It’s that time of year yet again where the infamous Tobacco Dock down in Aldgate, London becomes the UK’s bustling centre for all things gaming related! Having attended last year, we had high hopes for this year’s EGX Rezzed, so, after grabbing our press passes and making our way into the industrial complex of Tobacco Dock, what did we think of our first day at EGX Rezzed 2018? What adventures did we get up to…?
…And most importantly, what did we play?
Part 1: An immediate dash towards EPYKA…
First up on our agenda today was a little-known VR indie title known as EPYKA, developed by Italian developers Singular Perception, the game features yourself alongside an absolutely adorable (And most importantly believable) canine companion, Jake, to explore the Icelandic islands in search of magical towers to unlock the mysteries they hold… The world is undoubtedly rooted in Disney and Dreamworks inspiration down to Jake’s facial expressions, movements and even some other miscellaneous character designs looking straight out of an animated flick – Being run on a brand new HTC Vive Pro headset, the game really does immerse you into it’s vibrant world; my only criticisms being that there needs to be more interactions with Jake (I.E. petting, playing with ears, little miscellaneous actions and activities like that), and that the demo was too short! Unfortunately after around 20 minutes, the demo was over, concluding after only two short puzzles, but from what I’ve seen of EPYKA, I’m extremely interested to see what comes next for the title – If there’s one thing VR is lacking currently, it’s good puzzlers, so I’m glad to see EPYKA filling this gap in the market.
Part 2: Wired Productions, Shaq Fu, GRIP, Victor Vran and Town of Light… Oh my!
Straight after we were done with EPYKA we had another appointment with some of our friends over at Wired Productions, where we met with Al Hibbered, Project Manager for Wired Productions, having worked with many titles of theirs such as Victor Vran, Town of Light, Volstok Inc and, of course their two heaviest hitters at this year’s EGX, Shaq Fu and GRIP! Having started off with Victor Vran (Which you can see our original review HERE), it was just more of the same great gameplay to be honest, just on Nintendo Switch! Wired Productions really did have a large focus on the Nintendo Switch this year, with Victor Vran, Tiny Troopers: Joint Ops, Vostok Inc, Town of Light and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood all coming to the Nintendo Switch later this year! The two largest, and newer titles on show here, however, were the legendary sequel Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn (Releasing June 5th) and GRIP both being the main centrepieces of their showcase!
First off, we spent a good amount of time with GRIP, being what I described as a “perfect lovechild between Wipeout and Jak X”; having been developed initially be a conjoining between an ex-developer of Rollcage (Back on the PS1) and an avid fan of the same title, GRIP sets players on various gravity-defying courses, putting you in the driver’s seat of various Hot Wheels-inspired vehicles and setting you off at ridiculously high-octane speeds!! Whilst the game takes a hell of a lot of getting used to, it’s a perfect case of a title with a great skill ceiling; one of those games where the more you practice, the more satisfying and rewarding each race will become.
After a good amount of time with GRIP, we moved on to the infamous title, Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn, featuring the vocal talents of none other than Shaquille O’Neal himself; not surprisingly, Shaq’s been extremely invested in the project as a whole, from the sound design (Having created a brand new song for the title), to the plot and themes covered! In this… Unique adventure, Shaq stars as himself, having been raised as a young Chinese boy in the town of Hunglow, mentored in the ways of Wu Xing by the village elder, Ye-Ye to combat the forces of Hollywood and Hell! It’s definitely… Different from most of the other beat-em up’s that I’ve played in recent memory – One aspect that especially stood out to me was the amount of environmental variety in the game, alongside it’s comedy; one level you could be tearing apart a corrupt Hollywood star’s manor, using industrial diggers to smack your opponents around like oversized tennis rackets, or tearing up a Chinese town with a steampunk-inspired mecha suit! It’s definitely a massive improvement from the first title, and it’s clear to see the passion that Wired Productions and Shaq have put into bringing a beat-em up that’s just pure fun!
Part 3: Mothergunship & Cerebros..!
Since we closed off our time with Wired Productions, we had a bit of spare time to float around the event and take on whatever we fancied… Two games caught our interest – Mothergunship and Cerebros, both being indie-developed! Mothergunship comes from Grip Digital and Terrible Posture Games, being originally developed by a single man, Joe Mirabello (The creator of Tower of Guns) – Mothergunship prides itself on developing the formula seen in Tower of Guns, but with a major twist this time – Weapon crafting and customisation; by obtaining parts out in levels, you can stitch together some truly outlandish weapons that can totally decimate your foes… For instance, as soon as I got access to a crafting station, I immediately put five six-barrel miniguns, a tri-barrel minigun and a rapid fire shotgun all on my single right-hand weapon, and applied as much knockback as possible to it! Regardless to say, my ammo didn’t last very long, but my lord did it feel sooo good decimating everything with a single, high-powered spray of glowing bullets… My second left-handed weapon was a bit more unique, with me putting a variety of plasma cutters on it so it formed a sort of energy box that cut through opponents – This was then paired with reload speed modifiers to have essentially a gun that shot glowing energy boxes of death… I’m telling you, the weapon customisation in this title is amazing, and is exactly what the Tower of Guns formula needed. Take note Gearbox for Borderlands 3. HIRE. THIS. MAN.
