Welcome back dear campers! It’s another day and another post about EGX Rezzed 2016, currently taking place over at the Tobacco Dock in East London.
After the last post, which went into the deep end about Quantum Break, we cover a number of the other releases on show which we sat down with to give a ruddy good going over.
Just one thing before we go further however and it’s about Dark Souls 3. This was indeed on show in a rather tiny hall and had most of the interest towards the end of the day, But we already had a go with Dark Souls 3 during another gaming expo, so we won’t be covering this again here. If you wish to read about impressions of that, then feel free to head on over to the PC Gamer Weekender post here.
You will be seeing a lot more about Dark Souls 3 in the days ahead, given that the game is now only a matter of days from general release and there will indeed be a livestream about that next weekend. Well, all being well of course. We will update Twitter as and when that is sorted out but for now, read on….
VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action
This is a rather odd one to cover and basically was among the huge number of indie titles littered around the docks. We happened upon it and because it sounded strange and different, then why not? To quote the litterature, VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action is a presented as a “booze em’ up” which is set in a cyberpunk time, where we play hostess (yep, the bartenders are all women) to a variety of various people. During the playthrough, this was entirely consisting of one obnoxious gimp who was livestreaming herself 24/7 while getting men to pay extra for dirty fun video time.
The characters order a cocktail, you search a menu to find the ingredients and then you mix it all together, making sure you don’t over-shake for certain drinks lest they be ruined. Pour away and then you get a ton of dialog back and forth which you move forward with with the left mouse button.
Yes, it’s as dull as it sounds after a few minutes, but on the bright side, if you want to pretend you’re actually in Top Gun or any 80s action movie instead, the soundtrack will 100% get you there. It was at least a nice little distraction while wandering through, even if it was more anime silliness we’ve gotten used to being proliferated on the Steam Store. If you actually want to see for yourself, then their website actually has a downloadable prologue to go through (http://www.waifubartending.com/)
Dead Pixels 2 (complete with VCR)
This deserved a mention, just for the sheer fact that they did actually go to some effort for decorating their small area with some old gear, including a randomly found VCR which still worked by all accounts! This was shown a few years ago at another Rezzed event, so in essence this was being shown yet again to gauge interest and also gather pre-orders for the game which included a number of extras, should you wish.
So what is Dead Pixels 2 and can anyone actually remember if there was a Dead Pixels 1? The game is a side scrolling zombie romp with co-op available with some role playing elements added where you can get better guns, carry healing items and then curse as you pick up a gun which you’re carrying no ammo for. It’s more pixel art-style gaming which has had a major resurgence in recent years, and you may start wondering if we’re now seeing too much of the same thing.
But in any case, it was quite harmless and was a decent enough time, if a little too difficult. The retro elements added to the presentation where if you were restarting the level, the game would pretend that you were rewinding a video tape were actually pretty good and at least gave more of the humour that clearly they were going for. Check out the old demo for yourselves via http://deadpixels2.com/ if this sounds like up your ally.
This was a complete surprise, and something completely off the radar from last year’s gaming expos, and an opportunity to play on a free PC revealed one of the surprises from the show that I personally was most happy about. The star of the game is basically a cardboard box working for a postal service.
Not even joking.
What’s more is that as the box, you can jump around, unbox to gain additional height and wander around various places, collecting gold packing tape, navigating around maze like parts of large levels and bounce happily on bad boxes’ heads. Chuck in some handy helpers giving tips, and new abilities as you progress through the game and all in all, it makes for a good time where not a gun was to be seen anywhere.
Think what someone thought up while being bored in a post office, tie that together in a Mario 64 style and you pretty much get the picture with this 3d platforming game which had a lot of charm, a bright happy Jamaican soundtrack. It’s still very much a work in progress however, and one of the bigger bugs made the game a lot more difficult.
Basically the camera control with the right stick on the Xbox joypad wasn’t working and therefore the camera was stuck in one orientation all the time. Other PCs running the code were also having this issue, but at least we did also see the controls fully working and it was a right good time.
The chap running the demo area also stated that there was a multiplayer option, which will summon the sprit of Mario Kart in addition, so putting those two different genres together in a way that works, is almost too good to be true. Something to look forward to for sure later this year if this is to be delivered on time (ha ha…. postal joke….) and for more information about this, I can only suggest you head over to http://www.unboxgame.com/
Going from one game about going postal, to another game based on being postal on people’s asses, we come to Running With Scissors’ latest effort; Postal Redux, a HD update of the original Postal game released in 1997. What’s the story with this? Well, not entirely sure, aside from you go out with various weapons and then just shoot everyone and everything that can bleed or explode.
That’s it really. You basically go on a rampage through various environments, even to the point where you murder an entire marching band that just happens to be wandering through some city streets. You press Q to go to the next level once enough people were dead at your feet or go hunt for every last sucker and fool who thought it best to mess with you.
This is not a game for the timid and to be honest, you’d be easily harking back to the bad old days where various media outlets would be landing on this for the ridiculous amounts of violence and indeed, there was outcry over another title released last year called Hatred from most quarters, despite the fact it’s pretty much the same thing here. Whether or not the same response would happen again when this appears on the scene in 2016, it wouldn’t take much for everyone to land on it again like a sumo wrestler.
