EGX is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, gaming events of the year in the United Kingdom. This year saw my third trip to the expo, and even without Nintendo displaying any games (not even the new Legend of Zelda title), I’d say it was a great year. I think this is because I explored more than just my comfort zone of Ninty games, although there was the superb Yooka-Laylee there, and boy was there a lot on offer!
What I saw first was the impressive range of indie games, in EGX’s ‘Rezzed’ section. Of course there was the aforementioned Yooka-Laylee, which was just a delight to play. Despite a couple frame-rate drops, the game looks gorgeous (especially compared to many indie titles), and I had fun simply by exploring the environment. With the announcement that Shovel Knight was digging his way into Banjo-Kazooie’s spiritual successor during EGX too, this is sure to be a fine adventure when it launches next year. I also had a good time with other smaller titles, like Black & White Bushido and Flat Heroes, but there were two games that particularly stood out for me.
I was offered the chance to play Windlands, and it was this demo that marked my first time trying out virtual reality. I was impressed by how much it does take you into the game, not to mention how good playing the game was or the feel of the PlayStation VR headset. I will be trying to do an article on Windlands as soon as possible, but in short, I had a good time with it. Another game that I’m planning on writing about is the excellent Earthbound-inspired YIIK: A Postmodern RPG. The combat felt great and had a nice flow to it, not to mention the quirky enemy design and the wide range of music played during battles. Simply put, if you loved Earthbound or anything like the SNES classic, then you’ll love YIIK.
I also had a go at stalls from other big names in the business, namely SEGA and PlayStation. For the former it was only Sonic Mania, and again, I had a good time speeding through the levels. At Sony’s big booth there was a ‘mission’ of sorts. If you gained 5 stamps from certain areas within the booth, you’d get a cool poster and a sweet PS4 lanyard. Whilst I wasn’t able to play Horizon: Zero Dawn, I managed to spend some time with Final Fantasy XV. It seems I may need a bit more time with it, as is with the case with many JRPGs for me, but it certainly has piqued my interest. World of Final Fantasy plays in the style of a traditional JRPG, and you can stack mirages with your characters to raise overall defence, but only attack once a turn for each person instead of a possible three. But it does seem to be one for fans of Square-Enix’s beloved series, given that you can summon characters from past instalments to deal big damage.
All that’s left was an impressive display of retro games. There were many sections dedicated to specific genres like rhythm games, or even an history of a certain series (such as Mario Kart). It was a grand place to be in if you did a nice place to relax, yet I wish I could have brought a friend or two so I can beat their arse in Mario Strikers or something like that. In addition, there was a library of sorts, where you can choose a game and then go to one of the many consoles set up and play it.
For EGX, that was just about it. Sadly I wasn’t able to play Kingdom Hearts II.8 or the new South Park game, mainly due to time constraints. And would I preferred if Nintendo was there? Of course, but it doesn’t mean this wasn’t a good event. With a more logical set-up, stalls of gaming merch and places to eat, and of course, fantastic games to play, EGX 2016 was still a wonderful show, and I’m looking even more forward to next year’s.