EGX 2019 - Jump Dash Roll's Top Ten Highlights
EGX is the biggest gaming event of the year, and it was back once again at ExCel London for the 2019 edition. It was my first time at the main show, having previously attended the more indie focused EGX Rezzed in April – check out my pick of the best games from that event. The main show in October covers all of the bases, and I was blown away by the sheer size of the space. Five hours of walking, three coffees, a paneer jalfrezi, and one incredibly overpriced half-pint of pale ale later, this is my list of the ten things which caught my eye.
OK, so, while not technically a game, there was no way I was going to miss out on John Robertson’s live-interactive text adventure game, The Dark Room. The show started with a Windows crash – “this is the No Man’s Sky of shows…” according to Robertson – and ended with a young Darren winning three Borderlands t-shirts and an ornate potato (a pineapple). Forty-five minutes of shouting, darkness, and hilarious absurdity. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend checking it out. And if not, well, it’s available in Early Access now too!
If you’ve ever played Toribash (what, you mean to tell me you’ve never kicked someone’s head off their spine?), then you may recognise some similarities in Scramble! A rather lovely looking title with simultaneous time-based dogfighting. Outwit and outfly your enemies to bring them crashing to Earth in a hail of lead. You get just fifteen seconds to make your moves, so it’s all about quick decision-making and improvisation.
Cut from the Dead-Space mould with a healthy dollop of Alien: Isolation on top, Xenosis is a very nice-looking title with a great dynamic lighting system. You play as a deep space salvage hunter who discovers the remains of Spaceship Carpathian, presumed lost fifty years ago. It looks like a tense little title, with a winning combination of exploration, stealth, looting, and combat. Hopefully the pacing and difficulty will be right, but the little I watched looking super fun. Plus, the dev was wearing a sick battle jacket. Bonus points.
I’ve not played it. It doesn’t seem like my kind of game. I’m just fucking terrified by the unending two-headed dual-mouthed dog sausage.
Releasing: Early 2020
Another indie title taking a number of different elements and sticking them in the blender. A 2D side-scroller with four unique characters, Skeleton Crew seems to take inspiration from the art style and platforming of Spelunky. I didn’t get a sense of what the core mechanic was from the gameplay I watched, but the art style is lovely and you can kick things at other things.
Speaking of No Man Sky references, this game appears to have gone down the space exploration route. There’s a hint of Subnautica to the graphics and a healthy dose of upbeat humour running throughout. The writing seemed pretty great, especially the introduction of nerdy Musk-alike, Martin Tweed (CEO Kindred Aerospace: 4th Best Interstellar Exploration Company in the universe). The gameplay wasn’t massively gripping and I found myself a bit confused, but the concept and the world are enough to have me check it out when it does launch.
Releasing: January 28th, 2020
7. Spaceteam VR
One I stumbled across simply because I wanted to know why the booth had safety barriers. The stand was stalled by some lovely people from Cooperative Innovations who hail from far, far beyond the Watford Gap (Leeds). Inspired by the original Spaceteam game on mobile, a game about pushing buttons and shouting at your friends, the devs have licenced the title and created a fully VR version. While it might be hard to convince four of your friends to buy VR headsets just for this, it looked super fun. The three people I watched playing seemed to be having a ball, despite the repeated shouts of “YOU CAN’T PUT OUT A FIRE WITH A HAMMER, CRAIG.”
8. FFVII Remake
More like Final Fantasy seven hour queue, am I right? I didn’t get to play, but watched over someone else’s shoulder from outside the incredibly sophisticated anti-photography security measures, aka a three-foot high barrier. Players got to try out the power station section of the game that’s been shown online already. It looks absolutely gorgeous and the gameplay was smooth as hell. Switching between characters during combat looked awesome and my nostalgia boner was so large it knocked over the three-foot barrier. Shortly after, I was asked to leave.
Releasing: March 3rd, 2020
Continuing along the lines of the famous motto: “If it wasn’t broken when we made it before, but we could probably make money by releasing it again, let’s make it again,'' MediEvil is a PS4 remake of the 1995 title of the same name. I have to admit never playing the original, but again I remember seeing the one-eyed skull of lead character Sir Daniel Fortesque on every PS magazine ever. Gameplay looked pretty slick and there’s humour abound: rip off your own arm and use it as a club. Glorious.
Releasing: October 25th, 2019
10. Cyberpunk 2077
A huge, mysterious booth with nothing visible to the public. A ticket line that maybe wasn’t a ticket line, but was. A poster of a lady with three mouths. It could only be CD Projekt Red. After figuring out that I needed to get a pre-booked time slot to get in I entered the mysterious booth to be shown forty minutes of live gameplay. With commentary from a lead game artist, we were basically shown the shopping mall section that’s already been teased online, but controlled live by someone with a controller. There was a little extra demonstration of the different character types: we saw specced up versions of a hacker and a solo fighter. There’s nothing much to say other than it looks spectacular. You’ve got tons of agency, movement is fluid, and combat is almost a little too brutal. I’m looking forward to seeing more emerge as we move further towards launch.
Releasing: April 16th, 2020
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