EGX 2015 – Sunday: Tom Clancy’s The Division, Hitman, PlayStation VR and More

As the weekend drew to an end, EGX was about to host it’s final day. As we were leaving Birmingham too, we decided to head over to the expo a little later. We packed our bags and arrived around 10am. Sadly there were a few bad apples within the staff that I’d come across that weekend. This was made apparent once again when I asked a member of staff how to get to the cloakroom – I was rudely spoken too, belittled and totally left with a bad taste in my mouth after speaking to him. This occurred a few times over the weekend by staff from not just the NEC but from EGX staff too. I’m not going to go into it to much, but he wasn’t the first member of staff that had a horrible attitude.

Moving on from that we got into the event and started taking some footage. The event doesn’t open it’s doors publicly until 11am, Super Pass holders and early access members are allowed into the event an hour earlier, then once the public enters prepare to feel as if you are part of a sardine tin. The event easily could have been doubled in size and it would still have aptly held all attendees. Even though the event was a lot bigger than when it was held at Earls Court, it was still crammed full, hopefully next year all of the problems with staff, queuing organisation and event capacity gets resolved.

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If you took your picture with Vaultboy at a certain time of day you were given Vaultboy masks for free! – Here you can see my missus doing just that.

We’d heard that you were able to get hold of a vault boy mask if you took a picture with him at 11am. This was definitely on the agenda. We hung around in the retro section and got to play some NES and Sega Mega Drive, while waiting, which was a lot of fun. Once we’d picked up the masks it was time to head on over to play The Division.

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Back to my roots – playing Super Mario on the NES.

Once we got to the start of the queue we were greeted with a sign that no one wants to see; “3 hours wait from here” this was in fact true, even though I thought it may have been done to avoid congestion in the public walk ways. I was in fact proved wrong. This was the last main game I wanted to play and one of my most anticipated, so I figured the wait had to be endured. After three long hours we finally got on to to play. First impressions were not so good – due to the crazy queue that snaked half way around the event itself, but the game definitely lived up to the hype, my only problem with it is that I just wanted to see more of it, the vehicle and environment art was fantastic and visually it looked photogenic. I wished they’d focused more on the survival element, but I suppose in such a short demo that wasn’t really an option. The game is still six month away though, so I’m sure we’ll see a lot more before release. I can’t wait to get my hands on the final game and it’ll more than likely become a staple throughout the blog when it released next year.

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The Division at EGX – Look out for an article from me on the game coming really soon.

Before queuing to play The Division I’d put my name down again to play PlayStation VR, very luckily I got a text notifying me that there was a space available just as I’d left the over 18’s area. After around a 20 minute wait I was able to have a second look at PlayStation VR, I got to play EVE Valkyrie this time, I’m not going to go into too much detail, as this is something I’ll be covering in it’s own article at a later date, I just have to say, it was incredible.

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I managed to get to experience PlayStation VR twice at EGX.

Seeing as though we’d spent the majority of the morning and early afternoon queuing, we decided to break for lunch. Afterwards I spent an hour or so capturing extra video footage while I had a moment. After lunch we joined the queue for Rainbow Six Siege, while standing we were handed some free beta keys to play the game once we got home. The queue itself was taking longer than normal to reduce down, I remembered that IO Interactive were doing a gameplay presentation on the new Hitman game. I decided it’d be best to make the most of the time left and go and see that presentation, rather than waiting in line to play the game when I could just play the beta once I got home.

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The new Hitman gameplay presentation was amazing.

The decision was a positive one as Hitman looked fantastic on the PS4. The game overall seemed a lot bigger than previous versions, there was a lot more choice to be made and many more paths to take when trying to execute your target.

Overall the weekend was fantastic, I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if there were a few underlying problems with the event itself. There will obviously be a few more articles to come, involving EGX – My thoughts on Star Wars Battlefront, PlayStation VR, The Division and much more. Most of these updates may be shown on my Youtube channel so head over there and subscribe in order to keep up to date once they drop.

/ CR


EGX 2015 – Saturday: Need for Speed, Shuhei Yoshida, Naughty Dog and More

This morning went along the same lines as yesterday, except this time it paid off. As soon as it hit 10am the gates opened and we shuffled forward like a heard of cattle out of the waiting hall, once we finally reached the main entrance of the show floor everyone quickly became 100 metre sprinters and pushed their way to the game they wanted to play most.

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The Tatooine Survival level – playable at EGX.

Considering my first destination yesterday was for the 40 player Hoth Multiplayer Map battle on Star Wars Battlefront, I thought the wise choice would be to head straight for the survival game on Tatooine, hoping this time I’d be able to avoid the queues and today it paid off, unlike yesterday.

We got on the game within about 20 minutes and the queue behind us soon looked to be never-ending. I really enjoyed this game mode, it was offline split screen and proved to be a lot of fun and it seemed as thought it would definitely appeal to those who didn’t care much for the Online aspect of the game.

