KiiGX: Part Two

Adam and Kii went to EGX in London on Friday. Here is Kii’s coverage.

A continuation from my Part One!

Mortal Kombat X
I missed quite a lot of the Mortal Kombat series. I remember playing one of them when I was a kid but in my memory it’s just a sea of pixels. However, I did play Mortal Kombat 9 pretty extensively and later Injustice: Gods Among Us from the same development team.

Mortal Kombat X has made some pretty drastic changes right off the bat. Mainly being that at the end of Mortal Kombat 9 (Spoiler) they’re all fucking dead. Barely any of the roster actually made it to the end of the game thus, it was a pretty bold move to continue canonically with the series instead of having another reboot or ‘alternate dimension’ type deal. Due to this, we have an array of entirely new characters that people have never seen before and ones that have popped up in previous games but never been playable. Whereas MK9 was the complete series done right, MKX is the fresh blood it needs. And there’s lots of it.

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I managed to play through two battles, firstly as D’Vorah (Bug Lady) against a Subzero player (I won) and secondly as Ferra and Torr (Piggy Back Chums) against Adam on Cassie Cage (I let him win, mostly). Both characters are from the completely new roster, D’Vorah being a very quick and venomous assassin style and Ferra and Torr being more brute force. Both were extremely fun to play as, especially with the new system implemented in MKX where you have three styles of moves to choose from for each character. For example, with D’Vorah I could choose to focus on her venom, her strikes or her swarm and this gave me different combos and moves for the match. With a presumably smaller roster than previous games, though the total count isn’t in yet, I thought it was an excellent way to give more variation to the characters and keep repeated match ups interesting.

One thing that NetherRealm have brought over from Injustice is the interaction with the background mechanics. Again, this gives great variation to fights as not only do your characters and move set groups vary, but your stage is now much more than a pretty picture behind you. With Injustice, it was pretty obvious what you could grab and chuck at your opponent but I had forgotten about that mechanic entirely until Adam threw a corpse in my face that had washed up on a wave in the Kove. Since he hadn’t done it on purpose it was hard to replicate on the fly, however it was clearly a natural and fluid part of the fighting animation as there was no pregnant pause whilst Cassie Cage lifted said corpse and lobbed it in my direction with me standing there like a numpty.

All in all, it’s a hilariously fun game and I feel that Mortal Kombat X is a fantastic evolution of the series. It’s not often that a franchise has been able to stay around for so long and still be standing up in its own right against all the new and indie fighters that have come in its wake.

 

Sunset Overdrive
I’ll be honest it’s nice to have a good humoured shooter that is devoid of beige. Sunset Overdrive, as the E3 trailers showed, does not take itself very seriously. We played a kind of horde mode where you protected vats of energy drink from monsters that were people mutated by said energy drink. I adore the designs of the game; I played as a small lady with a military helmet adorned with bunny ears, pretty much an animated version of myself. The movement around the level is extremely fast-paced due to being able to grind on rails, hook onto overhead lines and zip line and each character having a really good jump. I hate realistic jump heights in ridiculous games.

We had a wide variety of weapons, all of which were unique and silly which was awesome. I was particularly fond of ‘The Over Compensator’, a fire gushing blunderbuss and because of my fiery over compensating I came second in our group. Fire not your thing? Don’t worry, I also got my hands on a rocket launcher that shot giant ethereal jade dragons and a gun that flung 10” vinyls. If you imagine that the Saints Row team were given LSD and some crayons, that’s pretty much what the weapon blueprints are like.

This is the game that had me interested in the Xbox One and I still really want to play the entire game. Nathan may find that the rest of the Lighthouse team have crashed his house to have a go.

 

Splatoon
Oddly enough, playing Splatoon after Sunset Overdrive, I felt a good few similarities. By no means are the game actually the same in game play or design, what I mean is that they are both bright, cheerful and fast-paced with unique ways of travelling through the level. Splatoon, being a Nintendo title, is extremely accessible to all ages and abilities. You play as an adorable little squid person who has an ink gun. The name of the game is to have the most floor coverage of your coloured ink by the end of the round. Kills actually mean very little, so if you’re just jumping around and ‘splating’ people but not getting your ink coverage then you’re not actually being any use to your team. On the flip side, if you’re playing with your little brother who isn’t very good, he can hang back and ink everything from a safe distance without having to be in contact with enemy players whilst still being helpful to your score.

Onto my aforementioned unique movement. Being an adorable little squid person, you can jump into your ink and swim around in it. This allows you to go up walls, under grates and into trees whilst being completely invisible to the enemy. One tactic I saw was a player sitting in a tiny ink spot that the enemy thought nothing of, when the opposing team had run ahead, the player jumped out and starting inking everything in the enemy base with their colour. So whilst the game looks childish, there can be some pretty decent strategies if you want all out squid warfare and thus isn’t patronising to more experienced players.

