EGX – the time the UK finally gets to witness some of the greatest upcoming games in the industry. With a huge showing from Playstation, an equally large arena dedicated to Nintendo, and a serious lack of Xbox branding, there were games for just about everyone. Whilst we’ll cover the ‘ones to watch’ in a separate piece, for now, these are the 6 most incredible games that we got time with at EGX 2018.
1. Metro: Exodus
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Metro Exodus was the best game being shown at EGX 2018.
If you like story driven shooting adventures then you will love Metro Exodus. If you like Metro: 2033 or Metro: Last light, you too will enjoy everything that Exodus delivers. Hell, should you even just like games, chances are Metro Exodus should be pinging high on your radar. Yes, it really is going to be that good. And judging by the unexpected length of queues that surrounded the show booth, many more will be coming away from the event thinking something along those same lines.
Coming from 4A Games, this is a title that is already oozing quality. Mixing together a ton of combat, a huge emphasis on stealth and enough survival horror to drag in even the most hardened Resident Evil fans, once more the Metro world is ready to come alive.
This time round we head back to Russia, and as much as the show demo time allowed, this wilderness is a vast one that takes us through multiple seasons including that of a nuclear winter. As you would expect, the environment is harsh but the journey is real and those spending hands-on time with Exodus at EGX would have walked away feeling the after-effects of the post-apocalyptic Russian world.
Full of atmosphere, more immersion then you can shake a gas mask at, and enough choice to not just determine your comrades’ fate, but ensure you keep going back for more, Metro Exodus is going to be one of those must-players come its release in early 2019.
2. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Stood in the lengthy Ubisoft queue I heard rumblings that AC Odyssey was ‘just Origins with a new skin’. Well, I’m hoping those who dared utter those words took them back straight after some time with the latest AC experience. It is much, much more than that.
You may find that Ubisoft continue to crack out Assassin’s Creed title after Assassin’s Creed title, but you’d be hard pushed to find someone who doesn’t like what they’ve delivered to gamers. After a little break prior to Origins, it’s fair to say that the usual high standards have been knocked up a gear too, and this is hugely evident in Odyssey.
Arriving in Greece and playing as either Alexios or Kassandra – although my time with Odyssey at the show was strictly limited to the former – you’ll find that it brings much more of the same as before, but with enough little tweaks and polish put in place to deliver an all new experience.
Parkouring is fluid, combat is ever so responsive and chatting away to any NPC that may get in your way is delightful. Yes, a bit of lip syncing mismatch was present, but that shouldn’t allow anyone to take anything away from the gorgeous world that Ubisoft have once again created.
In fact, other than the Forza series of games, I’m very much of the opinion that Assassin’s Creed Origins is the best looking game available on console. Or at least it is until Odyssey releases because the vistas taken in with my 20 minute playthrough were utterly stunning. Climb to the top of a synchronisation point – as has been the case for every single AC title through the years – and those views get better still.
Multiple missions and side quests were present in this play, and history proves that will again be the case when the fight between Athens and Sparta kicks off when Assassin’s Creed Odyssey releases in October. If it’s time to put Bayek from AC Origins to bed for good, then the upcoming Grecian tale will see your inner assassin come out once more.
3. The Division 2
Forget what you know about the going-ons that hit New York and The Division back in 2016. For The Division 2 really does seem to be pushing the boundaries even more.
Set in Washington DC, The Division 2 will once again see you lead a team of elite agents into a post-pandemic world. Your task of trying to stop the chaos, restore the order and ultimately ensure that Washington stays standing is going to be a tough one, but from a 15-20 minutes hand on time with the game, it’s going to be just as addictive, just as enthralling and just as tough as last time out.
Teamwork is most definitely key to any success within the world of The Division and that is no more true here than with the sequel. With 3 other agents alongside you, you’ll find yourself utilising a variety of classes and weaponry in order to take down the scum that come your way. Flanking one side to the next, taking cover wherever possible before peaking over the parapet and firing rounds of bullets towards any foes will pretty much be par for the course in The Division 2. But with a huge open world to explore, it’s not the be all and end all of the action.
