EGX highlights, London Excel 2019

In October, EGX opened its doors, or curtain less importantly, to thousands of attendees flocking to get hands-on with the latest blockbuster games, amazing indie titles and everything else in between!

EGX, is the UK’s premier gaming expo that has been around since 2008, packed to the rafters with all a gamer could ask for. This year saw the return of the expo back into the big smoke, at the ExCel London.

With over 250 playable games strewn across the open halls from the likes of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, DOOM and the heroic Marvels: Avengers, many of the titles are new to the market, due soon or some are months from release. 

Starting the day bright and breezy, I went in with the early birds at 10AM every day and so glad I did. With queues clocking up to 3-4 hours in waiting time on some of the AAA releases, I managed my time wisely to get time on these glorious gaming offerings.

With a lot of games tightly under wraps I’ve put together a little run down of top picks with links to check them out further if you wish:

Show Floor

Cyberpunk 2077 

The overall winner of the show for anticipation in my eyes, Cyberpunk 2077, hyped since its reveal takes us on a journey to Night City, a place hell-bent on power, looks and body modifications.

Behind closed doors we were taken on a 45-minute tour of the game where we joined the main protagonist V, shown many of the various ways to play the game, upgrades available to your character and how the world can react to your decisions in this open world action-adventure. Hurry up 2020 I need April 16th to get here already! 
https://www.cyberpunk.net/gb/en/

Boundary 

Something that wasn’t on my radar before the show was a game called Boundary, from the team at Surgical Scalpels. The best way to describe it is, astronauts drew a line in the space sand and are now having a game of team-deathmatch. There are added elements that completely throw the rules book around in this zero gravity tactical shooter. I don’t want to say too much other than check it out for yourself, to see why you need this in your life.
http://www.surgicalscalpels.com/Scalpels.html#/ProjectBoundary

DOOM Eternal

DOOM is back for another round in the ever-popular series of games. Full to the brim of the invading demons you’d want to see, shoot and dismember til the cows come home… Due March 20th, 2020 we have a little time to kill in the wait for this to land in our bloody palms! 


https://bethesda.net/en/game/doom

MARVEL: Avengers

With one of the furthest release dates of any major title on the show floor, MARVELS: Avengers flies in on May 15th, 2020. As you could expect a lot of hype surrounds this new IP, moving away from the Cinematic Universe to create a whole new look and feel to earths mightiest heroes. The gameplay felt a little staged on the demo I played but looked amazing considering the time left for development and eager to see how the whole game turns out in its entirety.

https://avengers.square-enix-games.com/en-gb/ 

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Fans rejoiced around the world when FF7 was announced and the emotional journey through Midgar is now being brought to us in all the glory it deserves. Joining Cloud and the rest of Avalanche battle to take down the Shinra Electric Power Company and destroy their Mako Reactors that are draining the life from the planet, literally!

Hands-on, it was amazing to relive the tales and beautifully captivating in the cut scenes and battle intense moments. Very happy this is due to be released 3rd March 2020. 
https://ffvii-remake.square-enix-games.com/en-gb

Zombie Army 4: Dead War

Rebellion, Rebellion, Rebellion. These talented people of the world do know how to make a game, I personally am an avid fan of anything that gets set loose from their minds with Zombie Army 4 being no different.

This 3rd person – over the shoulder – shooter is another fun-filled, thrilling adventure set in a WWII Post-Apocalyptic world with demonic, zombie fuelled Nazi’s trying to eat everyone’s brains out, sounds fun, right? Well, I can say it is and if you have played any of Rebellions previous releases from the Sniper Elite or Strange Brigade Series you will not want to miss out!
https://zombiearmy.com/en

Legends of Runeterra

Following the releases of previous popular card-based games, Riot Games are bursting out of the world of League of Legends (LoL) are bringing us Legends of Runeterra (LoR). Players can play against each other or AI in an engagement of wits, strategy, creativity or in my case luck along the road to glory.

We are quite a way off getting the full release (Late 2020) but enjoyed my time for someone who isn’t completely sold on the genre of card-based games with everyone around me walking away with happy faces after playing!
https://playruneterra.com/en-us/ 

Pokémon: Shield/ Sword

Dear to my heart as most, is the expanding world of Pokémon, the latest additions into the range are Sword and Shield in the Galar Region. I didn’t get to get hands-on, but from what I could see over the shoulders of those who could wait long enough, the game look as expected from trailers I’d seen and will definitely be saying “I Choose You” on November 15, 2019.

https://www.pokemon.com/uk/pokemon-video-games/pokemon-sword-and-pokemon-shield/

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening 

Built block for block as the OG itself, we join Link on a perilous quest yet again. Perfect to pick up and play, wherever your Switch journeys too, with a nostalgic soundtrack to take you on your journey around Koholint Island, through dungeons, beaches and forests. Eliminating foes and dodging this trap ridden world to become the hero you are destined to be! Don’t take my word for it, go get it, it’s available now, so hyaaa to it!
https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/the-legend-of-zelda-links-awakening-switch/

Beyond a Steel Sky

More than 2 decades have passed since Beneath a Steel Sky was released, cementing itself as a cult classic, now has a sequel in the form of Beyond a Steel Sky thanks to the team at Revolution. Using the comic style art from legend Dave Gibbons, we are dropped into the cyberpunk world of The Gap on a mission to save a child taken from your village.

Thrust into Union City, not one of the main protagonist’s favourite places on earth, within this “utopia” the choices you make will resonate through the world on your mission to find the missing child. Choose wisely player! https://revolution.co.uk/

Cake Bash

Cake Bash… Does exactly what it says on the (cake) tin! Choose your cake, personalise it and get ready to be pitted against your friends, parents, kids or granny in this addictive pick up and play party game. As the temperature rises in across various game modes and arenas, the aim is to come out as top cake! Simple as it sounds that’s it in a nut allergy-free shell!