And then…

I was going to add a segment about Smash Bros since we managed to watch the final of a tournament whilst we queued for Splatoon. But who am I kidding, it looks great. It’s all I can really say on the matter, the cast is strong, the game play looks great and it’s really fun. I didn’t get to play it but I have been playing my demo copy on the 3DS almost non-stop. I was also insanely jealous of people on my street pass who had been playing the ‘Special Demo Copy’ which has all of the characters unlocked and that one Japanese guy who actually had the full game. I’m buying it, I’m playing it and no I will not shut up about it.

So, there we are. EGX as a whole. It was a fantastic experience and I’m so happy that The Lost Lighthouse got to attend. Adam and I were absolutely exhausted by the end of the day and I really wish that we could have covered more. Sadly we are merely human so until we evolve into mythical cyborgs we were destined to be, we’ll cover as much as physically possible (and maybe get more people to go to more days). I really enjoyed the show and I’m looking forward to being able to attend more.

On that note, Fenton and I are covering PlayExpo on the 11th October in Manchester! If you’re coming then feel free to say hi. I’ll be the tiny person with the Hylian Shield with the big guy who’ll be glued to Mortal Kombat X.

Kii

EGX Round Up – Part Three: Bayonetta 2, Sunset Overdrive and Splatoon

Adam and Kii went to EGX in London on Friday. Here is Adam’s coverage.

And now for the final part of my EGX round up from last Friday, which Kii and I attended as press for the first time to check out some of the various games coming out soon. So far I’ve mostly just talked about survival horror games (see part one!) or other violent supernatural games (part two!), so I’ll finish off with some of the more light-hearted ones we had some time with.

 

Bayonetta 2

I think I’ve said before on The Weekly Rapture podcast, but I absolutely love the first Bayonetta game. Platinum Games delivered a wonderfully over the top experience, with gameplay that feels totally chaotic without a loss of control over what you are doing. The story of Bayonetta the witch and her fight against the angelic forces is ridiculous, as she wields a range of different weapons including guns attached to her heels, torture executions and hellish attacks that render her naked as she uses her hair (which makes up her latex-looking costume) to summon huge attacks that devastate her enemies. The character is imbued with a heavy dose of tongue-in-cheek sexuality and fan service, with the game knowing it is being silly and having a lot of fun with it.

Unfortunately for WiiU-less people like myself, the sequel is only coming out on Nintendo’s system and not a Sony or Microsoft platform. My knee jerk reaction to this would be to get angry at exclusivity for a game I really wanted, but reports were that there simply wasn’t the support for Bayonetta 2 and that the project was effectively dead in the water until Nintendo swooped in and saved it by acting as publisher. Understandably they would want exclusivity for this (and this hasn’t made me anywhere near as annoyed as the Rise of the Tomb Raider kerfuffle on Xbox One), and it is down to Nintendo that the sequel is actually coming out at all.

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With that in mind, I still really wanted to give the demo a go. Gone are the days where I can afford multiple consoles in a generation, so I’ll have to resort to good, reliable friends to get the chance to play the game when it comes out (i.e. I’m going to go to Kii’s and play the WHOLE game in one night). In the Nintendo WiiU section of EGX, after a short queue, the attendant asked me if I had played before, and was I any good. I resisted saying ‘actually, I’ve got a platinum trophy for the first one on PS3’ because that would make me sound like a dick, and instead decided to play it down because this would be the first time I would have had my hands on a WiiU controller, playing a game I hadn’t touched in three years. We were given the option of playing a tutorial and a single verse (sequence), or going straight into a boss fight. I thought the former would probably be a good idea, lest I make a fool out of myself.

The gameplay was exactly as I remembered it, and I eased into the controls relatively quickly (I have been playing games for nearly two decades now, so I learn quickly). The DMC style gameplay, as with the first game, makes it very easy to feel like you are kicking a lot of ass, and the witch time mechanic made a welcome return as well as some more torture kills. The brief verse we got to play was fun and familiarly ridiculous, fighting members of the angelic horde on the back of a fighter jet that the upcoming boss was trying to knock out of the sky. There was a quick glimpse of Bayonetta’s BFF Jeanne, standing on another jet upside down (because witches), then your fighter takes a big hit and heads towards the boss. Then the demo was over. Despite an unfamiliarity with the controls, I still managed a silver medal for the verse too. Kii got bronze. ‘Nuff said.

