We’ve covered what I played at EGX that was good, now for the things that failed to live up to expectations or were just plain crap.
Until Dawn was in the same tent area as Bloodborne and The Order, and the queue was about 1 percent of the size. Most people weren’t bothered to wait I guess as the playthrough of Until Dawn’s demo lasted nearly twenty minutes for each player. Touted as a horror version of Heavy Rain, Until Dawn is supposed to focus on story, graphics and atmosphere. It didn’t manage to succeed at any of that. The demo wasn’t off to a good start when it catches up on whats been going on in the game before you jump in; a girl in a towel runs around trying to escape your usual slasher-movie psycho-villain. You control a girl, with some guy with you, exploring a dark, dingy basement, trying to find the toweled girl.
The graphics certainly aren’t up to much. It doesn’t really come up to Heavy Rain or Beyond’s level, coming up far short as far as facial animations are concerned. The gameplay consists of walking around and clicking on highlighted objects; and occasionally making decisions. The sense of dread was just not there – Heavy Rain itself managed this much better in the DLC chapter where you control Madison while exploring the Taxidermist’s house.
The story seems like really low level teen-horror movie fare. The characters were mostly uninteresting and sometimes annoying. The final section has a ‘Saw’ style choice. Both characters are tied to chairs. The guy has a hand free and a gun with which to choose to shoot himself or the girl, in order to stop a giant saw contraption from killing them both. The demo ends as soon as you make a choice (which I made without hesitating) it’s possible the game may work better when part of a whole, since the characters may elicit more sympathy – but I doubt it.
Bethesda have made a big deal about Evil Within. It’s hard not to I guess – it’s Shinki Mikami, and a return to the survival horror he masterminded in Resident Evil 1-4. I love pretty much everything Mikami does – even PN03 – and I attribute him as the reason why Vanquish is the only Platinum game I like.
It really wasn’t a good sign when the guy playing in front of me managed to hang the game and left me to wait for the game to be rebooted before I could play. I guess its early code, stuff like that happens. At least I hope it’s early code…like really early code. (The release date of October 16th makes me doubt that)
I had alarm bells prepared when I saw the recommended PC specs for Evil Within and they asked for 4gb VRAM and an i7 with at least 4 cores. As high end specs, that sounds fine, for recommended you can bet that the dev is doing something wrong. To put that into perspective, Ryse asks for 4gb of VRAM only for the 4k mode! Those alarm bells were now ringing as I watched the game chug along on PS4 somewhere between 10 and 25fps. The graphics did not justify the performance either, the game is heavily aliased and the middle ground shimmers with noisy textures as though mipmpapping was never invented. Close up, a lot of the textures look highly suspect.
The gameplay itself felt very awkward, more Deadly Premonition than Resident Evil. I didn’t quite expect the game to just have more Ganados variants, rather than something unique – I thought surely it would have something other than the quick zombie that’s in pretty much every horror game, but I was wrong. That is exactly what is here. I blew the head off one before wasting my ammo, blowing a chunk out of another ones head (without killing it) and then running away unarmed and on low health. I’m sure the full game will feature other enemies, but if these are the bread and butter of the game, it doesn’t bode well.
I didn’t play much further, other than having a mess around with the controls. It’s possible the full game may have some good survival horror elements, but the whole setting, the enemies and the performance are just way to shoddy to hold any interest for me. Evil Within was an almost certain buy for me – that’s definitely changed!
So that’s EGX. There was a lot of stuff to play and while I didn’t get round to playing everything, it was still a lot of fun. Organisers still need to find a way to better spread people around. Two hour long queues are insane and they should try to encourage people to wander around and try different things, rather than have everyone stand around waiting to play one or two games. It would be nice to see some more companies join in to – Square Enix hosted their own thing in the week a short distance away, and Koei Tecmo had Doa5 Final Round playable in the tournament, but not on the floor. It’ll be interesting to see where EGX takes place next year with Earls Court soon to go bye-bye. Maybe a new venue will allow them to try some better methods of spreading the play.
Ultimately this EGX taught me – buy Shadow of Mordor, don’t buy Evil Within!