EGX 2019 Roundup
This years EGX is very difficult to review from the viewpoint of a purely Xbox site. This is due to the almost total lack of Xbox presence at the show. While there were games there that were going to be released on Xbox, it was obvious amongst the large Sony and Nintendo branded areas that the green side of things was very missing. The only game that I saw there that was Xbox branded was NBA 2K20. Therefore, this isn’t going to be a review of EGX from an Xbox perspective. This is just going to be my views on the show itself, along with some the game that I played – be they Xbox or not.
In general, EGX was a very mixed bag this year. Realistically, it was leaning into the disappointing category. Yes, walking in and seeing the show floor will always look quite impressive. But when you get out there, the big games that you’d want at this sort of show just weren’t there. And the ones that were, for the most part had far too limited capacity. And this had a knock-on effect to queues across the floor.
There’s always a certain expectation that there will be long queues for the big games, but the limited options for the casual gamer, these queues built up quickly, and stayed long all day long. Doom, one of the titles I wanted to play had such a small stand on the floor that their spiralling queue around it was never really dented every time people went in. Avengers, one of the bigger presences, had a 2+ hour queue. Final Fantasy was a similar story. Call of Duty, again had a very small section of floor space. Thankfully I caught that at a good time of the day and managed to get on with only a 30-minute wait.
I think part of the problem is the time of the year EGX was held. Mid October is probably a bit too late, with a lot of the games that people want to play already having been released, or at least have been playable in some form. Though it was a surprise to see a big title like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order missing. It also doesn’t help that Xbox have their own XO19 in London next month which will have surely impacted their decision to attend.
I also struggled with some of the indie games. In the past there have been developers their representatives buzzing around the stands, keen to promote their new games. This time around there were a number of times where I was sat at a screen, clearly having no idea what was going on, or what to do, and there was no one around to advise. This is obviously not a fault of EGX itself, but I felt it strange that the this was the case. I’d have thought that the smaller studios would be doing everything they can to get people to purchase their games, and this approach only achieves the opposite effect.
I firmly believe that the quality of EGX has been dropping over the last few years. Next year will be a big one for EGX, with the likelihood of the next generation of consoles being released at the end of 2020 being high, if they can’t get it right then, I don’t think they ever will. There were still some enjoyable parts to my day at EGX, and it was really the smaller games (where I was able to get a grasp of what was going on) that were the highlights of the day. So, let’s look at the games I did actually play.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare – I may aswell start with the biggest game of the day. This was a straight up 6v6 team deathmatch showing. Now, there’s been a lot of online hype around this release. It’s almost being portrayed as the saviour of the COD series. I was expecting some sort of revolutionary game, but in reality, it felt like same old COD to me. While there’s no argument that the shooting mechanics will always be solid, bar some obvious polish to the visuals, nothing felt particularly new here. There is a back to basics feel, which is quite possibly all the COD faithful are looking for. But personally, I was hoping that this would draw me back in to the franchise, but I think I’m over it now.
Wanba Warriors – One of the things I love about EGX, is finding a random hidden gem. Wanba Warriors was that and was probably my game of the show. This is a fun little beat ‘em up with a really interesting mechanic that led to laughs and general fun gameplay. It appears to be a hand draw game, with simplistic character and environment designs, but with an obvious attempt to create its own character. The left analog stick is the primary control method, and gives you control over your weapon. Which comes in the form of lances, hammers, axes etc. The best way I can describe how it looks though, is a long cotton bud. And you need to time your swings of your weapons to move your character around and take out your opponent. It’s difficult to explain. So take a look at the trailer below.
Narcos: Rise of the Cartels – This game continues the theme of the remainder of the games on this list of games that I’ve never heard of before this event. Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is an XCOM type turn based game, that has the full license of the Narcos Netlfix series. I managed to play through a quick level near the beginning of the game. And from that I’m fully expecting to buy it on released. I’m a massive fan of the Narcos series and loved the gameplay mechanics of XCOM. It’s a perfect match. Look out for its release in November of this year.
Boundary – Do you like space? How about first-person shooters? Boundary could well be right up your street. PVP action around a space station was on display here. And while the controls seemed a little loose, and the physics either a bit off, or take longer to get used to than I thought they would, there is some potential here. I don’t expect it to push the big names in the genre, but a little tweaking here and there could see it fill a gap in the market for people looking for a COD like shooter in space.
Inertial Drift – A fun take on a racing game here. Billed as a ‘twin stick racer’, this is all about drifting. Don’t expect to be able to turn properly with the one analogue stick, the usual directional controls do minimal movement and its all about swinging the car out with the right stick. Controlling the amount of braking and acceleration dictates your ability to turn corners. There were only 3 cars to choose from at EGX but each felt drastically different. I’m not expecting big things from the game, but it’ll be a fun rest bite for people who want 15 minutes of gameplay to take them away from the more serious games.
Tony Slopes – Talking to taking away from more serious games. Tony Slopes takes the award for most bizarre game of the day. This is a racing game at its core. But you take control of a man in a bathtub, or a guy in a shopping trolley on skis, or even a bloke riding a blue whale. It was the latter that drew my attention as we were waking past the booth. This is a downhill racer on a snowy mountain side, with the ability to create a host of strange and wonderful characters, who’s vehicles range from the weird to the insane. It’s nice to have games like this from time to time, and while I can’t see myself buying it, I’m fully expecting some fun YouTube videos to come of it. It would make a perfect house party game with a few drinks.