Of course, with a limited scope available at the show, both in terms of characters, foes and exploration opportunities, how this all comes together is slightly up in the air, but taking past experiences to hand, and having enjoyed some pretty stunning cooperative action in and amongst the EGX madness, signs for The Division 2 are looking very healthy indeed.
4. GRIP: Combat Racing
Forza Motorsport has got the track racing scene sewn up, whilst it’s Horizon sibling has covered the open world aspect. But what of the arcade racer? I mean the arcade racer with powerups and weapons galore that just wants to deal with fun? Well, there’s most definitely a gap in the market. And that’s where GRIP: Combat Racing comes in.
Inspired by the brilliant Rollcage from back in the day, and delivering an experience that hasn’t been seen since the time of Blur, GRIP: Combat Racing could well be in prime position to satisfy the needs of gamers who just want to jump behind the wheel of a car, before hooning it around without a care in the world, utilising powerups and taking down their mates in the process.
Selling itself as a ‘high-octane, hardcore combat racer’, GRIP delivers speed like no other and weapons that wouldn’t be out of place in the best shooters. With physics that defy gravity, it isn’t long before you forget which way is up as you hurtle along a variety of tracks, discovering secret paths in order to make it to the end before anyone else.
Crossing the line first isn’t always the priority though and multiple game modes ensure that anyone looking to spend a bit of time with GRIP will be well catered for – as long as a destructible environment, devastating weapons and utter annihilation of any opponents is what is being requested.
5. Just Cause 4
Yeah okay, so Just Cause 4 wasn’t playable at EGX. But my god, it looks like it is going to be something that is incredible fun. Just like its predecessor was.
Jumping into the boots of Rico Rodriguez once more is something that many gamers will want to involve themselves with, if only because grappling, wingsuiting and general messing around is in plentiful supply with Just Cause 4.
Throw in the fact that millions of combinations of game modifiers will be in place, letting you create the game YOU want – flying tank, anyone? – and you’ll find that all the usual Just Cause chaos and destruction has just moved up another level. You’d be a bit crazy to not want to get yourself involved with the South American world of Solis when Rico comes careering into action in December.
It’s not just going to be Just Cause 3.5 either and with more than 1000 square kilometres to explore, taking you across the most vast deserts and scaling the snowiest of mountain peaks, if you can see it in Just Cause 4, you can go there. How? Well that is up to you to improvise.
As always though, firing off a little rocket to scare the locals is what Rico does best, but this time round he’ll need to be on his guard as the inclusion of extreme weather effects look to throw an extra spanner in the works. Tropical lightning storms look stunning, and dust clouds ensure that any hint of trouble can easily be covered over in a second.
Rico Rodriguez is ready to bring the thunder. The question is… are you?
6. Beyond Blue
It’s all well and good feeling the hype surrounding the blockbuster titles that are churned out, but every once in a while it will do you well to dip your toes into the glorious indie scene. With the stunning Never Alone behind them, and a collaboration with the BBC in tow, E-Line Media are looking to push the educational, informative genre to the next level with Beyond Blue. Judging by the hands-on shown at EGX, and the copious amounts of praise being delivered from all comers, they are once more on to a bit of a hit with this underwater experience.
But what is Beyond Blue? Well, basically put it wraps a wetsuit around your body before throwing you into the deep blue ocean. And then leaves you to explore the magic.
This may see you following a set mission structure, diving into the dark and discovering wonderful creatures that you never knew existed, or it may just mean you take a bit of time out, scanning the creatures that move on by, giving details on giant turtles or ocean sunfish. All of this is done not just for entertainment, but in order to develop your knowledge of the world under the waves, probing the mysteries of the ocean and utilising groundbreaking technology, as you go.
With the BBC on board – with them allowing access to plenty of footage from their Blue Planet II series – E-Line are promising much along the same lines of Never Alone, dropping in real world footage where possible and ensuring that games don’t just have to look great and be fun… they can also be educational.
In the case of Beyond Blue, it’s most certainly going to be a game that covers each of those requirements.
So there are our thoughts, what did you think of the EGX 2018 show? Did anything else stand out for you? Were you just as dismayed by the lack of Xbox showing as we were? Let us know in the comments below.