Cerebos was a bit more rustic in terms of completion, having only exited it’s Alpha stage, but still extremely enjoyable in it’s own right – Being inspired by arena shooters such as Halo, Quake and even Doom to an extent, Cerebos acts as a ‘duality shooter’, blending part-action and part-puzzle into a unique mix – Players take control of a unique sidearm that can change between different colour modes, either pure white and blue, or scorched black and red – White enemies can only be defeated by red bullets, and red enemies can only be defeated by white bullets; the same applies for obstacles as well, allowing you to erase platforms under groups of enemies, clear pathways for yourself, or obstruct enemies by making blocks fall on their heads… There’s also a range of weapons on offer too, allowing for a wide variety of approaches to different encounters and puzzles.
Part 4: The End of the Day… Dead End Job (Not ours!), Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption, Guacamelee 2 and Kenshi!
So after our free time, we had three appointments left… And not a lot of time to roam around! Our next foray would be to the booth for Dead End Job, developed by Ant Workshop, the title focuses on, as the name implies, a series of dead-end jobs cleaning out ghastly ghosts out of properties! The game has a distinct art style, reminiscent of saturday morning cartoons and those sorts of odder-looking shows that you’d see on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon from time to time – The game itself focuses on a more “The Binding of Issac” or “Enter the Gungeon”-like experience, blended with a large dose of “Luigi’s Mansion” – Players are set with a plasma weapon that can stagger ghosts, and can be upgraded upon earning more and more cash with different abilities such as multishot, rapid cooldown and revenge mechanics! The primary goal focuses around saving different civilians trapped in these ghoulish gremlins’ grasps, with star appearances from a possessed ZX Spectrum, to the immortal assistant Clippy himself (The old Microsoft Word assistant, for you youngsters out there)… The game has a large amount of charm, and we can’t wait to get more hands on time with it!
Up next was Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption, a Souls-like boss rush game that focuses on exploring the concept of sin – With each boss being available at the very start of the game, and you being limited to just your sword, shield, greatsword, potions, firebombs and electric-javelins, you definitely feel limited – That feeling of limitation, however, is the exact feeling that developers Dark Star want you to feel – With each boss defeated, your character, Adam, gains a new debuff, losing important traits like defence, mobility, elemental resistance as other such elements – The game also features a wealth of postgame content as well, including a boss arena mode where, every 90 seconds-or-so, a new boss will enter the arena to tear you apart alongside all the other bosses! It certainly sounds hectic… To think, I nearly Platinummed Bloodborne…
Possibly most anticipated for myself was the presence of Guacamelee 2 at Sony’s Playstation booth – This time around, Juan retains all of his abilities from the end of the first Guacamelee, being expanded with brand new ones such as the new Chicken Shot, enabling the hilarious Chicken Mode to be an actually viable combat option! Whilst this demo was also rather short, it was still a blast to play! Just more of the same, great Guacamelee!
Finally, we were set up with Kenshi for our final game of today… An extremely ambitious project that’s been in the works for over 10 years now! Being developed for PC by Lo-Fi Games, the title draws a lot of inspiration from top-down RPGs such as the classic Fallout games and Torment: Tides of Numenera, pitching you in an unforgiving desert world packed to the brim with horrid monsters, bandit gangs, and slavers! With my journey, I started off with a party of 6, decided to take on some bizarre-looking sand strider bug, and then got attacked by a group of bandits who took out all but one of my party… I managed to hide one of my team away, but, before I could retaliate, the bandits that attacked me were assaulted, and enslaved, by a group of local slavers who took them, and my party into slavery… I had to break them out using various stat checks and lockpicking skills… But I eventually freed my comrades!
…Who then quickly died. Kenshi is an unforgiving, realistic look into wasteland survival, and is a clear passion project, a labour of love, and I really, REALLY can’t wait for it to reach it’s final release version and exit Early Access.
So that was our day at EGX Rezzed! Be sure to catch us around tomorrow around the event, and to read our article tomorrow detailing our adventures! Check out some of our photos below!!
Photos from EGX Rezzed 2018!!