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This showed off the offline portion of the game, I can see it being a lot of fun for couch co-op folk.

Once we’d finished the game we headed on over to the Need for Speed booth. The game looked great, but didn’t look as good as what I’d seen in the gameplay reveals earlier in the year. It was still a lot of fun. The game we played was a rep attack which pitted eight players against each other, we had to score as many points as we could by drifting, near missing, racing into oncoming traffic etc. the winner of the match up won a free t-shirt – sadly it wasn’t me.

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The Need for Speed setup showed off this amazing Nissan Skyline.

From there we began to queue for the 20 Years of Play developer Sessions given by Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios for Sony Computer Entertainment. He’s been there since PlayStation started and has played a huge role in making it what it is today, which is dearly beloved by many.

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A fantastic insight into PlayStations last 20 years.

He was also involved in some amazing titles such as Crash Bandicoot, Wipeout, Ape Escape, Twisted Metal and many more. We managed to get to the queue point one hour and a half early, thankfully done so as the session soon filled up and those hoping to attend by just turning up at 12pm when it was due to start were bitterly disappointed. The talk was absolutely fantastic and quite inspiring, hearing an insight into the last 20 years of Playstation, from the man himself was something special.

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The man himself – Shuhei Yoshida.

Before the session, the guys from managed to spot the bright red shirts and we got together for a picture after the developer session. GSRR focuses on all aspects of geek culture, not just gaming but films, TV, Comics, Sport and more. They really do put a lot of work into the site and are two really great lads, so go and check out their site.

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Myself and the guys from Geek. Sleep. Rinse. Repeat.

Afterwards I fancied my chances on Destiny: The Taken King. I’ve given Destiny a bad rap in the past, it’s not that I don’t like the game, but that It could have been so much more. The Taken King looks a lot more appealing and from what I played of the game at EGX, it’s made me want to open the doors back upon Destiny.

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Destiny: The Taken King actually looks pretty good, considering my original feelings on the series. I’ll be sure to check it out once I’m home.

I also played a crucible match up and the winning team took away a free t-shirt, £5 voucher and blacksmith shader code. The game was an intense and very close rift battle, our team just managed to edge it towards the end and took home the prize.

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Taking home the prize – My goodies from being part of the winning team on crucible.

I luckily managed to notice the Uncharted Collection, which was tucked away around from Destiny, I was very surprised to see how good it looked running on PS4. I was also pleased to hear that it didn’t contain any multiplayer, as I’ve always thought the Uncharted series hasn’t needed it, the single player can easily stand on it’s own, ten times over.

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The Uncharted collection looked beautiful on PS4.

As the end of the day neared we decided to head back over to the developer sessions theatre where we were able to attended a talk with Arne Meyer of Naughty Dog. Arne gave a talk on “Uncharted Retrospective – Greatness from Small Beginnings” in which he was able to share anecdotes from a decade of development of the Uncharted series – in which he revealed why it actually took 2 years to create the infamous train level in Uncharted 2 and how the desert scene in Uncharted 3 only took 2 weeks to create. It was an exceptional session and it was brilliant to get to hear a little behind such a huge game series.

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EGX Developer Session with Naughty Dog’s Arne Meyer.

Tomorrow I’ll hopefully manage to get to play and let you guys know about The Division, so don’t forget to come back tomorrow to read all about that.

/ CR

EGX 2015 – Friday: Star Wars: Battlefront, Assassins Creed Syndicate, Just Cause 3 and More

This morning we decided to get up relatively early and book the first taxi available, the doors don’t open until around 10am, but I wanted to arrive early in order to avoid long queues for Star Wars: Battlefront. We arrived at the NEC at around 9am, where joined others who’d obviously had a similar idea.

I was a little disappointed by how the organisers had setup the queuing system, although we were one of the first to arrived, many people were able to push there way through the queues due to the queuing system being more of a crowd huddle than a snaking row. There really should have been more done to combat this situation as it proved quite unfair for those who’d made an earlier journey.

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Still a long way to go – we’d just joined the queue for Star Wars Battlefront, 2 hours wait from this point. So close yet so far.

Once inside we darted straight to the Star Wars: Battlefront Booth, it seemed as though the majority had the same idea. I’ve followed the game for well over a year, the previous ones were some of my greatest of all time. It was such an exciting feeling knowing I was just moments away from experiencing it for my self.

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A half scale TIE Fighter stood outside of the Star Wars Battlefront booth, this thing was massive and not even full size.

We were told that we couldn’t take any footage, but I managed to sneak a few pictures in. We got to the front of the queue after around two hours of waiting, so much for avoiding them – It may seem a long time but later that afternoon the queues for the game managed to last up to four hours! Sadly a couple who were infront of us queued for the same amount of time and when we were due to step up to play the girl of the couple fainted and paramedics were called in order help out. Such an unfortunate incident, hopefully she was able to make a full recovery

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The game was brilliant – An authentic Star Wars game that stayed true to the genre. 

