It’s that time of year again, when the IM PLAYIN guys band together, don their ‘press’ hats and head off to the exciting world of the EuroGamer Expo! As is tradition now, apparently, here are my five games that I’m super excited to play after this year’s event!
Star Wars Battlefront
Although this list isn’t in any particular order, Star Wars Battlefront was always going to be my number one game this year. I adored the original series on the PS2 / Xbox, and Star Wars Battlefront 2 is one of my all-time favorite games. I’m also a big fan of DICE, with Battlefield 3 being my favorite multiplayer FPS ever created. So, when EA and DICE joined up again to make this Star Wars title, I pretty much lost my shit. Sure, I know that the game will be buggy on release, I know that the servers won’t work and I’m sure that multiplayer will initially be a nightmare. But, in general, the dynamic duo of EA and DICE always seem to deliver a stellar gaming experience… eventually. That’s why I was incredibly excited to play Battlefront at this year’s EGX and, thankfully, I was not disappointed.
The overall experience was most epic. The graphics are awesome, and it’s exactly what you’d expect from a next-gen Star Wars game. We managed to play on both Tatooine and Hoth, with both planets looking absolutely stunning. The gameplay itself is solid, having the option to fight in either first or third person. I spent most of the experience in third person, and Alex (AKA ThinkBad) played in first. He informs me that it was great playing in first person – but to me, a Battlefront game should be played in third person, and I was incredibly pleased with the experience. Sadly, I didn’t get the chance to fly or drive any of the vehicles, which was a shame, but not the end of the world. The beta will be coming out relatively soon, so I’m gonna be all over that! Overall, first impressions of Star Wars Battlefront are incredibly good, and I am now officially even more excited than I was previously (if that’s even possible).
Homefront: The Revolution
There were a couple of other games that I could have included here. Assassins Creed Syndicate almost snuck in, but it didn’t and Homefront got the space so deal with it. I loved the first Homefront title, and I thought that, at the time, it was relatively unique in a sea of other first person shooters. The online multiplayer was relatively solid too, which is a nice change for a lesser known FPS. So a second game, for me at least, is rather welcome! My only reservations is that the game is being developed by a different developer, and published by a different publisher than the original, so I’m not overly sure how similar the game will be to its predecessor (probably why they didn’t go for a straight up ‘Homefront 2’). Still, I was looking forward to giving it a go and finding out for myself, and I managed to do just that!
I was kind of hoping that I’d be able to get my hands on some multiplayer, but the Homefront booth at EGX this year contained a playable demo instead. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, because the playable demo was pretty damn good! The graphics were great, and I really enjoyed the story. Plus, because I got there a little early, I managed to play all 20 minutes without needing to queue for too long! The game ran smoothly, and it was exactly how I imagined it would be. It’s definitely set me up nicely for playing the full game sometime next year!
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
Mirror’s Edge was one of those Marmite games for many people. I loved it, but I know a good few people who weren’t fans. I really enjoyed how unique the game was, and how well they’d done the parkour elements. Although it was frustrating as hell, I thought that it flowed really well, when you got it right, and it made you feel like a bit of a badass. Whether nor not a second game is necessary is yet to be seen, but I’m still looking forward to giving it a go. The original Mirror’s Edge was quite linear, and I personally feel that it played to its advantage. Catalyst, on the other hand, is going to be open world, so I think that it’ll take a lot for the developers to get this right. If you loose that free-flowing, fluid nature that the linear gameplay allowed, so before heading to EGX I was worried that the parkour elements might become a bit of a pain rather than a joy.
Sadly, even though I was super excited to play the game, I didn’t get the chance to actually play it. The demo they were offering was 25 minutes long, and queues were over two-hours long for the game. Despite how much I was looking forward to playing it – I ain’t spending two hours queueing for that game, especially when there are tonnes of AWESOME indie games to play with a queue time of 0 hours. I did, however, get to watch a few people playing the game (and ask them what they thought). As far as I could tell, and as far as they told me, they really enjoyed the game. But I’d imagine that they wouldn’t be overly impartial, because they queued two-hours to play the game – I’d imagine that they’re fans of the series. Still, it looked awesome, and I’m really looking forward to actually having a go (whenever that might be).
Rainbow Six Siege
Alex and I had to pick between Siege and The Division, as both had crazay queue times. The extra ‘a’ in crazy is to emphasises just how crazy those queue times were. In the end, we decided to go for Siege. Mainly because we had heard lots of good things about the game, throughout the day, but also because they had an awesome setup for a ‘winner stays on’ style competition for teams of five. They set it up like an e-sports event, with commentators and all that jazz, and it kept us entertained whilst we waited.
The game itself was incredible, though Alex and I were pretty damn awful at it, and I loved every second of Siege. We played three rounds in three different maps, twice as the ‘defenders’ and once as the ‘attackers’. Basically, as the defenders we had to hold off against the enemy team as they tried to breach our defences and take us out. As the attackers, we had to find a way into the enemy’s stronghold, and take them down in any way possible. Both attacking and defending had its merits, but I think that the defending built the most team spirit. We felt like comrades in arms, as we repelled the enemy attacks to the last man. Plus, we were playing with three strangers, but by the end of the game we were best friends (well, maybe not BFFs, but that level of friendship that you can build through a couple of games of online multiplayer). We may not have won, but we came out of the game with a smile on our faces and a few awesome stories to share along with it. Siege, along with Battlefront, were probably my two highlights of the show.
PlayStation VR – ‘Kitchen’
I didn’t come in to EGX this year thinking that I’d be able to play on the PlayStation VR (previously known as Morpheus). But, after some quick thinking by Alex (to book a session) and the kindness of the guy operating the headset, I was able to play the ‘Kitchen’ demo. It was, undoubtedly, the most terrifying experience of my life.
The tech itself was pretty awesome, and I’d say that it was one of the better VR experiences that I’ve had in a while. I think that’s mostly down to the fact that the VR matched perfectly with my own body. What I mean by that is, if I looked down, I could see “my” chest, legs, shoulders, arms and hands. Obviously, these were the appendages of a computer generated guy, but for all intents and purposes, it felt like it was my body. That’s what made the experience so terrifying. Kitchen is a ten minute horror VR experience. In general, you don’t really do anything – you just sort of sit there and watch everything happen around you. So the ten minutes were less of a game, and more of a virtual experience. Basically, the scenario is that you’re tied to a chair, and there’s a guy in the room with you with a knife. He’s a good-guy, and he tries to save you, but some crazy woman manages to sneak up behind him and murder him before your eyes. Lots of atmospheric gurgles, scrapes, clangs and screams later, the woman is behind you preparing to finish you off too. Combine the headset with the headphones, and you’ve got yourself a pretty terrifying experience. Below is a picture of me cowering like the manly man that I am, whilst playing ‘Kitchen’.
For me, I’m was less excited to play Project Zomboid and more excited to chat to the guys that made it. I’ve been playing PZ for a while now, and I’ve been making a few videos which will be up on our YouTube channel shortly, so I definitely didn’t need to worry about playing the game at EGX. However, I was lucky enough to have a quick chat with one of the members of the team about the game and their plans for the future. It was pretty damned awesome, because I had a lot of respect for the game that they’ve made and the experience that they’re aiming for with it. He also gave us some helpful tips for playing online together, so hopefully we’ll be having some PZ based videos with all of the IM PLAYIN crew in the near future!