a spin-off from the Sniper Elite series. Bounding from strength to strength with each title, as well as the equally brilliant Strange Brigade (that we love at FGHQ), this latest addition is going to continue the wave of zombie carnage.
My only grumble with it being intrinsically tied to the Sniper Elite series, the rifle gameplay and gruesome Xray kills are still present. Now while these are great, trying to play these solo and utilise the sniping element is difficult when you’re being surrounded. It really benefits from more than one player to share that enjoyment and cover the other(s).
Saving the best ’til last, in that it was literally the last game that we played at EGX, is the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers. This was up there alongside FFVII and Doom Eternal as “most desirable game to play” all weekend, and initially I wasn’t sure why. It looked like a run-of-the-mill third person movie/comic tie in.
And then, I played it.
Whilst the available level was a work in progress, acting more as a tutorial to each of the Avenger’s play styles, it handled so well and plays fantastically. Thor was my standout character, playing like modern Kratos from last year’s God of War rebrand, even throwing and retrieving his hammer in a similar manner (with satisfying “clonk” noises). Hulk and Iron Man felt more like checkpoint fillers, and Black Widow’s boss fight at the end was more of a scripted showpiece. Yet Captain America’s combat took me back the early Batman days, feeling very tight and well put together.
The trailer ended with a momentary look at the world they’re going for, the customisation you can apply and the general tone of the game, which has me intrigued to follow this one. There was me ready to write it off as a bad tie in…
And now, for the games I wish I could have played:
This was a ticketed event to a live gameplay presentation behind closed doors, and we were under very strict instructions to take no photos or video. We were also dubious as to how “live” it was, after the Sean Murray fiasco, but this really was. And by jove, how amazing it looks.
I won’t spoil much, but we were shown a new area, and a bit more of Keanu “Mr. Breathtaking” Reeve’s character, Johnny Silverhand. The demo also included two character builds: one a tech-savvy Netrunner, the other a beefed up strength build. So we were shown how you can stealth and hack your way into an area, or literally rip open doors and decimate everything.
Whilst an impressive game, it’s going to raise questions as to how it’ll run on early base consoles of this generation. Credit to CD Projekt Red, though. This is going to be huge.
This one was a little disappointing. Not for the game itself, that’s still day one for me. But for lack of explanation as to what is really going on. I guess Kojima is really keeping this one close to his chest until launch.
A narrated gameplay demo, this presentation showed off more of the network features we’ve heard bits about. Things like ladders left by other players are there to be used, or rain shelters to stop the effects of the mysterious Timefall. Loot that has also been dropped can be taken, but in more of a finder’s keepers capacity, not a PvP style.
The last part was a mini-boss battle against one of the four-legged demons that you face when you’ve been dragged through tar to its location. Fended off with grenades full of blood, it seems like these are commonplace if you’re unlucky enough to be caught by the BT’s.
It wasn’t that the game looks disappointing, it was just a pretty meagre presentation for a game that’s due out soon. That being said, I’m still keen.
These are the games I had a quick blast on, that deserve a little nod if you get chance to check them out:
Tony Slopes – A “wacky” downhill racer that sees your weirdly decked out character riding a variety of carts, including rubber rings, sharks, bathtubs, shopping trolleys and many more. Plays like it’s more for a party than serious racers, but still fun.
The Witcher 3 (Switch Edition) – If you own a Switch and haven’t played The Witcher 3 yet, go and do it. I had my doubts as to how this would convert to the Nintendo, but those doubts have been demolished. Still as visually impressive as it was on launch four years ago, and comes with the fantastic DLC stories.
And that’s about it! I might have missed a couple, but that happens when you’re being an excitable man-child at an event like this.
If instead you want to hear a more in-depth recounting of what Sean and I got up to, we’ve got you covered: click here for a bumper edition podcast edition of all three days. Compiled by Ross, there’s links in there to all of your favourite podcast playing sites, or if you right-click on this link you can download it!