I was so pleased to see that the game looked as beautiful in real life as it did on the trailers, a lot of people have been sceptical from the in game trailers, but it really is astonishing and the sound effects are even better. The game lasted around 40 minutes and I will be detailing everything about it in an article at a later date, stay tuned for that.

By the time we’d queued for Star Wars: Battlefront and played it, it was around lunchtime. The food and drink at the event is very expensive, as expected. Unlike last year, when it was at Earls Court, there isn’t much available in terms of shops selling food and drink situated around the centre – so having to pay the price is almost unavoidable. Packing a lunch would be the best option; thankfully they were promoting a new brand of energy drink for the full weekend so these drinks were given out for free. I’ll happily take rattling energy levels over a four pound bottle of water.

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Developer Sessions – The Journey of PlayStation VR.

After lunch we attended the first developer session of the weekend – The Journey of PlayStation VR. The talk was brilliant, they allowed us to ask any questions we like and showcased many different games in development for PSVR. It is honestly worth checking out if you get the chance. You can check out my PlayStation VR article coming later this week.

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An official Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 t-shirt that you would receive for being on the winning team when trying out the game.

From there I decided to go and have another pop at trying to win a Black Ops 3 T-shirt. There was no way I was leaving without one. Again the queue for Call of Duty was still relatively short, so we were able to jump on quite quick. Thankfully this time round our team was a lot stronger. I ended the game with 24 kills and 3 deaths, not too shabby, so did most of my fellow teammates. We’d done it. The t-shirt was mine! All mine! Muhahaha.. *Cough* Hmm, excuse me.

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The Over 18’s Area at EGX.

We went on over to the over 18’s area of the show floor, which housed Homefront: Revolution, Just Cause 3, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, Rainbow: Six Siege and The Division. Upon deciding to attend the latter my mind was quickly changed once I noticed a sign at the rear of the queue, “Three hours wait from this point”. It seems that this year the queues have been more apparent and ten times longer than usual. I can hardly remember queuing last year where it seems this year it’s all I’ve done.

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Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate Booth at EGX.

Next on my list was Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, the queue lasted around 45 minutes. The demo consisted of leading a female assassin along a London riverside and onto a courtyard in order to assassinate the target. It was brilliant going up against Beefeaters and the Queens guard. The London setting looked amazing and I can’t wait to sink more time into the game.

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Really enjoyed what I played of the new Assassin’s Creed.

After coming out of the Assassin’s Creed booth, We jumped straight onto the Just Cause 3 queue. The game was chaotic mayhem and was just completely fun to jump into, even if the machine that was running my game managed to crash twice.

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Just Cause 3 was a lot of fun, even if my machine did crash a number of times.

The day was coming to a close, sadly I only managed to fit in around three games, mainly due to the extensive queue times. I advise any one wanting to attend the event to definitely come for more than two days if they plan on playing most of the games, otherwise you won’t get the chance to play much.

Tomorrow I’ll hopefully get to play The: Division, More Star Wars: Battlefront, Need for Speed and Rainbow Six: Siege. So drop me a follow in order to be notified when tomorrows next article hits.

/ CR

EGX 2015 – Thursday: Street Fighter V, PlayStation VR, Call of Duty and More

Hearing the dreaded sound of your alarm going off at 4am isn’t the best way to be woken up on any day of the week, but this morning was different – It was the start of EGX. After wiping the sleep from my eyes we began our journey, firstly by enduring a six-hour couch transfer in order to get to our destination; Birmingham. Once we arrived we took a quick detour to our hotel and dumped the bags off before finally setting off towards the NEC.

On arrival crowds of people already amassed and surrounded the opening of the centre. Once we’d managed to swerve our way through them we were given some very special and sparkly blue bands, which were our Super Pass wristbands that allowed us admission into the event throughout the weekend.

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Our 4-day Super Pass wristbands for this weekend at EGX 2015.

My first impressions were; WOW! It was so much bigger than the event held at Earls Court last year, once we found our bearings we wandered over to the PlayStation area, there was loads of great games scattered around the floor, we choose to plonk our rears into the comfy bean bags and hit up Street Fighter V for our first game. First Impressions were great, the game looked fantastic on PS4 and controlled really well. Embarrassingly I even got my arse handed to me in my final game with my girlfriend, I’ll blame it on the button mashing beginners luck. Humph.

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The Decor of the PlayStation booth was brilliant, we sat down to smash out some Street Fighter V.

