My EGX 2015 Experience
- Updated: 21st Oct, 2015
After only 5 hours sleep, 3 trains and a hell of a lot of walking, I finally arrived at my first ever Eurogamer Expo. And what a show it was! New, current and retro games, competitions, tournaments and merchandise only begins to describe the experience as a whole. Here are my highlights of what made such a great show.
My EGX 2015 Pick – Nintendo
My first steps into the arena and there it was: A Super Mario archway to commemorate 30 years of the iconic character, paving the way to Nintendo’s upcoming delights. But the Nintendo zone was far from just a few games; the sense of fun that emanated throughout would have made Iwata proud. Splatoon and Mario Kart tournaments, competitions and Mario Maker level challenges on a stage show that never let up all day long, made for an excellent vibe, even when having to queue for some of the tasty delights. 3 player sessions of Zelda Tri-Force Heroes and the ever present bean bag chill area brought Nintendo gamers together in what was a very relaxed atmosphere; almost an illusion in such an energetic surrounding.
Best of the Rest
Star Fox Zero (Wii U)
Star Fox Zero has been the subject of Nintendo criticism of late due to its delay till Q1 2016. After getting my hands on it I may also be disappointed in the delay, but it will definitely be worth the wait. Initially viewed like a high-res Lylat Wars/Star Fox 64, Zero quickly mixes up its famous corridor-shooter template by flying through cliff faces and other terrain, although never deviates from what makes the series so famous. Like Lylat Wars, the boss sections are in “all range mode”, but are much bigger in scope. Each task grows in difficulty but only as to serve, on this demonstration at least, as an excellent learning curve for fans and newcomers alike. The action is fast and furious but also highly intuitive, with the added use of the Wii U gamepad cockpit contributing excellently for those more pinpoint shots. Star fox Zero impressed throughout, so forget the delay; here’s hoping Nintendo/Platinum Games deliver a final product worthy of the wait.
Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)
To say Xenoblade Chronicles was an awe-inspiring RPG would be as accurate as it is obvious. Yet somehow this spiritual sequel manages to take awe-inspiring to its own next level. Promising to be much bigger than Wii Chronicles, movement between areas was seamless, and judging from the map Monolith have created a western style open world RPG with JRPG mechanics, story, characters and battle system. From just the few minutes I had my hands on X, it’s safe to say they look to deliver on that promise. The scope is fantastic; taking on robots four times the size of your party in vast landscapes, directing how they attack/defend, or maybe just steering clear altogether, all the while not forgetting there are missions to complete. It really does leave little to the imagination.
Dragon Quest Heroes (PS4)
Out next week, I was completely oblivious to Dragon Quest Heroes’ existence until I stumbled across it. Once the demo was finished, I was amazed at what I had seen and wanted more. The latest Dynasty Warriors licensed spin-off immediately felt more at home against a Dragon Quest setting than it ever did with Hyrule Warriors – a game with its own charm of course – and was absolutely beautiful to behold. It’s simple to pick up and just play the hell out of it, leaving you to bask in the glory of the amazing Akira Toriyama drawn characters that makes the series so famous and frankly gorgeous scenery and surroundings. Combat is effortless but deadly once combined with magic, and also unlike Hyrule Warriors you manage a team of 4 warriors, which gives it an extra dimension of challenge and reduces the typically repetitive nature of the series. It’s also a PS4 exclusive, and for me already an essential purchase.
The indie section of any game exposition provides a lot of variety, and almost limitless genre possibilities. And sometimes, someone takes a genre and provides a take that turns it on its head, without ever losing sight of its original influences. When I was pitched to sit down and play Unbox, a game due to be released on Steam, it was described as ‘Super Mario 64… but you play as a box’. All became clear in mere seconds; you are indeed a wooden box, free to roam around (and rather unfathomably, jump) as Mario indeed did in his first ever 3D adventure. Unbox controls beautifully with perfect sensitivity, and it’s the jump mechanism that is also the game’s finest unique weapon. Each of your box’s six sides serve as its health bar. However, for those hard to reach areas a series of air jumps are required, each using a side of your box. Commonly faced with this, a two-factor precipice may seem steep at first, but given some of the tasks your box will face (collecting x amount of scattered tokens within a time limit whilst under fire as an example) it serves as the perfect learning curve, even from the start. Couple that with surroundings that wouldn’t be amiss in a Rare platformer, and for me you’ve easily got one of the best games at EGX.