Big brother to the smaller EGX Rezzed event, EGX (formerly Eurogamer Expo) returned to London in 2019 after 4 years at the Birmingham NEC following the closure of Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, the Expo’s former home. This was good news for me, as Birmingham always seemed a bit too much of a trek to attend, but the event was a regular calendar fixture for us in when it was in London. This year EGX took place in the ExCel centre in London Docklands, a venue I’ve only attended once previously. That time it was for Destination Star Trek in 2012, and a rare chance to see all 5 Captains from the original series up to Enterprise on stage together.
As ever, EGX 2019 still very much had a focus on big AAA games, but thankfully there is still plenty to do if you’re not into queues and the annual COD, FIFA etc. cycle. This included the usual; large indie game area, plenty of traders, a decent sized area devoted to tabletop games, a couple of bars and the less usual; a selection of tattoo artists, just in case you felt like getting some ink at the event.
Did spend a bit of money with the traders, Green Lantern tee, some cool transformers stickers, an EGX lanyard and pin badge and a couple of tabletop games. The new hotness from Days of Wonder Deep Blue, and an interesting looking Euro Card Game Oh My Goods!* The Keyforge* deck was a pleasant freebie after playing a demo game.
There were plenty of freebies in the way of badges and stickers at many of the game stands, and I did very much appreciate EGX providing free pronoun badges at the event too, would like to see that kind of thing at more of these events.
There were apparently over 250 playable games this year, even more than at Rezzed and to be honest I barely played much of any. However I did play some, and spent a bit of time watching others to make sure I at least checked out all the games I was interested in. Here’s my thoughts on those that stood out.
The star of the show for me, and probably the game I’m most looking forward to. Certainly the only one I absolutely had to see at the event. We almost missed it, thanks to there only being one demo unit, and bizarrely they only had the Switch edition so it was hidden away in the middle of Nintendo’s presence. It is looking incredible though, and the two areas available in the demo were stunning.
I think this had the biggest queues outside of the AAA titles. There was certainly always a large crowd around it, and we couldn’t get close to try it ourselves. However, while the art style is still a bit uninspired, the gameplay appears to be very much classic Streets of Rage. Will likely pick it up at some point.
Another one we had trouble locating after deciding we fancied having a look at it, turned out Layton’s Mystery Journey was next to Hollow Knight. I haven’t played a Layton game since the first couple on the Nintendo DS. Seeing this Switch port of a 3DS game albeit with extra content and including the DLC, made me want to play again. Certainly interested in this one.
Didn’t get to play this, but I really like the style and game engine for Art of Rally. However I am concerned that as a rally game the difficulty may be a bit prohibitive for me. See my previous experiences with Dirt Rally. Looked really nice running though, and I’ll see if there is a demo I can play at home…
A rhythm action game in the style of Thumper, very much enjoyed playing this. A likely purchase for me, made sweeter by 25% of the royalties going to The Tim Bergling Foundation, in honour of the late AVICII himself. They do good work.
Would really benefit from a VR version too, if there is any scope for further development.
Always a sucker for a train game and I’ve had my eye on this for a while. Didn’t want to get stuck into a sandbox during the event, but I watched someone else building for a bit and it looks very satisfying. Only slight concern being my complete lack of creativity in these sort of experiences.
More trains! I did have a bit of a go on this one. While I was expecting something reminiscent of Train Valley, the puzzle elements seem a bit more physics based rather than juggling multiple trains at once.
One to watch. I love the setting and premise for this. Never sure about including “hacking mini games” but as a four hour story game, I’m optimistic for an interesting experience a la Firewatch.
I hadn’t heard anything of this before we went in, but there was no queue and we do enjoy a card game. The League of Legends IP is wasted on me, but their taking aim at Heathstone is pretty transparent. Given Blizzard’s recent fall from grace and ongoing PR nightmare, the time is now if you’re going to try and take some of their audience. Time will tell how successful that is. I enjoyed the game, but I also briefly enjoyed Chronicle: Runescape Legends, Solforge, Spellweaver and Ascension. Like those games, Legends of Runeterra so far lacks Hearthstone’s polish, and similarly I expect to bounce off this one too.
A pleasantly surprising little party game we stumbled across while looking for something else. It’s an odd little racing / maze game. We played a few rounds, and depending on the price, it is something I’d like to have in my Switch library for local multiplayer.
There was just the two of us for the event this year, and attending on the Friday instead of a usual Saturday felt relatively low key. Nevertheless, we had a great time hanging out. Playing some games, drinking some beers and burning some cash on unnecessary tat. A success.
*As ever, these are affiliate Amazon links, and I’ll get a small commission if you click one and buy something