While day one of EGX 2016 was certainly eventful, day two was stacked with a whole plethora of games and more Tornado energy drinks that any man should ever consume. With the queues even longer than Thursday, we spent much of the morning checking out a number of intriguing indie titles before daring to venture back over to dive back into some triple-A titles.
Having heard a lot of rumblings about Bandai Namco’s puzzle platformer Little Nightmares coming out of Gamescom last month, we were keen to check it out for ourselves. Developed by Swedish studio Tarsier Games, best known for their work in producing some of the DLC in the LittleBigPlanet series, Little Nightmares is a cute yet terrifying title that plays into our childhood fears.
In Little Nightmares, you play nine-year-old protagonist Six, whose diminutive stature makes the distorted world she finds herself in – known as The Maw – feel even more dangerous. In the EGX demo, players had to make their way through several rooms, escaping a bedroom before sneaking through a kitchen area in which grotesque ogre-like chefs were busy preparing meals in which we had no doubt we would end up if we happened to be caught.
With Tim Burton-esque visuals and wonderful platforming mechanics that perfectly convey Six’s vulnerability yet resourcefulness at the same time, we left the Little Nightmares booth keen to experience more.
Friday also saw our first visit to EGX’s ever-expanding indie area, Rezzed. While we’ll have a round-up of some of the highlights in our post-show round-up, some of our day two highlights included 88 Heroes, a skill and luck-based platformer in which you must navigate 88 rooms using one of 88 characters; you are given a new one at random upon death. The majority of these are made up of hilarious parodies of gaming and pop culture figures, each of which have their own specific attacks. Our favourites included an overweight, balding plumber that suggested Mario has hard times ahead, and Flappy Chick, a malting, dishevelled Flappy Bird pretender who controlled exactly like the real thing.
From there, we had a quick play of 2D adventure Forgotton Anne, Square Enix Collective’s latest announcement, whose gorgeous, Studio Ghibli-inspired visuals are supplemented by unique gameplay mechanics which rely on you harnessing the Anima energy you find around you. We also had time to check out Town of Light, a horror adventure game that intriguingly avoids most of the tropes you’d come to expect from a title in its genre; it presents a chilling exploration of an abandoned mental asylum where fear is generated through discomfort and the protagonist’s memories.
Finally, we got hands-on with Makezoo, a vibrant 2.5D platformer very clearly inspired by the likes of Sonic but with plenty of originality to stand on its own merit. In the fluid, fast-paced title, players can effortlessly switch between a cast of different animals, all of which have their own abilities, strengths and weaknesses.
Touted as the spiritual successor to classic N64 platformer Banjo-Kazooie, Yooka-Laylee is being developed by a number of former key Rare personnel who came together to form Playtonic Games. With one of the most successful video game Kickstarter campaigns of all time under its belt, public appetite for the Team 17-published 3D platformer is at a high. At EGX 2016, we had the opportunity to have a global first playthrough of one of the early levels in the game.
With a lush, vibrant aesthetic that will feel familiar to anyone who grew up with the likes of Banjo, Spyro and Super Mario 64, Yooka-Laylee sees its titular heroes, a lovable, whacky duo consisting of a green chameleon and a purple bat, explore vast worlds in the search of Paiges; collectables that both unlock new worlds and unlock new features and areas of existing worlds.
As the prime target audience for the game, we had a joyous experience, taking our time to explore every nook and cranny of the demo area had to offer, and eagerly anticipate Yooka-Laylee’s release in quarter one 2017.
Sniper Elite 4
They say you need patience to be a sniper and that certainly rings true when it came to playing Sniper Elite 4 at EGX 2016. With queue times peaking at over two hours, we finally got hands-on with the third mission from the game, which is set in World War II-era Italy. Ultimately, despite introducing several noticeable improvements such as tweaks to players’ reticules and stealth mechanics, Elite 4 didn’t feel like it had moved on much since 2012’s Sniper Elite II. That being said, its gory kill-cams are as brutally delightful as ever.
Titanfall 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 this year as well as Xbox One, where it was homed last time out. We played a game of Amped Hardpoint, which is more like a Domination-type game mode with three areas to capture. We slid, wall ran, double-jumped and grapple-hooked our way to victory in an intense 10-man match.
The action really picks up towards the end of the battle, when players have built up enough power to call in their mechs. When these giant mechanical behemoths join the fight tactics start to change as you either need to get up high and find a vantage point or run away and let another Transformer-like machine take it on.
Gears of War 4
Gears of War 4’s campaign mode might not be its core game mode in the eyes of most fans but you can’t argue when offered the opportunity to take on an alien race in a highly anticipated game. In the short demo we played our mission was to fight our way through a windflare, a strong wind throwing debris around, whilst staying alive and dodging lightning. It certainly is as hectic as it sounds.
Several waves of this alien race will attack you in both tight, compact areas as well as large, open ones. The AI is also smart enough to flank you and your cover will likely get shot to pieces if you sit in one place for too long. The two comrades you travel with are also useful for taking out enemies as they rarely sit idly by and watch you rack up all the kills.