Live Event: EGX 2022
EGX 2022 returned to the London Excel arena, but would it be back to the full experience last seen in 2019, (pre-Covid) or a more scaled-back show similar to 2021? The truth is that EGX 2022 had more in common with last year’s event, with more of a focus on indie games, but there were signs of a return of some of the big publishers who were keen to show off their games. Sonic Frontiers, Street Fighter 6, Wo Long: Fallen Destiny, and Splatoon 3 were all playable, but more on those later. The holy trinity of Microsoft, PlayStation, and Nintendo was again missing with their huge stands, but maybe they will return as the event gathers momentum in the years to come.
On a personal level, this year’s EGX was a great experience for me as my best buddy Wayne once again joined me. Last year, I wrote about Wayne deciding to give EGX 2021 a miss, so it was fantastic to have him back on board to make sure I didn’t miss our stops when I inevitably fell asleep on the train.
When we arrived in London, we met fellow Trophy Achievers Tom and Pete and were joined by Tom’s mate Sam, who ironically hadn’t been back to EGX since 2019 when we last met. As we all get older and now have children, it sometimes means playing video games isn’t always easy. This is why I describe going to EGX as being like Christmas Day. They both happen once a year and it’s a special day where you get up extremely early (5 am for Wayne and me) because you’re excited for the day, meet people you haven’t seen for ages, play some games, have some food and drink, and most importantly have a laugh. Before you know it, the day is over and it’s back to normal, which is why I value days like EGX where I can meet Tom, Pete, and Wayne, and “real life” can disappear for 24 hours.
It wouldn’t be right to not plug the Trophy Achievers Podcast in my review of EGX, especially as Tom, Pete, Wayne, and I are the people who set it up. The show started life at the end of 2021, where we recorded (what we thought) a one-off show to talk about our trophy and achievement challenges we set for the year. As we enjoyed recording together, we decided to make it a regular show in 2022, where we chat about news items that have caught our eye, trophies, and achievements we are proud of, as well as the ones that have caused us immense frustration. There is also a roundup of our Fantasy League, which is a bit like Fantasy Football, but for video games. Most importantly, it gives us a chance to catch up and chat about our love for video games. If you like video games and some light-hearted entertainment, then please give us a listen.
Back to EGX, the event itself was well organised as you would expect, and resembled the set-up from 2021. The indies took up a large section of the hall by the entrance, some of the bigger games were in the middle, and the board games, arcade games, and theatre were located at the rear of the hall. The event took place over 4 days between the 22nd and 25th of September 2022. We went on Friday 23rd and it was relatively quiet during the day. Next year’s show will run between the 12th and 15th of October.
One particular highlight of EGX 2022 was taking part in The Gauntlet. This was a retro video gaming challenge where gamers tested their skills against other players. The 3 games on offer were Tetris, Space Invaders, and Sonic the Hedgehog 3. The idea was to either get the highest score or the fastest time as was the case with Sonic. I failed miserably, whereas Tom, Pete, Wayne, and Sam all finished in the top 20 in the overall standings.
Anyway, here are some of the games and shows that caught our eye during the day.
Slope’s Game Room: A Retro Gaming Quiz
As well as having plenty of video games to play over the course of 4 days, there are also lots of talks and shows to check out. These are usually fun and informative, and I use them as a chance to give my legs a well-earned rest from walking and standing around. Previous guest of the podcast, John Robertson was entertaining people with his Dark Room show, but unfortunately, this fell on days when we weren’t there. However, having watched John before, I would highly recommend you see one of his shows if you get the chance.
Looking at the list of shows available on the day we attended, we decided to check out Slope’s Game Room: A Retro Gaming Quiz. Daniel Ibbertson AKA DJ Slope has his own YouTube channel and was the host of the quiz. It was a very informal event and audience participation was essential. There were several rounds including guessing the artwork, a music round, and even guessing the famous gaming moustache! The idea of the quiz was to have fun, and that’s exactly what we did. Daniel was a fun host with a good knowledge of retro video gaming, and trust me when I say, there were some very obscure questions during the show. I hadn’t heard of Slope’s Game Room before the quiz, but I’m now a subscriber as his channel features some excellent videos about retro gaming. You can check out his YouTube channel here
Street Fighter 6
Considering this was one of the first times fans of the long-running fighting series would have a chance to play Street Fighter 6, there was very little fanfare or spectacle surrounding it. No big banners were advertising the game, and it almost felt like an afterthought in terms of where it was located. However, the most important thing is the game itself and it looked very promising. I was chatting to Sam about how far the Street Fighter games have come in the past 30 years and Street Fighter 6 looks superb. Everything pops off the screen which gorgeous animation and vibrant colours which were a real sight for your eyes.
Along with fan favourites Ken, Ryu, Chun Li, and Guile, there were new characters I wasn’t familiar with including Luke, Juri, Kimberly, and Jamie. I confess that I’m not the world’s biggest Street Fighter fan, but I spent more time than I care to remember playing Street Fighter 2 on the SNES, so the moves I learned with the original fighters were still stored in my muscle memory and I was still able to pull off Ryu’s fireball and Chun Li’s Spinning Bird kick with relative ease. The new characters felt good to play with, and although the basic moves of punches and kicks haven’t changed much in 30 years, there is a deeper level of complexity to modern Street Fighter games, that I will probably never understand. That being said, playing against Sam and Wayne was fun, despite not knowing exactly what I was doing!
