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Published on October 12th, 2015 | by Tom May

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EGX 2015: Day Two Report

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As incomprehensible as it seemed back on the first day of EGX 2015, Friday proved to be even busier. Much busier, even, with massive lines leading to pretty much every AAA game being exhibited at the show. Even the indie gaming section of the show floor was packed for the most part. There was no lack of things to see and do, but with so many queues we admittedly didn’t get to play quite as much as on Thursday. That said, here’s a look at some of what stuck out to us on the second day of EGX 2015:

What we played

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Eidos Montreal

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Tom: Sadly, Eidos Montreal are still keeping the new Deus Ex under pretty tight lock and key so I didn’t manage to get any hands-on time with it. I did however attend a presentation/guided playthrough of a ‘pre-alpha’ build that showcased some of what’s new and different with Mankind Divided. That said, if you’ve been paying any attention to the game’s pre-release coverage so far, there wasn’t many surprises to be found.

Set two years after Human Revolution, you’re playing as a new and improved (some might say augmented) Adam Jensen who’s caught in the thick of yet another Illuminati conspiracy that targets the mechanically augmented.

Physically, the game certainly looks a lot better even in an alpha state. Facial expressions are far less wooden and lifeless than they were four years ago. The bright, future-y golden lighting still has its place, taking an already striking visual feature and improving upon it. The game’s big dystopic city (they were unclear on if there would be others) is brought to bustling life quite nicely. The presenter mentioned they were aiming for a ‘lived in’ feel to it.

The showcase of the city itself, as Jensen and a contact from a shadowy activist cell walk and talk, quickly brought to mind Half Life 2‘s oft-praised City 17, complete with menacing, anonymous, armour-clad soldiers that love nothing more than bullying anyone who happens to be passing by.

Much of the presentation seemed devoted to telling us that this is more Human Revolution but vastly improved. More choices, tweaked combat, additional augmentations and tools, a more cinematic kind of conversation ‘combat’. It’s too early to tell if all of that and more will entirely avoid being cut before release, but it’d certainly be nice if it did.

Unbox – Prospect Games

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Mica: I absolutely loved the concept of this: packages that deliver themselves! The multiplayer was fun and frantic with boxes flying around trying to outwit other players. The mode we played was a ‘capture the flag’ style mode, where you had to hold onto another box for longer than your competitor. The controls are a little lose and could do with tightening a little before launch, but this is one game I sincerely hope makes it’s way up the Steam Greenlight ladder and onto the store.

Tom: We only got to try out the multiplayer for a little while, but the whole main-character-being-a cardboard-box idea is amusing enough to have legs. (Though not literally, you sort of bounce on your corners/float) A cardboard box also handles better than you might think, with both the movement and controls being a little reminiscent of Katamari Damacy.

The mode we got to play is essentially Oddball from the Halo series with some added weapon pickup trappings that you’d expect from a kart racer. A player has to hold onto a golden box for as long as possible, scoring points until they win or the box is violently taken from them by another player. It supports up to four players locally, and I imagine that’s where it would shine most. The map was big enough that some of the expected chaos didn’t really happen with only two players fighting over the box.

While nothing about the game was outstandingly different, at least from what I managed to play, it does have more than enough charm to get by. In the end, the multiplayer modes, including a more traditional kart racer (with boxes), are just extras on top of an already promising game.

Shu – Coatsink

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Tom: There’s a nice art style to this platformer, especially the watercolour-like backgrounds. It wasn’t really showcased in the demo that I played, but one of Shu‘s main conceits is that you rescue two villagers in every level and they give you extra abilities for that level. Then at the end of the level, they’ve been saved and you start alone again the next level. And that next level has all new villagers to save with different abilities to give you for that area. It has the potential to really keep things fresh, dynamic, and maybe even a little experimental in a way that isn’t seen in many games.

Tom Clancy’s The Division – Ubisoft

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Tom: After 30 minutes of queueing, the prospect of spending a minimum of another two hours waiting before finally being able to play Tom Clancy’s Destiny didn’t really appeal. I did manage to steal a few glances through the chain linked fences that enclose The Division‘s considerable space, and I can’t say anything I saw was screaming “ten minutes of this is worth three hours of your life”.

From what I could tell, the action is similar to what you’d find in the later Splinter Cell games or in Watch Dogs, complete with awkwardly rolling into chest-high walls when you’re trying to take cover. The inclusion of a microphone on the provided headset for players was clearly angling at some communication between you and the other two people you were playing with, but nobody seemed particularly interested in reliving the cringeworthy, manufactured team chatter from one of Ubisoft’s awkward trailers. (I can’t imagine why.)

Running on the Xbox One, the game did admittedly look nice but you’d be fooling yourself if you think that it looks anywhere close to what those initial trailers had shown off. Perhaps the PC version could be a different story? I have my doubts.

Between Heartbeats – Blimbu Games

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Mica: This little title left a lot to be desired. The controls were awkward and the voice acting was painfully cringey. I really wanted to like this game as the idea of it being set inside the body was very different and intriguing. It was frustrating at times as I seemed to die for no reason and it lacks the finesse needed to make it enjoyable. With a little more time and love I think this could be a great game but it’s a long way off.

Interviews

EGX 2015: Theo & Lizzy – Butcherlab Interview

EGX 2015: Prison Architect – Introversion Interview

EGX 2015: RPG Tycoon – Skatanic Studios Interview

EGX 2015: Rising Star Games Interview

More interviews to be added as they’re uploaded over the next few days!

Tom May

Tom May

Will write about movies, TV shows, and video games, but mostly just ends up writing about games! Ask me about my crippling MMO addiction.
Tom May

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