The biggest event on the UK gaming calendar, EGX 2017, is already over, but there were plenty of exciting things to see and do at this year’s show, so let’s see if we can remember a few.
This year, for the first time ever, we’ve singled out the top showings from the event into an easy to digest list of awards, so that you can jump into the comments and disagree vehemently.
One To Watch: Yoku's Island Express
A delightful little game coming from Team 17 in 2018 combines traditional 2D platforming with a more mobile-friendly pinball element, which sees your character - the titular Yoku - only able to jump by using bumpers embedded throughout the level. Feeling somewhat reminiscent of the Sonic 2 Casino Nights Zone but with an aesthetic closer to recent iterations of Rayman, what we’ve played so far has us hooked and itching for more.
Biggest Disappointment: Far Cry 5
A change of location, villain and tone isn’t enough to spark interest in Ubisoft’s explore-'em-up franchise. While we’ve only had limited exposure to previous games (personally), the performance of the demo in particular was very poor and really muddied what would otherwise have been a serviceable shooter experience. The ability to take command of a dog is a nice touch but hardly unheard of in today’s gaming world.
Best Newcomer: Raiders of the Broken Planet
While Sam and James already have some hands-on time with Mercury Steam’s asymmetrical third-person shooter, it was clear the development team had since spent some considerable time polishing things up. The game feels fresh and unafraid to present brash, unattractive characters in building its sci-fi world. While the game plays best in multiplayer, it’s compelling in single-player as well, and in chunks just the right size for its simple and effective mission objectives. Expect more on this one soon.
The 'Shut Up and Take Money’ Award: Mario Odyssey
This award is fairly self-explanatory. We’ve already gushed on our podcast about how much we’re looking forward to Mario’s next adventure, and after just a 15 minute demo that’s enough for us to say we don’t want to know any more until the full game is in our hands. Swimming costumes aside, the design and presentation is some of the best we’ve seen on the Switch, even rivaling Zelda’s stylised look in terms of sheer shininess. The variety offered by Cappy alone is impressive, and certainly not just a gameplay gimmick.
Most Ridiculous Queue: Shadow of War
It cannot be overstated how large the queue to play Middle Earth: Shadow of War was, on both days we attended the show. We have no doubt that the final game will offer a wealth of Tolkein-inspired goodness for us to immerse ourselves in, but dipping our toe in the water proved out of the question at EGX itself. Fortunately, there’s quite a few trailers to look at in the meantime, including ones which talk more about the nemesis system, which we can’t wait to explore.
Game of the Show: Vostock Inc.
When we were invited by Wired Productions to try out an unannounced (at the time) title for Nintendo Switch, speculation ran wild for what the game might be. It’s fair to say that we never expected anything quite like Vostock Inc. Already released on PC, Xbox and PlayStation, the Switch version is undoubtedly the way the game is intended to be played. There’s wall to wall character and humour built into the game at every turn, as you’re put in charge of a company tasked with making as much Mulah (the universal currency) as possible. It combined idle gameplay elements which see your cashflow tick up when you aren’t even playing the game, with tons of content thrown in to keep you coming back for more.
Platform of the Show: Nintendo Switch
Everywhere you looked at the show - you could see the Nintendo Switch. Whether it was the games on show or eager gamers passing time in the queues, this year shows the real potential of the hybrid platform. Now that the launch period dry spell is over, there’s plenty to look forward to, not just Mario (with the superlative Mario+Rabbids just released and Odyssey not far away) either, there’s Fire Emblem Warriors, indie games and ports (Wolfenstein anyone?) galore to look forward to.
Honourable Mention: Hyper Sentinel
One title which shouldn’t go unmentioned is Hyper Sentinel. Not only is it sharp, but CEO & Creative Director Rob Hewson’s commitment with both outfit and swag is absolutely what EGX is about. Aside from dressing in full space pilot attire, he furnished us with treats from days of yore - flying saucers and Space Invaders crisps.
Take a look at his geddup, and his thoughts on the game, in our round-up video.