Having been to a few of the main Eurogamer events in the past I was keen to see what the smaller, more indie focused Rezzed event was going to be like. Without the big draw of AAA titles, would this still feel like an exciting and entertaining gaming event or would I be watching the tumbleweed roll by…
Well from the outset I was not disappointed, as every square inch of the Tobacco dock arena in London was jam-packed with games and geeks galore! With every console catered for along with PC’s, VR and racing sims there was something there for everyone to enjoy.
I couldn’t help but start my day by stopping by the Special Effect room. These people are absolute super heroes! They design and adapt gaming controllers so that people with physical disabilities can game on like everyone. I first came across them at Eurogamer a few years back and tried out eye-capture technology on a racing game. This allowed me to play a rally driving game with just my eyes. How amazing is that?! This tech can mean that even people that are paralysed from the neck down can play games with their friends and family on a level playing field.
More recently Special Effect have been working with Microsoft to produce their adaptive controller. Launched last September the adaptive controller can be used stand-alone, but also has the option of being able to plug in up to 19 other controllers/aids via 3.5mm jack and two via USB.
This unit is really versatile and easy to work with, as was shown at their booth. I played a few rounds of towerfall with a friend, both of us using the adaptive controller and some add-ons. It took a short while to get used to but felt really natural after not long and was a great blast. It’s amazing that Microsoft have made this controller, and also raised some awareness of the need for it and the hard work done by charities like Special Effect.
There were literally hundreds of games on hand to play, far too many to try and get round them all or even most of them! It seems that the Rogue-like and Metroidvania style games are still very popular at the moment as they were everywhere, and some were really quite unique looking. They are not my cup of tea I’m afraid so I didn’t play any to comment on.
Turn-based shooters however are right up my street and I was chuffed to see two noteworthy games that caught my eye:
The first was Phoenix Point which is being made with Julian Gollop – the creator of the Original X-COM title. This is his new baby and it looks like he’s going full tilt with it, not only does the game look amazing but there is already a whole load of lore out there to digest before the game releases in September.
With the help of Dr Alan Stroud and Jonas Kyratzes the characters, locations and races all have a deep, rich storyline to be discovered in different ways online. This feels very much like when Halo was first announced along with the Fall of Reach novel, giving keen players a glimpse into the world they were about to be a part of. What a great move and one that should ensure the game launches with a keen fanbase.
The game promises so much more that a well thought out narrative though. Kevin from Snapshot games was keen to tell me about all the features of the game, most of which got me quite excited:
• Post-apocalyptic world, the Pandoravirus has reaped havoc and mutated people into horrific monsters
• Gameplay to be fluid and involves exploration, espionage and stealth
• 3 main factions to choose between. You can ally with the other two, just one of them, or be sneaky and play them off against each other – its up to you how you play
• Can trade or use diplomacy with the factions
• Enemies mutate and evolve throughout the game
• Maps are procedurally generated making no two playthroughs the same, or being able to learn where all the enemies are on multiple attempts
• Bullets have a cone of fire rather than a straight line, making every bullet count
• Pool of action points, rather than a two-phase system
• Many different endings depending on what decisions you make
The second turn-based shooter I saw was Dreadlands. Now by the time I saw this game I was on my last legs so couldn’t hang around to give it a play, but I did chat to the dev for a bit whilst watching someone else have a go.
The Borderlands inspired art-style fits in great with the post-apocalyptic world that has been created.
What makes this turn-based shooter a bit different is not the art style however, but in the fact that players are in a shared open-world. This means that whilst you are doing your thing fighting the AI, you could come across other players which could create a potential PVPVE scenario. Whether you choose to fight them or work together to kill the AI is up to you, and will make every encounter different. I really like this concept, and am keen to see how it plays out
The ID@XBOX stand was absolutely rammed all day so squeezing in to get a play on some of the great new upcoming titles was really hard, but I did manage to get hands-on with an awesome game from Megagon Industries called Lonely Mountains.
I had never heard of this game before but when I saw it being played I was instantly drawn to it. Lonely Mountains Downhill is a mountain bike game that sees you trying to get to the bottom of the mountain as fast as possible whilst passing through checkpoints.
The joy of this game is how it plays, which is so simple but also so rewarding. There are two control systems; one is simple left and right from the rider’s perspective, the other is hard to describe but is basically pointing in the direction you want to go but not from the rider’s perspective. Yeah hard to describe… but really great to play with. It’s odd and counter-intuitive at first but once you get the hang of it is precise and rewarding.
The art style of this game is like a smoothed-out version of Minecraft, nothing over-complicated or texture-heavy just clean and simple. There are 4 different mountains to ride down, each of which have their own unique look and terrain, but are all really pleasing to the eye.
Trying to get a cleaner, faster line down the mountain is really addictive and this will make for a great party game, or one to smash your friends’ leaderboard times!
Another game I caught a glimpse of but didn’t manage to play was Pacer. This is a modern-day homage to the classic 90’s racing game Wipeout. It looked like it’s just what we have all been waiting for, with plenty of high-tech ships, gravity-defying courses and carnage inducing weapons to use. I was only there for 2 mins but the game looked and sounded amazing!
Even though EGX Rezzed is a game event is doesn’t mean that it was all about playing games. There were many rooms dedicated to conferences, talks and portfolio reviews for both people in the gaming industry and those trying to get into it. Along with the talks were various Universities advertising courses for everything from animation to coding and games design. It’s so nice to see the event helping the industry out not only by showing off all the awesome games on offer but also inspiring people to be the next generation of game creators, it was a joy to be there and already looking forward to next year.