Competitive fun rolled into a colourful package and sprinted with cuteness it’s hard to stay mad at the winner in this cake-eat-cake world! 
http://cake-bash.com/

Circuit Superstars

Fan of Micro Machines? Fan of driving titles in general? Circuit Superstars is a great game to load up when you need a gaming fix or have a house full either way, you’ll be gripped by the action as you drift and possibly crash your way through the circuits for that podium finish.

This top-down racing game has a physics element as an added layer but is open for all levels or experience to pick up and play. Due in 2020, I’m looking forward to challenging my household to see who becomes victorious! 
https://www.originalfiregames.com/circuit-superstars

Everspace 2

Get ready to head back into Everspace for this second installment from RockFish games. Blasting past its Kickstarter target EVERSPACE™ 2 is a fast-paced single-player space shooter ready to take you on an exploration to the depths of space, filled with loot ready to be explored and exploited. The thrilling story set in an open-world is full of secrets and perils. Want to get a taste of what to expect Xbox game Pass have Everspace currently available for download.

https://www.everspace.game/

Kingdom Two Crowns

Having played maybe 1 too many days on Kingdom Two Crowns, I can say you are in for a treat with this strangely immersive pixel art masterpiece, build and defend your land as your royal highness. Beware the invaders though that are here to steal your crown, defeat them, destroy their portals, and set sail to new lands in this survival platformer. 
https://www.kingdomthegame.com/

Pride Run

Pride Run was something I had to see as soon as I saw the title and wasn’t disappointed. Taking on Tonald Drump and Pladimir Vutin (we will call them that for now) and many others you can play across 2 modes, on this beat-based combination inspiration. Choose to play as a parade organiser, recruiting people to pride march and keeping them all safe to the stage’s boss for the final lip-sync of their lives! Alternately you could button mash your way in the more simplistic combo mode to make those who oppose to sashay away!
https://www.greenmangaming.com/games/pride-run-pc/

Put Em Up

Join Moose, Croc, Chicken and Monkey in this animal heist simulator to basically beat the clock and get away with the cash. One issue you face is your team are probably too busy trying to do something stupid resulting in you having to revive them but jokes aside this was the most intense game I played at EGX. The crowd behind us cheered as we finally got everyone into the chopper and flew away into the sunset with a trail of cold hard cash in the wind! Amazing game, completely bonkers and a breath of fresh air!

Skybolt Zack 

Franticly epic, colourful frenzy! Pretty much sums up this game, mixing platformer styles and mechanics, with colour matching gameplay, Skybolt Zack smashes through in this player paced platformer, where you don’t jump, in turn, you zip and flip through tapping the correct coloured button to complete numerous levels and achieve the highest rating possible. I played a few levels and interested how the music also changes to how fast or slow you can react to the next travel point.
https://www.greenmangaming.com/games/skybolt-zack-pc/

SNOW

SNOW captivated me, I was completely taken back by how well it looked, drawn in by the developers over at Loading and truly excited to see how this comes along. Immersing myself into the twilight of the retro-futuristic Norwegian town of Barvik set in 2050 guiding Oskar, a 12-year-old boy along a path of self-discovery. Unlocking through puzzles and mini-games to find out the truth to who he is and what is happening in the world. The most peaceful 5 minutes over the whole 4 days I encountered.

http://loeding.no/snow/

Tony Slopes

Jump on a whale and sledge down the snowy slopes to victory, not your bag? Why not use a shopping cart retrofitted with skis, or just a blow-up rubber ring, slap a top hat on and take on your opponents in the race to the bottom. This was one of the most bonkers 10 minutes I had, grinning like the Cheshire Cat to victory. For the laughs, for the competition, for the win, it’s Tony Slopes!

Toodee and Topdee

Every now and then you come across a little nugget of gold and that is where Toodee and Topdee come into play! Using these two adorable characters, the aim is to switch between the 2 views and get both characters throughs the portal, sounds easy, try your luck and find out!

It has a nostalgic feel to that of Mario but staying true to itself. I even surprised the developers by completing a level in a way they had not seen nor intended it to be completed! A top find and one to look out for, for any Rezzed heads… 
https://dietzribi.com/

Valfaris

After seeing and playing Valfaris last year, I had to revisit again this year. The heavy metal infused shooter is a stunner in its own rights, pulling inspiration from Metal Slug-esque titles. Set in deep space the 2D platformer feels balanced, with a strong challenge to offer, running and gunning is not always the best action to take and requires some savvy to progress until you meet your untimely and let’s face it inevitable death. This pixel slashing beast will unleash your inner slayer in no time and thirsty for more.

EGX was amazing as usual, even if it did seem smaller than the recent years at the NEC, Birmingham. There’s a little of everything covering many interests from the obvious gaming to tournaments, live streams, meet and greets, Cosplay, community meetups, retail stalls, developer sessions, I can go on. The community always comes together to have a great show in this family event and safe to say that planning for next year has already commenced. With the new PlayStation and Xbox consoles due for release in late 2020 I imagine EGX will be a clash of the titans to show off the new hardware and titles slated for release. ‘til next year folks!

Keep tabs on next year’s dates by checking back on egx.net, follow them on twitter or Facebook for any announcements, Indie fans be sure to check out EGX Rezzed for their indie games only show.

Luke Lavelle. Designer, Gamer and Reviewer. Mainly residing in a world of vector art and throwing words for FTF! Love for all things Gaming, Technology and all geekery goodness... Catch me on XBL IIII Monk IIII or twitter @luke_lavelle

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