EGX 2018 | Day Two

With the show mapped out and locations of our most anticipated games logged me (Rebecca) and Nicole wasted no time getting our teeth into some more great games at EGX Day Two.

Day two of EGX meant only one thing…EVEN MORE GAMES.

Nicole – After halting yearly releases and giving the series a much needed and commendable re-imagining with Origins, I was unbelievably eager to head over to the Ubisoft stand and acquaint myself with it’s follow up tale, Odyssey. Odyssey’s defining feature is the opportunity to frolic in it’s vast open-world as either Alexios as Kassandra. Although I got a taste for this option when playing, Ubisoft’s desire to retain some of the game’s mystery left little opportunity to distinguish any real difference between playing as one or the other. Following the quest marker in the demo hurled you head first into an intense brawl on the beach whereas deterring from the objectives allowed you a chance to revel in the glorious Greek setting including vistas of breathtaking blue waves crashing onto sandy white shores. Origins’ expansive underwater exploration has only been enhanced further in Odyssey. You may explore beneath the still surface of the ocean, battling a whole new means of fauna whilst the franchise’s widely-adored naval features remain well intact above. The snippet of the game I got to play was relatively challenging and I found myself sighing on numerous occasions as I was greeted with a flickering “desynchronised” screen. I have no doubt that upon playing the full game and utlising the game’s RPG elements to my own tastes that I’ll stand a better chance in combat. Unfortunately the demo offered little to define Odyssey as a fresh experience and admittedly left it feeling a little like Origins with a Greek reskin. Ubisoft’s newest Assassin’s Creed instalment will see a release on October 5th 2018 on PS4, Xbox One and PC. 

Rebecca: As a newbie to the Assassins Creed games I entered this demo with almost no expectations. At EGX 2017 I played Origins but have yet to own a copy of any game in the franchise, so for me this demo was just a chance to play a AAA title before it’s release. Saying that I actually enjoyed the time I spent in Ancient Greece with Kassandra (one of the two playable characters in Assassins Creed Odyssey). The demo is set in the midst a great battle and without the knowledge of controls I felt helpless running around the battlefield with no prompts as how to attack, dodge or counter. After repeatedly dying when following the demo route, I decided to take to the choppy Greek seas to test other mechanics of the game. Dog fights on the sea are intense and frequent, many of these I engaged with however I lost as I was so distracted by the gorgeous graphics. The sea is a brilliant turquoise blue and light shimmering on the waves gives the game a realistic flare. On the land bright green foliage clashes with the golden white sand, along with being blindingly beautiful this contrast is eye-catching and is sure to turn heads come Odyssey’s release.

Nicole – My ever-growing love for the franchise (alongside the outrageous queue for Metro Exodus) steered me in the direction of the Life Is Strange 2 stand. The demo itself was very interesting and carried over all the trademark traits of the series so far. Life Is Strange 2 sees the Diaz family in the spotlight and as you explore their home throughout the course of the demo, you uncover ample means to develop the emotional attachment the series is renowned for using against you. The demo does well to really draw attention severity of your decisions and the raw impact one choice you make can have on the events that follow. Furthermore, the lack of the supernatural abilities that’s been intertwined into the previous titles had me even more flustered in deciding between dialogue options knowing full well there’d be no going back. My only real criticism with this demo was that the time allocated to finish it did not feel substantial enough to enjoy the full potential of the gameplay showcased. Nevertheless, I’m ever-keen to play Life Is Strange 2 Episode 1 at my own leisure next week (September 27th on PS4, Xbox and PC).

Rebecca: Dreams was one of the most intriguing games on the show floor at this years EGX, it’s been widely obsessed over after it was showcased that players can create, play and share their own game experiences through a collection of ever-growing indie titles. In the EGX demo at this year’s show a collection of mini-games were showcased. First, I played Windy Gales which is a very brief indie game set in the middle of a forest, whilst this was one of the shortest games the gorgeous style and various features in gameplay left an impression on me. The next short game I decided to play was simply titled Demo Content, featuring a small robot who can charge up power switches to open new levels in the game. I was instantly charmed over by this heart-warming game and it’s something I will keep my eye on come the full release of Dreams. Finally, I was drawn to a short called Comic Sands because of it’s simplistic 2D art style, towards the end of this demo the graphics bloomed and developed completely engrossing me in its minimalist story. With only a short demo I’m hooked on the creative possibilities within Dreams and it’s fascinating to imagine all the possibilities.

Nicole – I had no idea what to expect when I arrived at the stand for Dreams but I was desperate to dive head first into Media Molecule’s latest venture nonetheless. Dreams was wonderfully versatile and it’s sandbox gameplay had everything from platforming to mini-game/arcade style levels. I took up the helm in the more 3D platformer-style content of the demo and became undoubtedly ensnared in it’s whimsical hand-crafted environments. In this particular segment of the demo you had to stand on panels and shock them with an electric charge in order to illuminate the next area and progress with the level in turn. The shrouded areas did well to invoke an element of apprehension and uncertainty as you were worryingly unaware of what you’d be uncovering in the blackness. It was very evident throughout playing that Dreams incorporates a mass of quintessential Media Molecule elements. A LittleBigPlanet 3 vibe echoed soundly as I journeyed on that both added to the charm of the game and ignited a glimmer of nostalgia within me. Dreams has resonated with me after playing only a mere morsel of the full game and I am excited to see it’s PS4 release before the end of this year.

Rebecca: It’s-a now time for Mario! Super Mario Party was drawing in a vast number of players at this years EGX and as a fan of the games I was amongst them. This new instalment features 18 mini games and a mode where players can play a series of games in a tournament, the winner being the player who has the most points at endgame. Each of the mini games we played at the demo were diverse and enjoyable, ranging from barrel racing madness to getting a perfect sear on a steak. It’s great family fun and a game that is bound to be a successful hit with switch owners of all ages.

Nicole – As Rebecca and I wandered over to Sega’s stand to see what was on offer there, we sat down and played a touch of Team Sonic Racing. I was a sucker for Sonic And Sega All Stars Racing upon it’s release way back when so I almost felt obliged to take the latest Sonic-centric racing game for a spin (pardon the pun). Unfortunately, the game’s more team-orientated approach to the racing genre was all the game appeared to offer and even that felt executed poorly. Sassy back-chat between racers felt forced and almost cringe-worthy. It’s a shame as the foundations for a nuanced co-operative racing titled are undeniably present. Slip-streaming your fellow team members offers and opportunity for a boost in crucial times of need and items can be passed between players dependant on who needs them. That aside, item pick ups felt like re-skinned rip-offs of Mario Kart items which essentially stripped the title of it’s sense of originality. Team Sonic Racing offers at most family fun, but even then there’s more shrewdly developed titles out there seething with substantially better gameplay elements that’ll likely steal the racing crown.

Two days done and two days to go and there’s still plenty more games to get into. Keep up with our coverage at Square XO where we will be bringing you guys all the latest news and hand on demos from this year’s show.