My only other observation was the look of the characters themselves. Again, I haven’t followed the series for years, but seeing Ryu with a beard and looking like a hobo was a bit strange, to say the least!
Street Fighter 6 will be released in 2023.
I’ll be honest from the outset and say that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Sonic the Hedgehog. I was always a Nintendo person in the early days and would much prefer to play Mario over the Sega mascot. That being said, I appreciate Sonic and his impact on the video game industry. Although that has arguably lessened over the years, and it would often become a running joke that Sonic hasn’t released a decent video game for quite some time.
However, the success of the Sonic movies has breathed new life into the franchise, and with Sonic Frontiers being compared to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, this new game is intriguing, to say the least.
The demo I played started with Sonic waking up and not knowing exactly where he is and how he got there. An unknown voice speaks to Sonic and before you know it, he is up and running. I can see where the link (no pun intended) between Breath of the Wild and Sonic Frontiers is, as Sonic is free to roam around the land and the music and graphics felt more sombre than a traditional Sonic game.
There was a tutorial that explained the many different moves available to Sonic and they seemed relatively easy to pull off. During my exploration, there was some platforming and fighting against enemies which didn’t require a lot of skill to destroy. There was a boss whom I dispatched relatively easily with some dodging and button-mashing to wear down his energy bar. Later in the game, some sections resembled Sonic Adventures from the Sega Dreamcast. Whilst the game played well enough, one of my main criticisms was the camera which felt a tad too erratic for my liking.
Sonic Frontiers is a strange one as I’m not sure whether it will be any good or not based on my relatively short playtime. My instant reaction was that it played ok, and I applaud the new approach, but it felt a bit disjointed mixing an open-world game with a traditional Sonic platformer. Also, the combat didn’t seem to have many nuances, so I wonder if it will become a little stale after a while, especially if the game has a long playtime which is usually associated with open-world games.
Either way, players won’t have to wait long to find out as Sonic Frontiers is released on 8th November 2022.
I’ve been a big advocate for virtual reality since I first tried it a few years ago. Having owned a PSVR unit for many years, I genuinely feel VR is a momentous change for video games, and with PSVR 2 coming in 2023, I’m even more excited to see what happens with VR.
There were plenty of VR games to try at EGX, and one that caught my eye was Everslaught: Invasion which was available to play on the Meta Quest 2. The VR headset and controllers were very nice indeed, with the big advantage of having no wires attached to the headset being a huge selling point. It is also lightweight and feels comfortable which is essential for extended VR sessions. The controllers are also intuitive and a huge step up for someone who has been using PlayStation Move controllers for a few years.
The game itself was a 2-player dungeon crawler where you and a friend work together to explore and fight off hordes of enemies. Your character could pick up different melee weapons and had access to a wrist gun and a grappling hook. Once we had figured out the controls and how to get around, we were soon smashing enemies with swords and clubs. The game itself was a lot of fun, albeit a little tough, but as this was a quick demonstration, players will quickly learn different strategies to fend off enemies.
Everslaught: Invasion is coming to Meta Quest 2 in 2023.
Couch co-op games have been making a comeback in recent years and it shows no signs of stopping, especially with the forthcoming release of Polterguys. As the name suggests, Polterguys allows up to 4 players to take control of different supernatural characters. The aim of the game is to move around an obstacle-filled room and escape the monster that is chasing after you. This is easier said than done as there are different power-ups to find and use against the other players in the match.
Polterguys was a lot of fun, especially when playing against your friends. In some ways it reminded me of the battle modes in Mario Kart where the last person standing is declared the winner.
Polterguys is coming soon, and you can keep an eye on its development here.
Squad Blast is a fast-paced multiplayer side-scrolling shooter with an emphasis on controlling objectives and working together as a team. Once we had chosen one of the many different characters, each of whom has their classes and skills, we were dropped straight into the action.
Although I didn’t know exactly what I was supposed to be doing, I soon picked up the controls and was capturing areas as well as slaughtering the enemy. The ‘pick-up-and-play element of Squad Blast is one of its greatest strengths. Squad Blast also looks great and pops off the screen with bright vibrant colours.
You can find out more about Squad Blast here.
When a developer challenges you to a boss fight in their new game, you know they must be fairly confident of winning. More on that later.
Trinity Fusion certainly has an interesting premise where the story follows 3 versions of the same character who must save the dying multiverse before it is too late. Each version has different skills and abilities, meaning the player must learn to use each character to have any chance of success.
The game is a 2D rogue-lite action platformer. The combat felt smooth and satisfying with timing being a key factor when blocking enemy attacks. As you will see from the trailer, Trinity Fusion is also a gorgeous-looking game that instantly grabs your attention.
The aforementioned boss battle challenge gauntlet was laid down to Tom. In the first face-off, the boss made quick work of Tom. Then the developer pointed out that Tom could dodge enemy attacks with a well-timed tap of the evade button. Once Tom learned about this, it was a much closer battle, with Tom eventually coming out as the victor.
Trinity Fusion looks like a great addition to the rogue-lite genre, and you can keep an eye on its development here.
So that was EGX 2022. If you made it to the show and have any thoughts, then please feel free to get in touch with the show by using the contact us link.