However, from my point of view, it was harmless enough fun, and quite diverting for a few minutes at least. Probably it would get very repetitive the longer it went on for without anything being added to the mix so maybe only play in short sessions. The graphics, while certainly looking better than what was probably done in 1997, wouldn’t be detailed enough to let anyone think this was going for ultra realism in any shape or form. So all in all, enjoyable for a short time and then you can go about your day.
Remarkably the developers were very happy to give away the whole Postal series as it stood with Steam keys so if you wanted to give the original a go to see if it was any good, then you really could. So even if you’re not a huge fan of the gorefest and merciless murdering that the game just let’s you get away with, there’s no harm in having a free look.
If you wish to know more then you will find the information on the Steam Store itself (Windows, Linux and Mac) with a release period set for Spring. A release on Playstation 4 later in the year also beckons.
The Turing Test
Remember what I said at the end of the first post about Rezzed 2016? I had said I utterly failed at anything involving a puzzle. Well this was the reason why. The Turing Test is something I would be marked down for being thicker than the village idiot and then told to stay in my room. Mainly for fear that the stupid would spread to others like a disease.
This was on the show floor with both PC and Xbox One versions and this was quite interesting to playthrough. Even if you only had a tiny idea of why you were wandering through an empty facility where you had a gun which stole different types of electric to open various doors. It’s another first person puzzle game in all it’s glory and the similarities to Portal couldn’t be denied. However, the strategy of lining up different power circuits seemed too much for my childlike brain to handle. In that I had to use my childlike brain for once. Not a bad thing for sure.
Thankfully, some help was on hand and we worked our way through the demo levels, each room presenting a different idea and challenge to get past. But in terms of the story elements, there wasn’t a lot to be seen, with only a momentary voiceover at the beginning. At this point, you began above ground and was just standing in a blizzard while someone had a chat with you. Why were we there and why did we have the magic gun of electric stealing?
No idea and maybe compared to the long intros of Quantum Break, that was preferable for a show demo just to get you to the gameplay instead. But in any case, the presentation was incredibly slick and simple enough for people to comprehend what needed to be done going forward.
Some more confusion was had when a giant magnet had hold of one of the power blocks that you could use on a door to open them. I honestly thought I had f**ked it when there was no way to turn off the magnet’s power. But as it turns out, all you had to was simply jump to retrieve it from said magnet.
Yep, felt like a right tit. But the demo was engaging enough to warrant further investigation later this year and maybe if I use my brain a little more, then perhaps it will be possible to feel once again more intelligent than a stale cabbage.
While not exactly hands on with the game (i.e. I listened to the music while chatting with the lady of leisure on how to go through it) it was still enough to get time with the PC build of Lumo, a dungeon crawling type thing where you control a little wizard dude and you simply need to get from the starting location, to wherever you’re meant to end up.
You transition from room to room, where various obstacles are in your path, from boxes to spikes, to rotating fire things. Again, presentation was very slick. There were times where you could only feel slightly silly as the simplest of puzzles won over your addled brain.
The isometric perspective also made it look like you couldn’t reach certain areas where in fact you actually could. Basically trial and error in these locations are indeed warranted. Not to worry, as if you die, you just respawn where you entered the room.
There was also some decent humour as the surprise really came when we happened upon an elevator with really cheesy music, pretty much in the style of the club singer round from Shooting Stars (if anyone remembers that of course). It was also bringing up memories of the old kids TV show, Knightmare. Trust me, you will want to shout out at times “Where am I?”
Yet another one to keep an eye out for in the future as the demo was introducing enough to keep the interest up, even if some of the puzzles didn’t quite make sense to begin with. Go have a butchers more at the developers blog at http://triple-eh.net/
Best of the Rest (that we tried at least)
Well given we’re almost out of time, just a few more honorable mentions at least here; Carmageddon: Max Damage was on the show floor and pretty much was the same gameplay as the Kickstarted Reincarnation released last year, but was fun enough and hopefully with this release, it will be in a more polished state when it arrives on the consoles and once again PC.
Just Cause 3 was also present (with complete DLC for all to try) and it was grand to spend some quality time just blowing stuff up once again. It was good to see exactly what the Sky Fortress DLC gave you but at the end of the day, wasn’t anything more to go nuts over than what you had in the main game.
Orcs Must Die Unchained was present and you can try that out on Steam via the Open Beta if you want to see what that’s all about. Suffice it to say, it’s not a massive change from the first two games aside from the fact it’s free to play and probably has a ton of microtransactions, but frantic fun enough in any case.
Finally a couple of shout outs, first to the team behind Goetia, an adventure where you had died and was then haunting an abandoned mansion for unknown reasons. That seemed to be weird but worth a look. Finally, we salute the Raging Justice team, of which it was grand to say hello to again. And of course, to let them know that we still look forward to seeing the finished product as and when it arrives.
There you have it folks, a round up of everything worth having a chat about at EGX Rezzed 2016. Some good games on the horizon, but also a lot of crap to wade through. There was plenty of buzz around VR, but there was no way to even get close to being able to try that out and that seems to be getting covered by YouTubers aplenty now.
Take it easy and I will annoy you all again very soon. BYE!