EGX 2015: Day 1 - Into the Breach
The first day of EGX is done, and the end was the best part. I got to meet a whole bunch of amazing role models in the games journalism world, and I got to play around with Valve's and HTC's foray into VR with the Vive. The Vive is fantastic in just about every single way! But more on Vive later, because I want you to read the rest of this; I know, cheeky me.
This has been out for a short time now, I do own it, but have not had the time to play it. And now I have. It's still Forza, which is perfect. There is one massive change in Forza 6 than in the previous games: a lucky draw system, where you can win a far more expensive car than you can afford, or some discounts for car parts.
I'm not quite sure how I feel about this change, but I'm moving toward liking it, as it will allow you to compete at many car classes at the same time. Instead of having to grind for a while on a low-class untill you can buy a class A or up car, you can simply win it.
The car handling feels very similar to Forza 5, but with a bit more finesse. The cars seem to react a lot more realistically to changes in speed. Breaking or lifting off the gas now seems to make the weight shift forward in a way I haven't yet felt in Forza; but, otherwise, it's just Forza. Nothing wrong with that.
Who remembers Rare? I remembered their legacy but had never played many of their games, unfortunately. Rare Replay features 30 Rare games from the past 30 years, which is just about all that needs to be said about this. A fantastic throwback kit for the gamer who wants some of the best retro games from one of the best developers. Rare is now working on Sea of Thieves, a pirate MMO.
Explosions, chaos, parachutes, explosions, wingsuit, guns, explosions, cars, helicopters, explosions and Rico Rodriguez, Just Cause in a nutshell. There are two main changes from Just Cause 2 to 3, the wingsuit and the ability to have multiple tethers. The parachute received a speed decrease, to allow you to use it more as gun platform than before; the wingsuit adds the speed and it feels amazing.
Diving into your own explosion is great; or, even better, diving down into something you have just duel tethered and pulled together while it's exploding, is fantastic. Just Cause 3 comes out on December 1st.
The demo opened with a monologue explaining that you are a guerilla fighter, so you are not a one-man army. But, I then proceeded to run around, on my own, killing enemies with ease. The sound design is great and the guns feel powerful. But the strange disconnect between the fact you are a guerilla fighter, but also able to defend for a long time is not exactly where I thought the game was heading towards.
The game does feels nice to control and has a very nice atmosphere, so we will see how vulnerable this one fighter is when the game releases.
There is a lot of negative and positive press surrounding Star Wars: Battlefront. One side calling it out for not having many of the features the original 2 had, and the other side praising it for looking and sounding amazing, and that it's doing its own thing.
I'm slightly towards the negative camp, for reasons I won't go into now, but a part of it boils down to it looking too much like Battlefield. I am wrong, but not fully. The sounds of the blasters are on point, the death animations, the animations of blaster shots hitting surfaces, the jetpack animations and feel of it all fit the feel of the original film trilogy perfectly.
The mode I played was just conquest mode from Battlefield, with one addition. To destroy 2 AT-ATs when on the Rebel's side, or to get those AT-ATs to the Rebel shield generator when on the side of the Empire. You capture several points, as Rebels these would slow down the assault, as the Empire it aids the assault. But other than that, it's essentially conquest with the score hidden behind 2 AT-ATs.
One of the best features of the game was no reloads, the blasters instead have a cooldown, which does work. But the weirdest feature is that to get into a ship you pick up a floating logo, and after holding down the required buttons, you teleport into the ship, or gunner seat of an AT-AT, or an AT-ST.
Far more fluid than its previous game, Catalyst is a prequel. It follows the origin story of Faith. You can no longer pick up guns, but fear not, as the mêlée combat is now all momentum based, and is fun. No matter how skeptical I can be of EA as a publisher, Catalyst has my full attention.
Unfortunately, I hit some bugs, so my gameplay kept being cut short, and I was constantly replaying the same sections. But I kept making it through these sections in different ways, in faster ways, and in more stylish ways. So not all was lost. I got to experiment with different ways of navigating around a more linear section.
This is Microsoft's upcoming controller, aimed at competitive and pro gamers, priced at $150 or £120. The biggest addition is the use of 4 more paddles on the underside of the controller. You can remap any other button to them. Want to reload with one of these new paddles? Remap the reload button to one. The Elite Controller was demoed with Forza 6, allowing you to change gears with two of the new paddles instead of the bumpers. You could theoretically play with manual gearing while using the clutch, which with a controller is weird to think.
The controller has an aluminium construction, and lots of rubber for grip. The triggers can be locked to half pull, allowing, in a shooter, to fire far more quickly. The triggers feel like they have a much more smooth action. Another nice feature is the swappable nature of the analogue sticks, D-pad, and 4 base buttons, as they are all magnetic. In the box, you will get 2 different D-pads, and 3 sets of analogue sticks. One set is taller than normal, one is a lot like the standard ones, and the last is a dome similar to the pre-PS4 controllers.
Is it worth the high asking price? From what I've experienced no, but not far off that, maybe at $100 to $120 it would be worth it completely. It's a well-designed piece of kit, and I would love for Sony to release a new version of the PS4 controller with similar features and make the triggers far better. Both the Xbox One and PS4 controllers are amazing, but both have different flaws. The Elite Controller fixes one of the biggest flaws in the Xbox One controller, the bumpers.
I will be putting more in-depth thoughts of this in its own video, but the short and sweet version is here.
Going into this VR experience, I had only once tried VR with the Oculus Rift DK1. Which made me very motion-sick, to the point where I pretty much fell over after about 10 seconds. With the Vive, I had none of these issues, with only very slight disorientation. Not enough for it register at the time, but later thinking back on it, I remember it giving me a strange sensation.
Now: gushing time. My god the Vive is amazing! I want to highlight just one part of the demo that is set underwater, on a shipwreck. There are lots of fish swimming around, while swatting at them they swim away like you would expect. As I'm doing this, I turn around to follow a few and see a giant blue whale swimming towards me. So I physically walk, which is an amazing feeling, towards the whale who stops at the prow of the ship. I'm now stand right next to its eye and reach out to touch it. The whale gets spooked, and suddenly starts to swim away making me jump slightly. As it swims away, it flicks its tail, again making me jump. This, in turn, makes a part of the ship suddenly and very squeakily move towards me, making me physically recoil back to dodge it. I loved every minute of it!
Day 1 is no longer here, but more amazing adventures await.
I know, all a bit dramatic, but I have to dramatise some parts for entertainment purposes.
Being very new to the industry, getting to meet some very well established and respected people was like a Football, or Soccer, fan getting to meet their favourite players. I got to chat with the Outside Xbox crew, Jane Douglas, Andy Farrant, and Mike Channel. I got to get a lovely one to two conversation with Cam Robinson, and Seb Ford now of CamAndSeb (their production company being Double Jump). Lastly, I got to have a very quick conversation with Laura Dale, known to the internet as Laura K Buzz or that woman who talks about game butts. I just did some name dropping, oh yer!
I'm looking forward to day 2, this time I will look at some of the smaller indie games in the Rezzed and Indie Megabooth areas, and will get to interview Fatshark about their upcoming game Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide.