This year has certainly been eventful, and now that we were able to attend EGX Birmingham, it seems Respawning is making a name for itself all thanks to you; yes you! This was the biggest event Respawning has ever gotten to attend and I am so grateful for this amazing experience that you guys were able to give to us. Anyways, enough Oscar speeches – You came here to see what my experience was attending EGX 2018.
As you may or may not know I attended EGX with my fellow coworker Joe (Who has already got his experiences up on the site!), and we both came to the agreement that Kingdom Hearts 3 would be our first destination of day one. Once the shutter doors opened we rushed inside like wild rabbits and hopped to the Square Enix section, and, to our surprise, even though we basically sprinted there, awaiting us was a half an hour queue! But were we surprised? Nope. Kingdom Hearts 3 was one of the biggest, and most anticipated games at EGX – So much so that they had to have two separate booths for the game, one being in Square Enix’s area, and the other being in the PlayStation area. It was amazing to see such love for a franchise that we’re both passionate about, and a game that most would class as rather niche – It was quite fitting to even hear in the background ‘Don’t Think Twice’ playing on repeat – It made it even more emotional! As the line shortened, my time to experience the demo for myself was coming; I could feel the ever growing excitement increasing with every step I took, and then, finally, I got my hands on the controller and was ready to play. For some reason at Square’s booth, we didn’t have headphones nor did I have any sound on my TV, however Joe thankfully did… But unfortunately I couldn’t experience the game fully, and boy do I wish I had audio; that way I wouldn’t have one member of staff become a sergeant in the Square Enix army and basically scream down our ears saying “10 MINUTES LEFT GUYS!…” over and over again at the top of his lungs, full on shouting… Needless to say I got a bit scared that he would make me do press ups for playing longer than I should; saying that though, if I had to do press ups in order to play more, I definitely would have! The Kingdom Hearts 3 demo was, to the surprise of nobody, simply amazing! I had a blast beating the Rock Titan from Hercules into mere pebbles, and exploring Toy Story’s Toy Box area, but alas for me the demo was far too easy; no need for dodging just spam attack and you’re good. That being said, this demo was the E3 version and the demo many Youtubers got their first hands on early this year, so with that in mind they hopefully have fixed said issues!
Once we were done we headed to our next game… To where we were greeted by a huge Keyblade! The size of it was colossal and was very, very shiny. I was almost intimidated by the sheer size of it (Minds out of them gutters lads…), it was probably my favourite statue at the entire event… No not statue… Monument! I wish I got a photo with it… Anyways, now we were heading off to our next game to meet my baby boy, Spyro. It has been years since we have seen Spyro in his true form! Not this Skylanders crap, but Spyro as I remember him. The sarcastic and cheeky purple dragon destined for greatness! Saying that however the developers who some may say bastardised Spyro, Toys for Bob, are the very same people who are bringing him back to his former glory. I don’t know whether to be impressed or not… Saying this, however, the demo was impressive and felt exactly like my childhood again; all things considered, however, the motion blur was a bit funky and did make me feel a wee bit sick, but it was worth it! Everything about the game from the environments to just how it looks and feels was simply divine, so I guess I’ll let Toys for Bob off the hook eh?
Now for the best bit about any convention… THE MERCH!! You simply cannot go to any convention and not go for the merch! It was great to see such an extensive amount of different props, games and cosmetic items that you could buy; there were so many indie shops and big name brands such as Numskull, Insert Coin and Chaos Cards to just name a few of them, all selling extremely high quality stuff. Now seeing that Spyro is just around the corner, our pals at Numskull were selling a variety of Spyro merch which I just had to buy, such as a Spyro Incense Burner where the smoke actually comes out of the nose! Some Spyro enamel pins and much more! If only I had more money I would end up buying the whole shop… I also managed to snag from another stall a whole booster box of Yu-Gi-Oh Cybernetic Horizon cards for quite a nice price, as well as Exploding Kittens NSFW Edition – There were hundreds of items for sale and it seemed that there was more in the way of merch stalls than there were games! Whether that’s a good or bad thing, I’ll let you, and your wallet, decide. Aside from the merch, there were a ray of free items such as t-shirts, Fallout hats and a shield from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey; along with this, the cast of Eurogamer, Outside Xbox and PlayStation Access all were livestreaming throughout the days to give the audience and attendees of EGX a show of comedy and general videogaming that was available to play at EGX – It was great to see signings from Outside Xbox, which they regularly do at EGX (Both Rezzed and Birmingham), to give their fans a more personal experience and for some to meet their heroes. It’s always a joy to see those we look up too to come down to our level even if it is for one day!
