In anticipation of the weekend rush of players that were due to swarm into the venue, Rebecca and I (Nicole) were running a tight ship to ensure we gave ourselves ample opportunity to dabble in some superb titles we’d had our eye over the course of the event during our third day of EGX 2018.
Nicole – Metro Exodus is a title that quite literally had me at hello or in this case, at it’s E3 trailer last year and I couldn’t bear walking past it’s booth looking from the outside in any longer, I HAD to get hands on with this ominous title. At a first glance and perhaps to newcomers to the franchise, Metro Exodus appears to be a more sinister take on a Fallout game, sharing the likeness of a post-apocalyptic setting overrun with a span of mutated creatures of all shapes and sizes. Fortunately, after playing the demo it became promptly evident to me that there’s far more than meets the eye with this marvellous game. Exploring the small playable section of the demo was completely compelling. The post-apocalyptic environments that set the backdrop for Exodus are what I believe to be some of the best I’ve seen in this genre. I was in total awe as I ventured hastily through the wooded setting of the demo, mesmerised by the sun peeping through the bare branches of the trees or the ransacked buildings encased in untamed flora. The best part about the incredible environments within the game are how emerged you become in them. Small aesthetics like condensation fogging up your gas mask or flies landing on your visor really showcase the game’s immersive capabilities. This is only augmented by the way the game uses sound to taunt you and in a world in which you’re made to constantly feel vulnerable, you’ll find yourself jumping at every cracking branch or bit of gravel that crunches beneath your feet. The demo leads you into a combat sequence which can be tackled with full-frontal combat or with stealth and subtlety. After struggling to make it out of a more brash approach in one piece, it became clear that stealth is definitely offers more advantageous opportunities. Thankfully, with craftable throwing knives and a powerful crossbow at hand you have plenty of means to dispense of enemies quickly and quietly. Since Metro Exodus’ E3 trailer I’ve dabbled in it’s atmospheric predecessors in hope of preparing myself for the newest installment and in being one of my EGX 2018 highlights it’s safe to say the Exodus demo has given me even more incentive to do so.
Rebecca: Metro Exodus is an entirely new experience for me so upon sitting down at the demo I had no idea what I was in store for. Knowing the game was a shooter set in post-apocalyptic Russian wildlands and not much more I was wowed over by the content of the demo. Most eye catching of all were the graphics but as the gameplay advanced I began to enjoy the content of the game for what it was as well. One of the most impressive features was the sound design, headphones induced an impressive level of immersion in the game with an environment filled with the sounds of nature rather than a continuous soundtrack. With an eerie silence in the game every shrill noise had me on high alert, a tree snapping in the distance set the hairs on the back of my neck tingling. Along with this, kickback from weaponry is realistic to an extent where you can almost feel the power of each shot ricocheting through the screen. A gunfight with a group of bandits inside the alpha demo showcased the various stealth options as well as the sympathy you can offer survivors who surrender. These touches may be small, but they hint at a story that can be ever so slightly shaped by each individual player. Metro Exodus is something that I wouldn’t have given a second thought to before this stint at EGX but after today, its something I may consider buying next February.
Nicole – As much as I have enjoyed savouring AAA titles at EGX 2018, I’ve equally sought great pleasure in walking amongst some of the more unorthodox and eccentric indies. One such title is Causeway, a tactical roguelike emanating a Horizon:Zero Dawn/ NieR: Automata/Portal vibe. Centred on a robotic lead you get to explore alluring and enticing surroundings cloaked in mystery and engage in some enjoyable turn based combat. During combat encounters with Causeway’s nifty robots enemies you may execute a number of moves in exchange for energy points. You can use any number of moves provided you have the energy points to do so – very X-COM-esque. Causeway aroused my interest so I took to contacting Sam Frazher (@samfrazher) for an interview to find out more about the game. Despite how alien I am to the art of PC gaming, I enjoyed my time with Causeway and I am especially intrigued to play more in hope of making sense of the planet abandoned by humanity conundrum. You can find my interview with the team behind Causeway HERE.
Rebecca: Although it wasn’t a exclusive game or developer session I could not pass up on the opportunity to watch Eurogamer play Bloodborne in one of EGX’s Live sessions. The Eurogamer team selected a series of chalice dungeons and played though them with surprising ease. As a huge Bloodborne fan it would have been unlike me to pass up on this session and watching it with hundreds of other Hunters reaffirmed the strength in the souls community.
Rebecca: EGX 2018 has been a conference of firsts for me and playing the Division 2 was the next first I checked off my list. The Division was a popular third-person action RPG that drew in a wide audience of gamers, but I was not one of them. Since the game and its sequel are best played as online experiences I have yet to pick one up. The EGX demo stand for the Division 2 sported an impressive game. Setting groups of players in teams against a gang of aggressive CPU’s, working in a team of four fighters all different classes and specialities there is enough diversity between characters that the ten minute demo was highly enjoyable. Difficulty is perfectly paced too which means the game is a perfect mixture of challenging and manageable, it was an interesting experience for me as a newbie to the franchise and one which pleasantly surprised me. With better internet connections I may be tempted to purchase a copy with its release next year.
Nicole: From someone who put a substantial amount of hours into The Division across platforms, it’s safe to say The Division 2 soundly brings more of the same to the table…and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A handful of new neat features take the spotlight working hand in hand with the gameplay that has maintained a passionate following behind this Tom Clancy’s title. The Division 2 has enough to make it feel like a refreshed experience without deterring it from the features fans have grown to love. Complete with captivating, overgrown environments that far surpass the visuals of the first, it’s safe to say I rather enjoyed the time I spent with The Division 2.
We have one day left of EGX 2018 and with the exception of Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s Go Eeve! (which will be played tomorrow) all our planned blockbuster titles have been covered. So, stick around for tomorrows coverage to see our thoughts on a collection of indie games as we focus on the Rezzed Zone.