Impact at EGX – Large Booths

EGX is the biggest gaming conference in the UK, and this year it was hosted in Birmingham. Every large publisher was showing their future games off, including Star Wars Battlefront, Just Cause 3 and Assassins’ Creed Syndicate. The lovely people at EGX have allowed Impact in to report on the new releases, so for the next few days articles about new technology and new games will be published online.

But first, a general overview of the conference through discussing each of the large booths, and their successes and failures. The actual games will be discussed in separate articles, this will focus on how their experience of each booth was.

Playstation’s booth was a real disappointment. As I entered the queue for Assassins’ Creed Syndicate I was excited to see where Ubisoft was going with the series, as I loved its predecessor Black Flag. However, as we got to play the game the sound was broken in the booth, the controls in the demo were poorly explained, which made it especially difficult for someone used to the Xbox controls, and the staff weren’t particularly helpful about this. I did get to try out EA’s reboot of Need for Speed which saved me large queues, although we didn’t get headphones and so no audio. Their treatment of their VR tech was also atrocious, but that will be written about in a separate article.

“Playstation’s booth was a real disappointment”

Xbox did much better with headphones that actually worked and controls which were explained in the demos. Sadly as the queues were so long, I was only able to play Forza 6 and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Halo 5’s queue never dipped below an hour-long wait time for the entire two days I was there. They also had queues where you could take pictures with the boy from Fallout and a section with a guy giving out prizes, but these were far too crowded. This was not Xbox’s fault, the event was just very popular. They also were giving out trading cards for playing their games which I thought was a neat idea, even if it was virtually impossible to get round every Xbox game shown.

EA had a good showing of games, with Need for Speed, Star Wars Battlefront, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. Unsurprisingly their focus was mostly on Battlefront but they also had a large amount of wasted space – a Nissan GTR was placed where it would have been better to have more computers playing games. Their lack of consoles on the stage was particularly dire for Mirror’s Edge, as they had ten monitors playing a 13 minute demo. It is clear EA wasn’t expecting it to be so popular. However they cannot be faulted for the amount of games shown, as there was no fault of any of the machines.

Square Enix’s area was mostly just computers playing Just Cause 3. Credit to them: they had a large number of PCs so the queue moved extremely quickly. They did however have an energy drink company handing out free drinks when you entered as they were sponsoring Just Cause 3 and I thought this was a bit cheap. They did also have presentations showing off the new Deus EX and Hitman games but both showed too little gameplay. This was particular egregious in the Hitman demo, as they spent the first ten minutes talking about “Virtual Tourism” and Paris, neither of which I personally care much about in an assassination game. As I wasn’t able to actually play either game, it was impossible to tell how much was pre-rendered so it was a small disappointment.

I was unable to play any Ubisoft games in their booth so I can only describe the outside. They had a large amount of computers showing off Tom Clancy’s The Division, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six and Assassins’ Creed Syndicate, so assume the queues moved quickly. They also had an extremely attractive section for Assassins’ Creed with a broken clock and people dressed in Victorian clothing giving people temporary tattoos. A commentator talked about the gameplay of those playing Rainbow Six which was a nice touch, as it made it feel like e-sports, even if it was very annoying when waiting to play Just Cause 3.

“They did also have presentations showing off the new Deus EX and Hitman games but both showed too little gameplay”

There was other booths for large companies, but these were the only ones which had things outside of playing the game. Activision was showing off Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Sega was showing off Total War: Warhammer but these booths were not very interesting to be around. There will be a few more articles about some of the smaller booths but this a quick overview of the large booths.

Tim Spencer

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