Last week it was Eurogamer’s flagship expo, EGX, taking place in Birmingham’s NEC Arena. I think Arena is an understatement as it’s more like the size of a small town. A small town full of expensive drink, pricey food and costly everything else. Still, I wasn’t there just to go into my overdraft, I was there to see videogames.
Which is exactly what I did. I saw many videogames. In fact, I saw too many videogames to list, which is why I’ve decided to only talk about my favourite 10. Luckily, 10 games is the perfect number for a list, so a list is exactly what I wrote. Here it is!
I don’t really like multiplayer shooters all that much. I find them a little repetitive and predictable. Battlefield 1, with its huge maps and damn near fully destructible environments is so hectic and seemingly random you never know how the battle’s going to play out.
Aside from the insane and over the top action there looks to be a huge amount of customization and unlocks to get hold of. With tons of weapons, items and abilities to unlock for each class, Battlefield 1 managed to make this list despite my near non-existent interest in this game before I played it at EGX.
The rise of ‘meaningful’ and ‘thought provoking’ puzzle platformers continues. We’ve all played Braid, we’ve all seen Limbo and we’ve all heard about how great Inside is. Well, I’ve got another outstanding puzzle platformer for you and it’s called Little Nightmares. The exact story isn’t clear but the visuals and creepy ambience of the demo were totally striking that it didn’t matter.
The gameplay was fairly basic, seeing you control a little girl in a yellow rain coat as she crept her way past a grotesque chef. You then had to solve a simple puzzle involving grinding meat and swinging from sausages. I know it doesn’t sound like much but if the rest of the game is as evocative as this short slice of the action, it’s going to be one to keep an eye on.
Now, it may have helped that I got caught up in the excitement of the venue, with 30 fighting stations set up around me, Tekken 7’s (awful) music blaring out and a couple of very good players showing us mere mortals how Tekken should be played on a big screen, but I was hooked. Sitting down with a friend and knocking several shades of stuffing out of each other is as fun as ever. This is may be a personal preference, but Tekken 7’s much slower and more deliberate pace when compared to Street Fighter allowed me to enjoy the fighter much more. Everything moved at a deliberate pace and allowed me feel more in control and less down to my lightning quick reaction times.
Tekken 7 felt more like a sped up game of chess versus Street Fighter’s hyperactive brawling. There’s a great mix of characters and some nice visual touches, especially when you have two characters low on health and the game slows down and zooms in as the final blow is being dealt. This being said, some of the new characters looked awful. What the hell is Gigas? I enjoy a shiny red butt as much as the next person, but this guy looked lame as hell.
Another multiplayer shooter? I thought I said I didn’t like these? Well, Titanfall 2 is another shooter that’s trying to do something new and manages to keep things fresh (for me, at least). There’s something really rewarding about being able to wall run, jetpack and grapple hook your way around an entire map. This is all without even mentioning the giant mechs you can call down should you earn enough money.
How do you earn money? Senseless murder, of course! What makes Titanfall so nice, for even an FPS simpleton like myself, is that matches are populated not just by deadly humans (who kill me instantly) but also dumbed down AI. These idiot ‘grunts’ are easy kills and help hapless morons like me feel like I’m doing well, even when I’m not. There’s also promise of a much more robust story mode, but I don’t really care about that.
Gravity Rush 2
Until my dying days, I will fight anyone that wants to bad mouth the Vita. A hugely underrated console that is full of gems, and non is more gem-like than the original Gravity Rush. So it’s really pleasing to see that not only did Gravity Rush recently get a re-master on the PS4 but it’s getting a full blown sequel on the same console. It’s also really, really pleasing to be able to say that it looks and plays brilliantly.
Gravity Rush 2 builds upon its predecessor, giving you an open-world to platformer and brawl about in. What makes Gravity Rush so cool is not just the beautiful art style but the gravity mechanics. With the press of a button you can float in mid-air and point at a surface. Whatever surface you’re pointing at is now the floor. This leads to interesting traversal puzzles and can also be used in combat too. Really excited to see how the finished product turns out, so much so, I’m practically dancing on the ceiling.
I’m not too sure what there is to say here. 29, on its surface is a pretty simple point and click adventure. What helped it make this list was the interesting, almost Fez-like mechanic, where you could change the perspective of the room you’re in. By spinning the room around you’d get view of new items to click on and doors to walk through.
On top of the neatly done point and click mechanics, the sheer amount of style of on display had me hooked. Taking place in a low-poly flat (apartment for those not in the UK) you’re surrounded by boxes of your own possessions as it appears you’re moving out. It’s fairly mundane and it’s totally beautiful. Then the mundane falls away as you start seeing galaxies in your bathtub and giant monsters who don’t know your name in the spare room. Really unique and totally enchanting.
Maybe it was the slight hangover I had, maybe it was the 2 hour train journey to Birmingham or maybe it was the lack of sleep – but during my time at EGX, at points, I wanted a nice sit down. Naturally, I’m too professional to ‘just’ sit down so I did the gaming equivalent of a ‘nice sit-down’. I played Sacramento. Similar to Proteus, if you’ve heard of that one, Sacramento has you explore a gorgeous hand-painted world at your own leisurely pace. There’s nothing chasing you and nothing wants you dead.
There is plenty to find though and there’s a great soundtrack that really sets the tone. Strangely, this game is already out and available for download. So if the screenshots or my description pique your interest even slightly, go give it a go right now. Put your slippers on and make a cup of tea first.
Motorsport Manager is a sports management game where you’re in charge of a motorsport team. You’re a motorsport manager in the game called Motosport Manager. I don’t think anyone’s surprised by that revelation. What is a revelation is how the devs have managed to make something so totally exciting and accessible whilst at the same time being a true to life simulation of Formula 1 racing, full of technical details and minute statistics.
Where Motorsport Manager truly excels is in the fact you can go as deep or as shallow as you like. Automatically tune the gear ratio and get out onto the track as fast as possible? Sure, you can do that. Want to mess about with the gear shift ratio and tweak the front and rear wings to get the right amount of downforce on your car? That’s also doable. A really remarkable game that’s both hugely complicated and amazingly simple to get into.
Final Fantasy XV & World of Final Fantasy
I lumped these two games together because I think that, between them, there’s something here for just about every RPG fan out there. If you want something a bit old-school, a bit reminiscent of classic SNES RPGS, then World of Final Fantasy has you covered. Dungeons to explore, monsters to capture and enlist in your party and plenty of grinding are to be done in this extremely cute game full of fan service. Seeing a chibi version of Cloud had me grinning like an idiot.
Equally, if you want something more modern then you’ve got Final Fantasy XV to look forward to. Real-time combat replaces the classical turn-based variety seen in Final Fantasy games of old and on top of this the visuals are a step-up from anything seen in any of Square enix’s previous offerings. Some might be put off by the story, which looks like Romeo & Juliet meets an all access documentary of N*Sync’s touring days, but it looks like goofy fun and I can’t wait to throw 100+ hours into it.
Yooka – Laylee
If Little Nightmares is the platformer to ‘make you think’ then Yooka – Laylee is the platformer to make you smile. It’s easy to see that this is by a bunch of ex-Rare developers as the Banjo Kazooie roots shine through in what is an unashamedly joyful, bright and delightful platformer.
It’s nice to see that this Kickstarted project isn’t just doing what it promised but is also exceeding expectations. The animation is outstanding, the character design is on par with anything you’ve seen in a Nintendo game and I just can’t wait to get my hands on the final product.
So, that’s it. In no particular order, there are my top 10 games that I saw at EGX. If you think there’s a glaring omission from this list, let us know!