From there we went on to play Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, to my surprise the queue was non existent, bar a handful of eager die hards waiting to play. Considering that the queue times last year were around three hours long, it was quite odd to see barely any one queuing up for this years instalment, maybe that’s due to the recent beta release, still an odd site to witness. I’m not a huge fan of COD, but I don’t mind it. I think overall the series has one of the best shooting mechanics in a video game and there aren’t many that are able to rival it but it always just seems a little samey and I think it’s beginning to lose it steam. But since I’d not picked up AW, this was a great step up from Ghosts.

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Compared to last year the queue for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 was non existent. 

The winning team from each game were awarded an official COD: Black ops 3 t-shirt, sadly I had a horrendous first game – somehow I still finished top of my team, but sadly we did indeed lose and the illustrious prize of a free tee slid from my grasp; Damn! I would be back to take vengeance though, mark my words.

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The Black Ops 3 setup.

After exiting that booth we walked out onto the Star Wars Battlefront stand – the game I was most looking forward to playing. The booth was accompanied by a TIE fighter and pilot, I couldn’t turn down the chance of a picture.

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This Star Wars TIE Fighter was amazing, paired with a TIE Fighter pilot guy too, he stood there all day – now that’s dedication to the empire.

As I went on to start queuing but noticed the queue snaked right around the whole of the booth, it was easily the longest queue in the whole of the expo. I heard it was taking up to three hours, I decided to give it a miss and instead arrive early tomorrow, we never arrived until the late afternoon today so I didn’t want to use up all of my time queuing.

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The queue for Star Wars: Battlefront was HUGE. Hoping to get there early tomorrow in order to secure an advantage.

From there we decided to head over and sample the reboot of Ratchet & Clank, on our way there we stumbled across PlayStation VR, formerly known as Project Morpheus. I was slightly gutted that I wouldn’t be able to try it out due to it been fully booked for the full weekend.

Ratchet & Clank did not disappoint, my word, it looked absolutely beautiful running on the PS4. I can’t wait to play more of it and I will definitely be picking it up when it releases early next year. I’m a huge fan of the series and it seems as though it’s going to be a triumphant return to greatness for a series that was starting to go down hill, sadly I wasn’t able to get much footage of it as it wasn’t prohibited – but Its definitely on my radar and I think it will please all R&C fans as well as platformer fans who’ve never experienced the series before.

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Ratchet & Clank really impressed me, I’ve always been a fan of the series but hadn’t really looked into the reboot that much. The game looks stunning and plays really well too. 

After spending most of my time in the playstation section I decided to enquire about any open PlayStation VR slots, sadly, as already knew, all places were booked, but the lady behind the desk did take note of my number and let me know that she would contact me if any slots became available. Worth a shot, right?

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Waiting to go on Just Cause 3, but then…

From there we went on to queue for Just Cause 3, in a great turn of events, after queueing for little over ten minutes I felt a vibration in my pocket, it was a text “There is one slot available at the PlayStation VR booth, if you can make it over here quickly then it’s all yours” Yes! I couldn’t believe my luck. We walked straight out of the queue and the mad dash began to get back over to the PlayStation area. It was great to know that I was going to be one of the first people in the world to try out Playstation VR. This was the first event it was being revealed to the public so it was quite a special moment.

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Trying out PlayStation VR – It was AMAZING!

I was very sceptical about PlayStation VR before I tried it, I really wanted it to workout well. My initial thoughts were that it would be a less impressive version of the Oculus Rift, but I wanted to try it out for myself and I have to say I was not disappointed, it was absolutely amazing and blew the oculus rift out of the water, I couldn’t believe it. I don’t want to go into too much detail, as I’ll be writing a separate blog on that after the expo is over, but honestly, wow, it was brilliant.

As we were only able to squeeze in three hours today, I decided to spend the rest of the day in the Nintendo booth. I tried out Splatoon as it’s a game which concept is really interesting.

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Splatoon has a fantastic Concept behind it but terrible gameplay controls.

The game was great but what let it down is the way it controlled, using the left analog on the gamepad allowed the character to move, usually you would use the right analog in order to move the camera, not with Splatoon, you had to move the gamepad in the direction you wanted to look. It was really off putting and brought you straight out of the game, I don’t know if this was an alternative control scheme but it was something that didn’t bode well with me.

I ended the day with a little go of Tearaway for the PS4, I loved the original game on the Vita and the PS4 seemed like a more visually pleasing version with some other quirks that capitalised on the features of the DualShock 4.

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I had to get a picture with Vault boy!

It wouldn’t be a great end to the day if I wasn’t able to get a quick picture with Vault Boy from the Fallout Series. It’s been a fantastic first day and I can’t wait to get to try out Star Wars: Battlefront early tomorrow morning, maybe I might be lucky enough to avoid the majority of the queues, well time to set my alarm, it’s been a long day and due to the sheer lack of enough transferring taxis this blog is going up at the crack of midnight. Goodnight folks. Come back tomorrow to see what I get up to on Friday.

/ CR