The NEC is a spectacular arena situated in Birmingham, UK, and a well-known host for toy collectors' fairs, techie shows, and of course, EGX. Almost all of the biggest names in gaming were in attendance, namely Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, Ubisoft, Activision, and many more. The PC gaming presence was also very strong, with booths dedicated to custom parts and pre-built machines, as well as competitions. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo shared a fairly equal proportion of the venue, with the Indie Mega Booth and more heavily-backed indie studios occupying a relatively smaller space further towards the back. This didn't mean I wasn't going to go and investigate, though, as some of the biggest upcoming indie titles were there to be admired.
Not a big deal, particularly. It's not as if everyone turned up for the games, right? If you wanted to play any of the biggest up and coming titles, they were there. (Sorry, Fallout fans). Sony arrived to continue marketing for their flagship PlayStation 4 console, with some of EA's biggest titles in tow including Need for Speed and Star Wars: Battlefront. This obviously warranted parking a whopping-great TIE fighter in the middle of the showgrounds, guarded by the pilot. NFS's booth boasted a customised Nissan GT-R sat in front of a promotional banner for the game, which launches on November 5th for consoles; just two weeks ahead of Star Wars. I even got to play Need for Speed for a short amount time - something I'm going to talk about later, mainly revolving around the elements to the visual customisation and a short talk about the way the car physics are working right now.
DICE's other hugely-anticipated new game, Mirror's Edge: Catalyst, was available to play too. Select objectives were there to complete in an open-world, but restricted gameplay demo including the use of the new grappling hook system, making it easier for Faith to traverse the sprawling metropolis. It looked and ran great on the PS4, too. A smooth 60fps and swift, smooth-looking combat made an impressive appearance within the demo. Something that seems to be making its way into more and more open-world games recently is the idea of taking over and controlling certain areas of the map that would reveal new locations. As seen primarily in the original Assassin's Creed and later in Far Cry 3, Faith can now hack into the City of Glass' billboards and replace them with her own insignia. Nothing in particular was seen of how this would work, however, as a short cutscene involving the camera showing the change of images and then panning upwards to a point in the city was all we saw before the game cut back into play. Still intriguing nonetheless. Destiny: The Taken King held a strong presence in the PlayStation area, where people could lounge around and have a go at a few select quests from the newly-released expansion. And, of course, you could pick up t-shirts and posters featuring the new artwork.
Microsoft's Xbox booth also had a lot to see and do, with the recently released Forza Motorsport 6 showcasing the new weather effects at a cold, wet Sebring circuit. Quantum Break gameplay could be seen playing from numerous display screens around the area. LEGO Dimensions showcased its playable Doctor Who levels and allowed you to explore the TARDIS, and former face of... err... GameFace, and The Jinx Files (both shows I miss so dearly), Julia Hardy was on-stage with 343 Industries' art designer Neill Harrison to talk about some of the new things we'll see in Halo 5: Guardians, and then proceeded to throw dangerous freebies at unsuspecting onlookers - t-shirts have never been so lethal. Meanwhile at Nintendo, Splatoon was the main point of focus as budding squids and kids alike were able to test out new game modes, and win prizes as they did so. Not too far away were also playable demos for The Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes, Keiji Inafune's upcoming Mighty No. 9 (of which a demo was recently released), as well as Action Henk and Wales Interactive's Soul Axiom - all making their way onto Nintendo systems in the near future.
Soon enough, however, I found myself drawn closer to the indie stands where some of the most interesting new titles are launching incredibly soon. Team17's The Escapists: The Walking Dead merges the indie hit The Escapists, where the task is to devise a plan and escape from a high-security prison, with the hugely popular The Walking Dead comics series by Robert Kirkman and Skybound Entertainment. The way this changes things up is pretty clear to see - playing as Rick Grimes, you and your group of survivors must hunt for supplies and survive whilst holding out inside a prison of slightly less-equal fortification. Still, it's an incredibly interesting concept, even if the zombie theme has been severely worn out over the last couple of years, and may even reinvigorate it to some degree. Elsewhere, Robot Gentleman's well-received 60 Seconds! was playable, and the incredibly beautiful musical exploration title PANORAMICAL was there as well.
YouTube Gaming are at EGX all week and are actively live-streaming direct to their site of the same name, where prizes could be won during Mirror's Edge: Catalyst speedruns and Gang Beasts multiplayer games. Then the following day saw the top four biggest professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams duke it out for a chance to win $100,000 in the Champion of Champions. Plus, the Yogscast guys are at the NEC to sign merch, and you can buy loads of their stuff while you're there as well. So, if you're in the Birmingham area, or wouldn't mind a long drive to the NEC, get down there. It's great.
Me Love Cars - Co-Founder of Gameopedia Wiki 18:48, September 26, 2015 (UTC)