My Impressions of 5 unreleased games from EGX 2019
As this year’s EGX comes to an end here are my impressions of 5 unreleased games that I experienced first-hand (in no particular order).
Released: Winter 2019
Röki is an adventure-puzzle game inspired by Scandinavian folklore. You play as young girl Trove and embark on a quest to find her missing family in a world filled with fairy tale monsters.
I’m a huge fan of indie-games which encompass emotional storytelling and mature narratives, like Sea of Solitude and What Remains of Edith Finch. Often in these games the gameplay takes a back-seat and the actual game is very simplistic. In Röki, although the gameplay follows this trend, I did find it quite compelling.
In essence, you explore areas, collect items and solve puzzles. Collected items go in your inventory and can be dragged on screen to interact with the environment. For example I used a brooch to pick a lock on a gate and enter a snow covered graveyard. Items can also be combined, such as adding a rope to a bear trap to help a troll remove a rusty nail embedded in his shoulder. It reminded me of classic point and click adventures which I loved growing up like Day of the Tentacle. Throughout my twenty minutes with the game I even had a couple of eureka moments which are the sign of a great puzzle game.
On top of this the soundtrack is beautiful, with minimalist electronic arrangements (which reminded me of ‘For Marmish’ by Floating Points) and multiple strings and relaxing flutes a la Breath of the Wild. Everything combines to create something remarkable, making Röki the best game I played at EGX.
2. Luigi’s Mansion 3
Release: 31st October 2019
In my Luigi’s Mansion 2 review I highlighted how the clunky controls, infuriating boss battles and repetitive combat almost ruined the entire game. As such, when waiting in line at the Nintendo area at EGX I was eager to see if these these issues been addressed.
The first thing I noticed was the improved combat, which has much greater variety. Additional moves allow you to slam a ghost into the ground over and over again, which was incredibly satisfying, and a plunger ability allows you to pull away a ghosts shield breaking their defences. The polterpup, ghost dog (who was annoying in the last game as he constantly stole key items) is now your companion to assist in battle. When reeling in a ghost the polterpup runs behind you and helps pull in the opposite direction. You can even rotate Luigi while operating the Poltergust giving an increased sense of flexibility (and less like mooring a narrowboat).
Although I saw improvements in the controls and combat, there is still a major issue with the games boss battles. At the end of the demo I fought a ghost in a suit of armour who tried to joust me from horseback. Again, like in the last game you have to wait your turn to attack making the whole experience feel like a game of chess. He gallops around the area for a minute, which is ludicrously easy to avoid, before opening himself up to take damage.
I hope this formula isn’t applied to the other bosses in the game. I only saw one, so it’s hard to say.
3. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
Platform: PS4/Xbox One/Windows
Release: 16th January 2020
I’m not entirely sure of the events that unfolded on-screen during my brief demo of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot at EGX. Playing as Goku with Piccolo at my side, I was thrown into an intense battle against Raditz, as everybody zipped around and fired energy blasts at each other (it felt like I was stood two feet away from a New Years-eve firework display). It was hard to comprehend what was happening, but it was spectacularly fun. Each hit felt weighty, movement was light speed fast and unleashing Goku’s signature Kamehameha ticked all the boxes on the power fantasy form.
Although I spent my time trying to defeat Raditz, on the screen next to me I could see Goku flying around an open world area on his Nimbus cloud. It all looked great with vibrant aesthetically pleasing colours and I can’t wait to play it again.
4. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Release: 1st November 2019
Mario and Sonic at the Olympics is a great family friendly game that I’m confident anybody can enjoy. It utilises the motion controls on the Switch to emulate the feeling of each of its events which include; archery, karate, hurdles, surfing, skateboarding and more. During the demo I played karate against my brother which saw Waluigi go toe-to-toe with Dr. Eggman (others chose Peach versus Bowser which is even more hilariously absurd). The combat was simple with punch, kick, grapple block, but each hit filled the super meter to unleash an Injustice style super move, which is much appreciated.
We then moved on to Archery and with a Joy Con in each hand we emulated holding a bow. With our right hand we pulled back as if we were pulling the string and took our aim. It felt great releasing an arrow after lining up our shots and also surprisingly competitive – at the end of the match we both wanted ‘just one more’ game.
5. Cyberpunk 2077
Platform: Xbox One/ PS4/ PC
Release: 16th April 2020
During the forty-five minute live gameplay presentation for Cyberpunk, I saw an extended version of the ‘Deep Dive’ video from last month. Going in, I already knew that the dialogue options, RPG systems and immersive atmosphere were going to be world class, but one thing that blew me away was the design and variety of each location.
Walking around Pacifica felt unbelievably realistic. We entered a butchers, who only sell synthetic meat (as real meat is only for the wealthiest residents of Night City), then we infiltrated an abandoned mall accompanied by a heart pounding electro soundtrack making each step forwards supremely tense. At the core of the mall our mission objective took us inside an old cinema as a Spaghetti Western played on the projector. Then we ventured into an old subway and eventually into cyberspace in a visually mind blowing scene. I just wanted to start exploring the world straight away.
I am slightly worried about the gunplay though. When creating a first-person shooter it’s so difficult to get it right first time (look at Fallout 3 for example). Will it feel like a modern day shooter? Or will everything feel a bit ‘off’? Without playing the game, we can only speculate.
Thankfully, the gunplay looked fantastic with chunky mechanical sound effects and enemies reacting when shot. The Netrunner class also showcased its hacking wire, which can be used as a razor sharp whip sending disembodied arms and legs flying into the air in brutal, gritty fashion.
All in all, I can’t wait for April next year. Cyberpunk looks set to be a contender for game of the generation.