EGX has finally returned to London after 4 years away. The last time I went was in 2014 with the likes of The Evil Within, Destiny, Alien Isolation and Far Cry 4. So it was a big year and after that, EGX decided to move away from London for reasons unknown (conspiracy theorists, begin discussing). But thankfully the new owners (the same owners as MCM) have decided to bring it back to London and I’m sure they will do so again after the massive success it was this weekend.
I was pretty excited to venture again to EGX but also a little worried at some of the things I came to saw.
Like a trek to Mordor … but with more waiting
I will admit that the entry to EGX 2019 was pretty intense on the busier days and it appeared there was nothing organised for press. I don’t want any special treatment but at least MCM has a press desk for inquiries and entry.
The queuing for press and gamers alike was immense as thousands of people flocked to the event. This also became a little bit of a problem as the event was massively crowded when it came to the weekend. Normally Thursdays and Fridays can get a little busy towards the end of the day but usually you wait like 20 – 30 minutes for a one of the big titles. Come to Doom Eternal and being told it’s a three hour wait and I’m like “yeah, I’ll try again later”.
But being press does have some perks and certain places allowed me to cut in line, which was pretty super.
While it was a bit of a mess for press and gamers alike, the stewards did an amazing job to get everyone through. Oh yeah –
Shout out to the stewards, you all did a banging job!
Personally I think the other halls should’ve been opened. Only half of the Excel was opened to EGX. MCM opens both sides. If the Doom Eternal booth was twice the size (and it would’ve been at Earl’s court), then waiting wouldn’t be such a problem.
But EGX need to look at MCM when it comes to checking people in and opening as much space as possible to manage lines and give publishers as much space as possible to show off their games. Playstation’s area was not entirely big and considering they had Death Stranding and Final Fantasy 7 Remake there, it would’ve been great to give them more space for the gamers who came along to support them.
Anyway that’s my rant over about queues and onto what I actually played.
INDIE, INDIE, INDIE!
So I decided to check out the booths which don’t get enough attention (but thankfully more and more people are seeing them) and there was plenty there to check out. Now thanks to the expansion of tech, allowing more people to join in and get started on designing games, we have the indie developers and the super indie developers (like one or two people making a great looking game).
Contra clone that’s so much better than what Konami brought out this year. Action packed pixel shooter!
Summerford was developed with the goal to create a modern day incarnation of a classic survival horror game. Inspired by games from the golden era of survival horror, expect to see fixed and dynamic cameras, a creepy environment where you play a sole character exploring and staying alive.
10 Miles to Safety
I know, yet more zombie games. But 10 Miles to Safety is taking the genre into an interesting direction. Gamers will take part in a simple task, venture a city and reach a safe point that’s ten miles. But with each mile you traverse, the game gets harder. You can loot; shoot and build make shift shelters when night falls!
A very interesting idea and one that’s refreshing for the genre.
So imagine battle royal and For Honour had a baby. We have Lost Islands. Play as one of three factions made up of 16th century warriors from china, England and Japan. 100 players battle till the death for control and the ultimate prize. Nice focus on melee combat and a truly intense battle royal finally.
From the people that brought you Slain (who actually fixed the game up) comes another ultra-violent pixel shooter and it’s absolutely glorious! Now Valfaris has been out on Steam for a couple of months but it’s coming to consoles very soon. Like November time and I think it should get the attention it deserves. It’s simple fun, with a classic Contra style design, plenty of violence, challenging gameplay and a kick ass soundtrack.
Unto the End
Okay, so I think this was my personal favourite of the indie section. Made by a small team of developers, Unto the End aims to combine elements of Limbo/INSIDE and Dark Souls into one game. Compelling puzzles, intense combat and a beautiful visual style just scratches the surface of this titles. With a story that has meaningful choices and gameplay that revolves around trial and error, this could be the big indie hit of 2020.
Beyond a Steel Sky
The sequel to the classic point and click adventure game is finally here after 25 years! Brought back by the original director, Beyond a Steel Sky is a sequel to the original game and manages to transition classic gameplay elements from 90’s point and click titles (like Broken Sword and such) with a modern presentation.
Showing off the big guns!
Doom Eternal, Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Cyberpunk 2077!
Okay so I did manage to play a few games from the AAA section (after some sweet talking to be fair!) and wanted to report what I did play/see!
It’s-a-me …. DOOMSLAYER!!!!
Okay so Doom Eternal has become Super Mario for adults and features Hell. After hearing of the new additions from other sources, I was a little concerned if the developers had just taken away too many drugs and after how good Doom 2016 was, then it was possible that Doom Eternal could be pants.
But nope, Doom Eternal is good! It retains much of the charm and dynamics of Doom 2016 but with a couple of new things. Like bold, colourful pickups that resemble something like Super Mario. It’s a little weird and I’m not a massive fan of it personally. But the gunplay is intense, enemies seem to have better AI as they incorporate some actual tactics and the world itself is pretty stunning!
Final Fantasy 7 Remake ….. OH MY GOD HYPE!
So I have to come clean and say I am not the biggest Final Fantasy fan (far from it actually) except for something like Final Fantasy 9 which is actually great. Final Fantasy 7 I’m not so keen on. Now the remake has been in development for a very, very long time! Like I was in college when friends were discussing it, it was that long ago!
So I have to say, I’m pretty excited about this. It looks amazing, like one of the best looking games in recent years. It’s monumental in terms of scale and design with combat being highly refined and adaptable for both fans of new and old FF. So it’s mostly real time but there are still plenty of strategic elements to come to grips with. It seems very simple on the outside but combing both styles will surely give it much more depth. Just like Final Fantasy 15.
Okay, so the queue for just seeing the 40 minutes footage was pretty immense which just shows you how popular this game was to so many. I mean, it’s an adaption of a beloved table top role playing game made by the same people of The Wicther which gained immense popularity over its life span.
Cyberpunk 2077 simply put is looking freaking amazing.
But my biggest highlight at EGX? Cat Tap!
Yeah, this was a nice game. I liked it a lot. You play as a cat knocking stuff off a dining table. Go check it out.
That pretty much sums up EGX 2019 for me. An immense amount of people, waiting to play games and seeing that merchant stalls popping up. This wasn’t too surprising but a little disappointing. I enjoyed seeing EGX come back to London but personally they need to utilise the space at London Excel centre, maybe make it a bit brighter with the lighting and sort out the queuing and organisation for press. Hopefully next year will be better.