It’s that time of year where all gamer’s from around the world descend on the Birmingham NEC for the biggest UK gaming event of the year, EGX 2016 returns for its second year at the new venue. We spent a couple of days hanging around, playing games drinking and eating and at times falling asleep, while speaking to fellow gamers that share the same passion about games as ourselves. So what was good and what was bad and what was the highlight of the event?
Firstly I would like to talk about the event itself, last year seemed a bit disorganised, but this year the queuing system was vastly improved with everyone being able to get into the event five minutes after doors opened, and it’s great that everyone gets in quickly. The EGX floor had plenty on offer with games covering most formats, but their was a distinct lack of presence there from Xbox and Nintendo, which seemed a missed opportunity to show of games such as Forza Horizon 3 or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The majority of the event seemed to be Playstation specific which wasn’t a bad thing as there were some great stands showing off some fabulous games and hardware, but you just felt that the show was incomplete with these publishers not being present.
What a show they had with so many games on offer and not enough time to play them all, the most prominent stands that were on show was for the Playstation VR and titles such as GT Sport & Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare which had people queuing up in their masses to play.
Gran Turismo Sport was set up in pods with the full racing gear with wheel and pedals, as gamer’s got to race around the Brands Hatch track which showed of some outstanding graphics and even though the cosmetic damage wasn’t apparent the final game will provide this option, what I was surprised about was the car handling and responsiveness of the controls and the handling of the car as I don’t usually react well to corners and usually spend most of the time off roading, but I held it together for the most part of it and ended up finishing 4th.
The Highlight for me was playing Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare on the PlayStation VR, and I am emphasizing that it takes a lot to impress me but I was completely blown away with how immersive the Playstation VR technology is, I instantly associated the level with the cockpit scene from the movie Avatar as the level that I got the opportunity to play through was the solo VR space battle within the game were you had complete control of the craft. The experience was so immersive I could’ve so easily spent hours looking around the cockpit and the inside of the hanger but I had to just hit that Launch button and fly out into a level which actually gave me goose bumps as I have never had so much excitement about a game in such a long time. Call of Duty may only have one VR compatible mission as the rest is designed just using the controller so expect games such as Battle Zone and Drive Club VR to offer even more depth of immersive gameplay.
I would like to thank Paul, Ross, Jamie & Louise from Playstation who were very helpful to any questions that were thrown their way, not just by myself but in general with release dates or any relevant information to the games on show.
Even though their was an overall lack of presence by Microsoft there from their usual main stand and the opportunity to show of the Xbox One S and the latest customised controllers there were still plenty of games for the console to get your hands on and play, these titles included Final Fantasy XV, Gears of War 4 and Titanfall 2 to name a few.
Final Fantasy XV was an enjoyable experience to play showing some of the world you will get to explore in the final game, with a decent play-through allowing you to complete a couple of missions, kill some enemies and drive a car has made me want to get this game so much, probably the only negative aspect of FFXV was the stamina bar which breaks up the constant sprint.
Gears of War 4 had two queues; one for Campaign and one for Horde mode, this was a game that seemed to steal the show for Xbox as it was set up using the new Xbox One S, the only downside was you had to wait up to 3 hours to get a game on the Horde mode. The campaign queue wasn’t as big but it gave you the chance to play through a small portion of the story which will appetise you for the full game which is release in a couple of weeks.
The biggest disappointment for me was Titanfall 2, as all they had on show was the Tech Test build which included all the maps and game modes from the Test last month, also the lack of big titles such as Forza Horizon 3, and the lack of Hardware for show felt like a missed opportunity.
Other Xbox One games that they had on show where games like Battlefield 1,Sniper Elite 4 and Dishonoured 2 were also present and had a great amount of interest from gamers.
As with EGX there is a decent amount of games and hardware on offer for PC gamers, and even though most of the event is dominated by Sony or Xbox, this year had a good mix of Hardware and Software on show.
PC Specialists were partnered with Intel to show of some lovely looking PC Builds hooked up via network play, also their was some stands showing of VR technology such as the Oculus rift.
As for games it seemed that the small independent games seemed to off stolen the show with games like Gang Beasts providing fun & entertaining gameplay.
Retro Gaming takes you down that good old nostalgic memory lane trip, with an extensive library on offer this year covering consoles such as the Megadrive, Sega Saturn, PS one(Mini Version) and the original Xbox with the original black or crystal version on show, this was a great site to look back on the old dashboard of the Xbox and still see gamers still having a passion for older games and consoles.
For anyone wanting to get in the games industry this was the place to be with some insightful sessions provide information on game development, game design and marketing, for me this being held in the Rezzed area was at times hard to hear as the ambient noise from nearby stands made it hard at times for myself to hear while also at times it became a distraction to some of the presenters.
Developer Sessions ran throughout each day of the event and gave the general public the chance to see new footage of upcoming games such as Forza Horizon 3 and Hitman Episode 5 , but also the opportunity to give Feedback in Q & A sessions afterwards.
These sessions felt really engaging and rewarding for anyone who had the time to go along and sit in, which showed the difference between the Rezzed area and the Developer Sessions which provides the question of an enclosed room for these type of sessions does work.
As with any event whether it’s Comic Con or EGX, dressing up for Cosplay is part of the experience, there was plenty of tutorials on costume building but it was the Costume Masquerades that seemed to attract the crowds as they showed off some good and some bad costumes.
It was all in good fun with a great mix of costumes throughout the event with Fallout 4 themed costumes around the event being the most common, and with the recent release of Suicide Squad and Deadpool you had a few people strutting their stuff as Harley Quinn and the Red trash talking Hero Deadpool.
My final thoughts that even though the event felt incomplete with the lack of presence from Microsoft and Nintendo this year’s EGX event was enjoyable one with plenty on offer, especially from PlayStation and their VR experience seemed to be the highlight of the event.
It wasn’t all Sony’s way as Publishers like Square Enix and Bandai Namco seemed to have the most games on show with big titles like Tomb Raider and Tekken 7 while smaller titles like Little Nightmares & Dragon Quest Builders peaked people’s interest.
EGX 2016 had so much else on offer which included Side entertainment from huge Chocobos, Zombies, Tournaments for games such as Tekken 7 & Overwatch and there was plenty of stands with Merchandise for sale.