The Best Games of EGX 2017

EGX is the UK's biggest exhibition of new and upcoming video games for those beautiful consoles we all love so much. Despite being in Birmingham, the city equivalent of Mordor; listing everything amazing about EGX could fill a tome. The latest blockbusters; passion-fuelled indie titles, tournaments, talks from developers, a paradise of retro classics... and then there's all of the sexy gamer merch (my new Pokémon Elite Four hoodie is a masterpiece). Despite wanting to grab the controllers for every game there, two days sadly wasn't enough to cover it all. However, I certainly got to play the ones that mattered.

Dissidia Final Fantasy

Released on Japanese arcades in 2015, the single/multiplayer fighting game is a cocktail of past Final Fantasy characters coming to a ps4 port in early 2018. Featuring hack n' slash and spell 'em up gameplay, Dissidia is absolutely insane, and the way its demo was set up made it totally addictive.

Taking twelve players from the queue at a time, we were entered into a two-stage tournament. Put into teams of three, we were given a chance to play a couple of practice rounds with different characters against another team before a qualifying round. If you won that round, you were put through to a best-of-three final round with the other winning team. The best ranked players of each team were streamed on big screens, open to industry commentary and to be viewed by audiences.

Even though I played mostly as Cloud, experimenting with varied characters of past Final Fantasy games (most I've never played but still) with different move sets is so much fun. There's what feels like a million things happening at the same time but the overall aim of each match is to have three deaths happen on each side. That can means opposing team members can die once each or you could coordinate with your teammates to cause one enemy to die three times.

Even after only playing a couple of matches; the crazy structure of the matches forces you to adapt your strategy with your team. As you're made to put so much thought into it, you get a sense of adrenaline and satisfaction every time you land a hit or hopefully a kill that makes you want to go back for more (which is why I went back to play it again).

Release Date: 30th January 2018

Super Mario Odyssey

With my experience of Mario games mostly being the classic 2D games and Mario Kart, the series' new upcoming entry - a 3D platformer - got me curious. The demo gave a choice of two worlds to visit: New Donk City and The Desert Oasis. It's a shame we weren't allowed to explore both but it was understandable given the huge demand to play the game.

Going into New Donk City to sample a taste of what Odyssey had to offer, I was left in awe. The best part of it was the demo had nothing to do with fighting koopas or any other of Bowser's minions. It focused on enthralling players in the sense of fun and exploration. Scurrying about amongst real world-looking humans on a side mission, blazing across the city in a scooter to collect coins and moons, throwing your magic hat around to possess rocket ships that'll take you elsewhere. It's all accompanied with variations of the angelic theme song, Jump Up, Super Star, playing in the background. I loved every second. You can even perform some sweet acrobatics and skip rope. What more could you want? Despite not being given a chance to explore any other worlds yet, I know for sure that Odyssey is definitely going to be a console seller for the Nintendo Switch.

Release Date: 27th October 2017 on Nintendo Switch

Dragon Ball: FighterZ 

When you hear the term "2.5D fighting game", you might think of it as a downgrade. Arc System Works' new take on converting the Z fighters into gaming form is anything but. It will leave you in visual awe. There are far too many specialised combinations for each character to master during a quick play session, so most of the time I found myself hyper-actively button mashing, as if I'd just downed a Red Bull. However, when you start to get used to basic commands, the combat flows seamlessly, being hard hitting and exhilarating.
Whenever a hit or combo landed, the gloss, animation, and the subtle transitions between 2D and 3D is all absolutely breath taking. In Dragon Ball: FighterZ, players will finally feel like they're taking part in a video game and anime simultaneously.

Release Date: February 2018 on PS4, Xbox One & PC

Star Wars Battlefront II (Game of the show)

The first Battlefront back in 2015 left an EA-flavoured sour taste in our mouths with a lack of maps, no real story mode and the remaining half of the game being held hostage in an overpriced expansion pass.

Battlefront 2's demo proves this is the game that was originally promised years ago. After standing in what felt like the longest queue of the day, you're sadly not treated to any of the upcoming story mode. Instead, you're treated to a full course of a multiplayer, but it made the wait oh so worth it. Being either a member of the clone or droid armies from the Prequel Trilogy, players got to choose from the classes of Assault, Heavy, Specialist and Officer to go up against players from the other army. Luckily, we were given a generous amount of time to try out each class. The Heavy class is a lot less mobile but you're equipped with an epic assault blaster and a shield which was the most fun to mess around with but the Officer class was by far the most effective for death matches. Equipped with a sentry turret skill and a powerful pistol, it's what got me closest to taking out Darth Maul, even though seeing Maul felt like staring death in the face.

But what I love most about Battlefront 2 most however, is the point system. As you score damage and rack up kills, you accumulate points that add up when you die. When you meet the death screen, you can spend points on respawning as a vehicle or character, the characters being the most expensive. Whether you want to be a Tie Fighter, Rey, Han Solo or Boba Fett, you'll be able to spend hundreds of hours messing with all of the skill sets in different matches. Battlefront 2 seems like the ideal blend we always dreamed of: spectacular gameplay with the right aesthetics to throw you into that world. Not to mention that the standard Stars Wars battle soundtrack is still present in all its glory.

Release Date: 17th November on PS4, Xbox One and Windows

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