EGX 2017 kicked off today with a plethora of developers both big and small assembling at the Birmingham NEC to showcase their upcoming games and hardware. Square XO is lucky enough to have a press pass for the whole four-day conference and we’ll be bringing you a daily highlights article so you won’t miss a thing. Today I (Rebecca) mostly hit the floor testing out upcoming PlayStation titles but, across the next four days, I’ll bring you panel highlights, developer interviews and plenty of fun pictures (Yay cosplay!). Also, don’t forget to follow @Square_XO on Twitter for live tweeting and instant updates as developers make their announcements.
Day 1 Highlights
My first stop upon entering the NEC was the PlayStation booth where Far Cry 5 and Assassins Creed Origins were set up as part of Ubisoft’s presentation. Being a huge fan of the Far Cry games and having eagerly awaited 5’s arrival since its announcement at this year’s E3 I was thrilled to finally play this action game. Even just waiting in the queue Ubisoft had done a good job at getting the atmosphere just right. Staff members (armed with fake AK47’s and RPG launchers) chanted Bible passages at us and begged us to ‘join them’. These tiny touches made me anticipate getting into the game itself so much that the hour-long queue didn’t faze me at all. The game itself is impressive. On the PS4 Pro Far Cry 5 looked crisp and sharp; everything is meticulously detailed right down the blades of grass. The controls were simple to adjust to and everything flowed smoothly. The demo sees you attempt to liberate a town repressed under an evil cult by force. Having a combat scenario for the demo certainty worked wonders as I found myself burning through my fifteen-minute demo time as I pumped bullets into the savage cultists sprawling over the town.
Sound design in far Cry 5 was also fantastic. The booming of the guns paired with the realistic recoil from the stronger set of weapons adds such exhilaration to the gameplay. I was given the choice of three character team mates and, just from looking around the playing booth, I think that on release day Dog Boomer will be a popular choice. During my fifteen-minute slot I managed to liberate a town, play with cars and even go fishing. I can assuredly say that I will be picking up a copy of Far Cry 5 come 27th February 2018.
After I left the Ubisoft booth I made my way to the Nintendo Switch zone. I was eager to get to Super Mario Odyssey and see what everyone’s favourite plumber (or should that be former-plumber?) had in store for me. After its announcement at E3 2017 Mario Odyssey gained some harsh criticism as its change in style (partially setting Mario’s new adventure in a modern city) seemed an odd move. Once I got my hands on the controller it became very apparent that, as well as getting used to the game, I would have to get used to the Joy Con controllers (this was actually my first time playing Switch).
The Mario Odyssey demo gave you the option of two different levels to experience. One standard Mario setting: a fiery desert, and the modern-day alternative. As I was standing in the queue waiting for my turn I saw many people pick the bustling city and what I was seeing of that level didn’t impress me. Mario didn’t seem to fit in and it felt more like Grand Theft Auto than a Mario game. Needless to say that when it was my turn to pick the level, I chose the classic Mario desert. Super Mario Odyssey isn’t all bad news though! The ability to use Mario’s hat ‘Cappy’ to reach far off switches and take control of foes was a refreshing new aspect that I absolutely loved.
After my session with the Nintendo Switch I broke for lunch, thinking that I should eat a non-sickly meal before the next item on my list: the VR experience. Having never tried VR I was excited to take part and the variety of games of show: Skyrim VR, Bravo Team and Gran Turismo Sport all seemed exciting prospects in their own way. I found out that I would be playing Gran Turismo Sport. The game looked fantastic and the VR experience felt close to real, I could look down and see my hands on the wheel and ahead of me the track burning away as I tore round corners. The graphics were outstanding and the virtual reality gave the game an authentic adrenaline-soaked flair, a racing experience that I think would be impossible to recreate without use of a VR headset. Although the game was great – a must buy for all VR owners – the speed and motion of VR didn’t especially agree with me. I just about managed to keep my lunch down though!
My last stop of the day one was the new game from Quantic Dream, Detroit: Become Human. Having already fallen in love with the game from its announcement trailer I was desperate to close Thursday’s show with this stunning neo-noir thriller. The demo that plays is titled ‘Hostage’ and many will remember it first debuting at E3 2016 show. The choices were diverse and detective work around the apartment played into the odds of you walking away from the hostage situation alive. We were advised to wear headphones for this booth and that made my experience so much better. The tension of the hostage situation paired with a phenomenal soundtrack made for an experience that had me shaking with exhilaration and the anticipation of owning this game come its release in 2018.
Overall a great but very busy day on the floor. Tomorrow I’ll be playing Assassins Creed Origins, Sea of Thieves and Forza 7. I’ll also bring you some EGX Theatre highlights and tweet throughout the day, culminating in a Day 2 roundup just like this one. Keep it at Square XO for all your EGX news!
Day two EGX coverage: http://www.squarexo.co.uk/egx-2017-day-two/
Day three EGX coverage: http://www.squarexo.co.uk/egx-2017-%C7%80-day-three/
Day four EGX coverage: http://www.squarexo.co.uk/egx-2017-%C7%80-day-four/