The EGX expo has upped sticks from its old London home, packed its bags and moved north to the centre of the UK with a new bigger, better home at the NEC Birmingham. With more space and a location to suit all, it was filled to the brim with developers, publishers, big brands, small indie studios and fans. Many fans of all shapes, sizes, colours, creeds and allegiances in fact.
I knew from previous shows that gamers of all ages are more than happy to stand in a queue for hours on end just as long as they got the chance to check out some of the biggest, brightest and best games of 2015 and beyond. Whether that game is already out and available to play in the comfort of their own home, dropping in only a few days or indeed still some months from release, the excitement and glamour of the games show brings out the very best – and worst of gamers.
With numerous titles on show and a whole four days to get to grips with them, queuing was never going to be too much of an issue…but which were the titles that stood out head and shoulders above the rest? Indeed, which were our five games that stole EGX 2015?
Rise of the Tomb Raider
There is no doubt that the star of the Xbox EGX show was Lara Croft. Whilst the queues for Halo 5 Guardians were long, and the Elite controller was getting caressed by many, the facts were that we kind of knew what to expect from those.
To a degree, we also knew what to expect from Rise of the Tomb Raider, but being given the chance to check out one of the tombs that will be in place when the game releases in November, going fully hands on with Ms Croft was an experience like no other.
Yes, it looks glorious, yes Lara dies an awful lot (well under my supervision she does) and yes, ‘Rise of’ is in its most basic form an extension to the previous Tomb Raider reboot, but every single second of our hands on with Rise of the Tomb Raider were unforgettable…and judging by the looks on those also leaving the enclosed booth, we weren’t alone with those thoughts.
We’d been lucky enough to spend some time with Gear Gauntlet prior to the show and thankfully it didn’t disappoint this time either!
An absolutely brutal beast of a game, Gear Gauntlet has you controlling a gear through numerous levels, collecting points, hitting multiple paths and navigating your way through coloured blocks along the way. Holding down the corresponding button on your Xbox One controller in order to make your way through, the premise is simple enough, but with fast paced gameplay and some extremely well design levels in place, nothing is as simple as it seems.
We’ll no doubt be seeing Gear Gauntlet appearing on the Xbox One Games Store soon and with a few little tweaks to the system, should be something all puzzle gamers – and those who just wish to test themselves – should flock to.
Until EGX I’d never heard of Ironcast but the invite to check out Dreadbit’s upcoming match three, steampunk, turn-based strategic affair was something we were never going to turn down.
Taking control of a huge Ironcast mech, you’ll be tasked with pushing back the invading forces by powering up your titan with both weapons and defensive systems. With over 50 unlockable items allowing for a huge number of mech customisations, you’ll want to not only focus on the match three system that powers the whole unit, but also keep a keen eye on exactly what your opponent is doing.
Permadeath is something that scares many, but play your cards right and Ironcast could well turn out to be a bit of a strategic hit.
Candy Crush it certainly is not!
Deus Ex Mankind Divided
It may not have been open to the entire public, instead hidden away in a little corner of the over-18s section, and it would have been lovely to have settled down on a comfy chair, controller in hand giving us the chance to check out the new improved Adam Jensen, but a hands off demo presentation of Mankind Divided will just have to do.
With a back story to best all other back stories, some stunning visuals, multiple routes and various playthroughs all in place, Mankind Divided looks to have upped the ante from its Human Revolution predecessor. Gone are the old forced playstyles, instead replaced by the gamers choice, with the option of going through the entire game without firing a single bullet more than doable…although we all know the real fun will come about by going in with all guns blazing!
The Augment your Pre-order scheme may have seen gamers up in arms, but the title behind it looks like it’ll quite easily be on the GOTY 2016 lists of many.
Adam Jensen demands it.
LEGO Dimensions threatens to finally tear up the slightly staid, slightly dour LEGO videogame universe with the inclusion of numerous fan favourite brands, all completely customisable, switchable and playable with one another. Going hands on with Dimensions at EGX was a joy and proved that the power of LEGO will near-on always push any negatives firmly into the background.
There’s going to be a lot of hands on, hands off action with LEGO Dimensions and the stop start nature of the game may well frustrate those who just want to get to grips with Batman, WyldStyle and Co. but once the basics are nailed down, it promises to bring a fully fledged LEGO adventure like no other.
The only real downside may just be that the promise of more packs by the day, eventually sees the costs spiral out of control. But hey, what’s money?!
EGX 2015 was a huge success for all those interested in the Xbox way of life. Did we miss anything out? Let us know which were your show favourites in the comments section below.