The demo was a little on the short side, but this is looking like more of the same but better,which is really what you want in a good sequel. In a later conversation with one of the Nintendo attendants, while Kii was hunting all sorts of monster ultimately, I was told that Nintendo are bundling in an HD version of the first Bayonetta with the special edition of the game, and in a way that is pretty uniquely Nintendo they are including extra skins for Bayonetta to wear in the game (not sure if this was just the sequel or the first game too) using Nintendo characters, like Samus or Link, that include unique moves and actions based on those skins. This struck me as pretty cool, and interesting as usually extra skins are just that and therefore a little boring. It’s nice that Nintendo are going the extra mile with it, and while I am genuinely sad that I won’t be able to get my hands on Bayonetta 2 easily, I am glad that Nintendo are ensuring that the series can continue. It’s already out in Japan, but is due out over here on October 24th.

 

Sunset Overdrive

The only game we actually got the chance to try out over in the Microsoft section was Sunset Overdrive, an Xbox One exclusive from Insomniac Games and published by Microsoft. We queued for a while, and we were flagging quite a bit by this point in the day. Lots of wandering around with the crowds, bright lights and various demos at the end of a long week led to us needing a serious pick-me-up at this point. Sunset Overdrive looked to be that sort of game, with the trailer from back at E3 making it look like a lot of insane and colourful fun.

Sunset overdrive

While I think the game actually supports eight player co-op, we put in a team of 6 and took part in ‘Chaos Squad’, in which we had to defend vats of an energy drink from hordes of OD’d. Looking it up now, the OD’d are humans who drank too much of the newly released energy drink Overcharge Delirium XT and were transformed into monsters, and the player controls customisable employees of the company that made it to take out these monsters. You’re given a pretty decent range of weapons, from highly explosive rocket launchers, shotguns and the harpoon gun the ‘Captain Ahab’, all of which are great fun, and you move around grinding rails and lines exploding the creatures trying to get more energy drinks. Being somewhat addicted to caffeine in all it’s forms (I can quit any time I want!), this was a somewhat harrowing look at my future as a mindless zombie needing a fix. After a lot of colourful kills of the various OD’d, nearly dying myself a couple of times, we finished the mission successfully. I came last, but the other group playing at the same time failed. So I was better than them at least.

This game looks like it will be a huge amount of fun, with either online and local multiplayer. I have no idea what the single player will be like, but with a set up as ridiculous as this I’m sure it will be entertaining. The game is heavy on style, reminding my visually of Jet Set Radio and other similarly vibrant games. The team behind Rachet and Clank seem to be putting out another interesting IP here, and I hope I get the chance to play it when it comes out on October 31st (I’m going to trick Nath into buying it).

 

Splatoon

The last game we played was Splatoon back in the Nintendo section on the WiiU. There was a really fun vibe from all the folks working there, cheering on the two teams facing off against each other. On top of this, there was a Smash Bros. final going on on the big screen behind us that we kept watching too, with the emcees throwing out loads of Nintendo goodies in between events. We soon got to the front of the queue for the game we were supposed to be watching, and one of the Nintendo attendants showing off the game very patiently showed me the controls. I clearly struggled a little bit with the motion action of the WiiU controller to look around, especially as it was attached to the stand by a cable which dramatically reduced the range of movement (though I understand why they would need it secured).

In Splatoon you fire ink from what looks like a super-soaker, and the aim is to cover as much of the level with your team’s ink as possible. When you run out of ink, you can dive into sections that are your colour already, swimming around in it as a squid and replenishing your ink. You also move more quickly this way, but can only move in your ink and can’t attack. You can spray members of the enemy team with ink too and blow them up, gaining more points for your team. Covering as much as possible can also unlock a limited time bazooka, which lays down a lot of paint and devastates your enemies.

The game was extremely fast paced and animated, and was a really enjoyable multiplayer. We used absolutely zero tactics as a team, and as a result lost the round by only 0.1% ink coverage. I did get the highest score on our team, and the second highest in the game, so clearly I’m better at WiiU than I am at Xbox One. This was great fun, and I think it would be a good party game, but I am interested to see what other modes Splatoon has. I’m sure we will see more before the release early-to mid 2015.

 

 

After we we finished with Splatoon we headed upstairs to check out the indie games section. We looked around and tried a couple of games, but by this point we had been wandering around EGX for nearly seven hours and we were totally shattered. Kii and I both decided that it was time to call it a day, a real shame as we hadn’t finished our list of games that we wanted to check out, and had barely touched the indie section properly that really deserved a couple of dedicated hours to check out. However, we had managed our time through the day as best we could, so we had essentially overestimated how long everything would take. To get through everything we had wanted to get to, we really needed at least two days at the expo.

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But overall, for a first time attending a games convention like this as press, with the intent on covering our experience in various articles, I think it was pretty successful. The opportunity to play several games that aren’t out yet was great, and I really enjoyed all of them. EGX was busy without being heaving (though Saturday may have been a lot worse), and with no queue being ridiculously long (though the COD Advanced Warfare did look pretty damn long). I definitely want to go to more events like this, but I think to give the convention its proper due and cover everything we would like to we would need to be there for more than one day or take more than two of us to cover it (or both). Looking forward to the next one!

Adam