Unfortunately EGX Birmingham is completely different to Rezzed, in ways which we never realised until we got there… The biggest and most notable difference being the queues, those bloody queues… Due to time restraints we only managed to go to 2 out of the 4 days, and even though we had early access and tried to get around to do everything as quickly as possible, it was almost impossible to play everything and the titles we wanted and needed to play were beyond our time limit – For example Metro Exodus’ queue was almost over a 3 hour wait, and we still had to get to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and many more. We tried our best, but alas these two big games were near impossible to reach, and personally I felt kind of upset with myself; but hey what can you do. We did however manage to play a huge range of indie games and another big game in the making by the wonderful Media Molecule, the studio that created Little Big Planet, a personal favourite game of mine with a lot of significance in my life; so for me trying Dreams was a must! Luckily the queue wasn’t too long… Well, I say that, however there was barely any sign of a queue which was surprising to say the least – This meant I was able to jump on the game right away, and although the demo didn’t include any of the creative side, we did however manage to experience what someone can create with the Dreams engine, and boy am I super excited! From creating text-based adventure games to a side scrolling shooter and platformers, it seems this engine is far more powerful and superior to that of the Little Big Planet engine. The endless possibilities that you can do with this blows my mind; I would have loved to of gotten my hands on with the VR experience using the headset and the controllers to fully immerse myself and create worlds that I can teleport myself into; shame we couldn’t. Overall the controls and feel of Dreams felt almost the same as what I am familiar with, and cannot wait for the full release of Dreams.
Some Indie titles we got a hold of were some of the funniest games at the event, and some made you trip balls – One game titled Puss was in a league of its’ own, but gave me vibes of LSD: Dream Emulator on the PS1 with similar colours and imagery. If you’ve ever played the Scary Maze, an old Flash game where you had to drag your cursor from one place to another without touching out of bounds? Yeah this is a game like that… Apart from the creepy exorcist girl screaming in your face… Anyways… Puss was a game that had you tripping and had complex mazes that force you to think strategically without getting distracted by the colours and glitchy nature of this game; I almost completed the first section of the game, but I died on the last level before the mysterious finale… I had a ton of lives to begin with, and it all whittled away in the blink of an eye. Another indie game that I thoroughly enjoyed was a game elegantly titled… Beat Your Meat. I was drawn to this simply because of the title, and I am so glad it did! Similar to that of whack a mole, you play the part of a pig; there are other pigs, being other players, and you must bash your delicious enemies with your hammer to take their meat, eat their meat, and grow huge. The more meat you eat, the bigger and slower you get; the biggest at the end of the round wins. Simple yet a ton of fun. After talking to the dev, he explained to us that although this is a very early build, they aim to add more customisation, more modes, different areas and a ton of new content. For all you indie fans out there, this is a game to watch for some dumb fun.
You may have noticed that we haven’t spoken about any Bandai Namco games… Well that’s because we were able to have an exclusive look into their offices and play these games first hand a few weeks prior! Have a read and see what you think! Now onto Super Smash Bros Ultimate, the newest and best (We hope) version of the Smash Bros series, coming in with a whopping 72 characters and a ground breaking 103 Stages (So far)… And we only got a handful selection of both characters and stages to choose. *Sigh*. Still this game felt exactly how a Smash game should; great handling, impressive move sets, and older characters having been translated successfully for modern formats. Also, in the character selection you got to choose Ridley and Inkling, so overall it was a great experience, and to be honest there is nothing more I can say… It’s Smash, and once again it’s an amazing game (And I got to play before Josef… Suck it!)… The same could be said for Mario Party Deluxe, it’s fun, introducing new mini games and bringing back the old with the new; the gameplay feels fluent and looks brilliant, and it’s another party game that will make or break relationships; saying that, Mario Party looks like a ton of fun and when I tried it I instantly knew this would be a great addition to the Switch’s already impressive library of titles.
…But it wasn’t just games and merch, oh no, EGX had an array of beautifully crafted PC’s in a variety of cases that I’ve never seen before – From PCs built with brightly coloured liquid cooling tanks to AIO Radiators with RBG similar to that of the NZXT Kraken I have installed in my own PC, there were a ton of PC’s on display with also a competition on who can build a PC the fastest to be in with a chance of taking the whole thing home… There was even an RGB gaming chair that looked sweet along with two massive PC chairs with built in monitors and a mouse and keyboard tray – You know the big orb things? I have no Idea what they are called (Gaming cockpits, perhaps?), but I want one and I need it now. It was truly amazing to see such an impressive display, and c’mon, who doesn’t love RBG lights? They are a must have for any PC enthusiasts and EGX had them proudly on display from RBG mouse mats, to gaming headset holders and chairs. Afterall, it’s scientifically proven RGBs affect your gaming performance (According to me. Professor Kehoe). It seemed EGX had a perfect balance for all sorts of people to feel comfortable and to just have fun.
Over the course of the two days we got to experience multiple and amazing games from different and brilliant minds, coming from all walks of life to celebrate the industry we hold near and dear to us. It was such a pleasure to be able to attend such a huge event and as I started this article saying, we wouldn’t of been able to do it without you guys and your amazing support.
…But before I end this I have one last important event that happened at EGX… Towards the end of the day, growing tired and weary, our spirits exhausted, this particular event brought our spirits up high again – So let me tell you the tale of a young boy and the truth he speaks. On our way out there was a bunch of school kids excitedly heading to their next adventure, when one very brave young boy rushed out screaming with a cracked voice saying, and I quote… “WHY DO WE HAVE TO GO TO FORTNITE WHEN WE CAN PLAY IT AT HOME?!” – This truly was one of the greatest quotes I had heard throughout the whole of EGX; this kid is going places, and those places are unfortunately playing Fortnite instead of playing at home. God speed kid, God speed.
I proudly rate the entirety of EGX a: