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My first EGX experience (featuring Chance!)

(Just bringing this post over from another forum I frequent if anyone is interested)

Went to my first EGX yesterday, very long tiring day.

Moment I walked in past the VIP lounge, Peter Serafinowicz walked out which was cool. I asked him if I could get a photo but he graciously declined as he was there for a day out with his son, which is fair enough (I’m sure he gets it all the time).

Went straight upstairs to the 18+ area and tried The Evil Within on XBone after a short queue which was alright but the sound was broken so lost about half my play time as they tried to fix it. Seemed alright but as with everything there, it was the same play areas that we’ve all seen online so no surprises. Camera was way too close and it felt like there was too much input lag, to which the staff said “try it on PS4”, but I doubt it’s any different, more just how long the anims take. They didn’t explain that you actually have loads of weapons at this stage in the game but none of them are equipped, which my friend told me he’d found afterwards.

After that I stupidly waited in line for almost 2 hours to try Shadows of Mordor. The staff were waaay too hand holdy and he seemed frustrated when I didn’t instantly press the buttons he mentioned. Explained that it was my first time using a PS4 controller and I’m really not familiar with the button layout. Have to say though that after hating every version of the Playstation pads over the years that the new one feels solidly built and the sticks are far better positioned (still, nothing beats the 360 pad, ignoring the D-Pad). Game was good but considering the huge wait time, I could have just watched people play for a few mins and known exactly what it would be. The scale is really impressive and the number of enemies active at one time is awesome, just a shame that a lot of the textures look very flat.

Moving on, we went to try Alien Isolation which I have to say was probably the prettiest game of the day; very smooth, the Alien looks amazing, but the turn rate/acceleration felt wrong to me (I’m sure this can be tweaked). Got a free comic too. Died about 5 times, jumped a lot (it’s scary!), and get the impression that this will be a game to play in short bursts or risk having a heart attack. They were telling everyone that all you had at your disposal was your flashlight, crouch/hiding and 2 bursts of a flamethrower, but I tried all buttons and couldn’t find the flamethrower so not sure about that.

Next up we eventually found Bloodborne which was the game I was most looking forward to. No dedicated area for this which I think was a huge mistake. Instead it was lumped in with The Order and Until Dawn, meaning to try them all you would have to queue in the same area 3 times. I didn’t last that long but it felt soooo slick and I’m still very hyped for it (it will sell me a PS4 and my 30th is next week so that could be soon). It looks stunning, the faster more aggressive combat compared to the more defensive play of the Souls games is a nice change as I’ve always gone pure melee anyway. The anims, lighting, sound is all fantastic. Wasn’t sure if it was a case of play until you’re moved on, or once you die, that’s it, and stupidly left when I got a game over. Really wish I’d tried again.

Lost lots of time in queue’s where we eventually gave up and after the Shadows of Mordor malarky it kind of soured me to the whole day, but thankfully I then went to the Epic stand where they were sitting down with people and teaching them the Blueprints system of UE4. As a professional developer myself who is working on a personal project/game using the engine, the stuff they were showing was a little too introductory for me, but again, fantastic way to get kids and students interested. One of the guys noticed I’d been watching from afar and came to ask if I had any questions, so I explained what I was working on and showed my current build on my phone. This led to me sitting down with Chance Ivey (UE4 Community Manager who appears on most of the weekly UE4 Twitch streams), loading up the engine and working through some problems I’d come across for the best part of an hour. He seemed really interested in what I was doing and I’ll be contacting him to see if some other issues can be looked at. Awesome guy. Definitely the highlight of the day for me.

The rest of the day was mainly wandering and watching people play, as I’d had enough of wait times, but it was still interesting. Lots of awesome cosplay around including a trio of Metal Gear fans who looked fantastic - Snake, Raiden (I think, I’m not that familiar with the franchise) and Quiet from MG: The Phantom Pain (good lord, she must have been cold :blah: </old_man> ). Some really cool indy games too - can’t wait for Never Alone.

As things were starting to slow down we returned to the NVidia booth and had a go on EVE Valkyrie using the Occulus Rift (DK2). Had wanted to try Elite: Dangerous or go to the Occulus stand but both were rammed with folk all day. Having used the first dev Occulus, this was a huge improvement. On the original I’d had to swap the lenses out for another set to get the image right for my eyes (I wear glasses btw), whereas all my friends used the same set. I was concerned this would be the case on the DK2, but no such problems there. I know that with a bit of tweaking I could have got the image sharper, but given it was setup for lots of people to use, it was very good. The screen door effect is still there, but less obvious, and I’m sure it’s going to improve even further for a commercial release.

The addition of head tracking via the camera adds a whole new level to the immersion, and hurtling through space and really being “inside” your craft is an astonishing experience. On the first gen headset, I was still aware of the edge of the screen - not here - I was in that world completely. Unfortunately, NVidia had gone the route of hiring very pretty girls for the event, who knew basically nothing about the products (she literally pointed at the pad and said “this one is fire and this one makes you go”) so I didn’t know that you could fire missiles which would track the reticle as you turned your head. Still, I got a kill and it reaffirmed my belief that VR is going to be a huge part of gaming in the not too distant future. As a slight aside, the reason I mentioned the NVidia staff is that the other stands all had sensibly dressed staff who actually knew about their products which was refreshing - no “booth babes” that the industry thankfully seems to be leaving behind.

Finally we went back upstairs and had a go on Far Cry 4. Honestly wasn’t impressed - the visual were really grainy, pop in was terrible; If you can’t even preload the geometry that appears directly in front of you and fills most of the screen in the insane load time, then how is it going to hold up when streaming the rest of the environment? Died a few times whilst trying to clear the stronghold out but eventually did it, bringing down the helicopter with about 5 hits from the mounted gun, which was strange as I’d tried that before and shot it about 500 times with no results. There were also sound problems galore in this demo where it would either drop to bearly audible, skip or loop sounds, and then just cut out completely. Very ‘meh’ towards this.

All in all it was definitely an experience, but if I went again, I think I’d just browse from afar and try to see more (didn’t see any of the Nintendo games for example), rather than wait to play the AAA games

tl;dr:
Nothing too mind blowing, Aliens are scary, VR is the future, still want a PS4, OMG Bloodborne! :smiley: Epic are Epic!