Azzy Chooses his Top 3 Picks of EGX 2018
EGX 2018 may be over, but the memories and the lust for forthcoming games lives on. Adam selected his top three games of the show.
Thea 2: The Shattering
The beautiful artwork of MuHa Games’ stand got my attention as I wandered around the Rezzed section at this year’s EGX. I’m a geek for anything fantasy and this game totally stole the show. From the artwork reminiscent of League of Legends and the polished smooth in-game graphics of Civilization 5, this is an extremely pretty game from a small indie team.
Thea 2 sells itself as a Slavic myth-inspired Strategy / Survival Game, but I feel this downplays the RPG driven story and its card combat mechanics. It sounds like a lot of genres have been mixed up in a blender, and it is, but the mix is just perfect. Whilst it is a continuation of its predecessor Thea: The Awakening, you can still jump right into the new game.
The demo puts you in control of a small party whose boat gets damaged in a storm and you get shipwrecked on an unknown island. The map and some story elements are randomly generated, so it is possible to get different experiences on each playthrough. In my demo, my child went missing so I had two objectives a) to find my missing child and b) to collect the resources required to repair my boat.
As you move around the island you’ll encounter monsters, NPCs and locations to explore. I met a group of bandits and instead of fighting them I attempted to seduce their leader into sleeping with me. It worked, and he took me back to his special little “love-pond” where he got a little over-excited causing him to embarrassingly reveal his true… scales. He was some sort of half-fish, half-man. I used my assets to get what I wanted – the location of my child – then once I’d finished romping I headed onto the Hag’s House.
The old hag was telekinetically holding a knife above my child’s head whilst she innocently played. I thought I’d taught her not to talk to strangers, especially scary old ones with horrible noses, but alas, the situation was set. The old hag was looking to make a sacrifice, and my daughter was that sacrifice due to her outstanding beauty (which she gets from me, obviously). I challenged the Hag to a battle of wits rather than outright attacking her. I won, and in exchange for my daughter’s life I gave up the location of the pretty Fishboy. It was a win-win-win scenario really, I got my daughter, the hag got a sacrifice, no-one ever found out I had sex with a fish.
All that was left was to scavenge enough materials to fix up my boat and I could leave this island – and its fishy memories – behind me. I set about gathering wood and lo and behold the rest of Fishboy’s Posse turn up all pissed off that the Hag had captured and then sacrificed him. Of course, they would rather come after me than the Hag but hey, no-one likes a snitch, so I ended up killing them. I was impressed with the way the story played out, it felt like it responded to my actions. It had me laughing and perhaps had things played out differently, it may have had me crying.
I recommend this game to any fan of RPGs and/or Strategy Games. I’ll definitely be picking this one up when Early Access on Steam starts in November, with the full release in the first quarter of 2019.
Total War: Three Kingdoms
I’m a Total fanboy for the Total War series. I first fell in love with it back when Rome: Total War came out. I’ve tried almost every entry in the series since bar the latest two due to my less than adequately specced laptop. One day, one day…
This entry to the series is set in perhaps the bloodiest period of China’s history, known as the Three Kingdoms period. It was a time when there was chaotic infighting between various warlords, eventually stabilising into Three Kingdoms, as opposed to one Emperor over all of China, despite all three leaders claiming to be Emperor over all China. Eventually, this culminated in the conquest of all China once again and makes for a perfect setting for a Total War game!
The demo at EGX was the battle ‘Ambush of Sun Ren’. You’re put in control of two heroes – different from previous Total Wars games where this time the hero is a single combat unit – and an army composed of 2 units of sword infantry, 4 units of heavy spear infantry and 2 units of cavalry. In this scenario, your army is on the march when it is ambushed by the opposing army. A small force lies in wait in the nearby trees before they let off Chinese Lanterns to signal the start of the ambush. You can try to defend yourself or you can make a break for the extraction point to win the battle. The lanterns really added to the aesthetic of the battle and this is by far one of the prettiest entries in the series yet.
I chose to fight, and I quickly defeated the ambushers by forming up my infantry and having them retreat into the trees the over side, drawing their forces into the opening. I manoeuvred my cavalry to mop up their archer units, before smashing them into the rears of their infantry units. They were routing in no time. The UI is streamlined, and I didn’t have any issues finding the commands or abilities I wanted to use. The controls appear to be the same as the last entries, so everything worked as expected.
After defeating the ambushers, I moved my army to a nearby hill to fend off the 2nd wave of attackers and got involved in some hero to hero combat. One of my heroes excelled in this so I utilised her abilities to weaken the enemy hero before challenging him into a duel. Triggering this pits the two combatants one to one in a duel to the death. The regular soldiers will respect the duel and not interfere. Whilst the battle went on the heroes made comments to one another, as well as to the opposing heroes. This makes for some nice story-driven content which I can imagine helps drive the campaign in the full game.
I really enjoyed my playthrough. It’s everything I expect from a Total War game with what seems to be a more story-driven approach and the prettiest graphics yet. Total War: Three Kingdoms is developed by Total War stalwarts Creative Assembly, published by SEGA, and is expected to release in Spring 2019.
Disco Elysium: A Detective RPG
I’ll play anything labelled up as an RPG. It’s my thing but perhaps the weirdest RPG I have ever played is Disco Elysium (formerly known as No Truce With The Furies). It’s a detective RPG using the 90s era isometric worldview that is making a big comeback right now. It throws you into the shoes of a y-front clad cop who drank so much he gave himself amnesia.
After a lengthy conversation with your own mind, you know, those actual conversations you have with yourself in real life when you’re trying to convince yourself to be a productive member of society but all you want to do is hibernate in your bedsheets for another two hours or just play one more turn before you go and feed yourself dinner at 11 pm? Yeah, THOSE conversations. After one of those, you wake up finding yourself wearing nothing but a pair of y-fronts, your clothes strewn across the apartment and a broken pane in the window. What the hell happened? I don’t know, he doesn’t know, I don’t even know if the game even knows.
There is a lot of dialogue in this game. Most of it appears to be voice acted, and well I might add, which adds to the pull into the dark hole that is Disco Elysium. There is something raw and gripping about this game. I wanted to be at home, forgetting to feed myself whilst I get sucked into the fantastically rich world this game offers.
The skill checks in this game are categorised into four attributes: intellect, psyche, physique and motorists. Skills such as perception and composure fall into the motorics category, whilst conceptualisation and rhetoric fall into intellect. This eclectic set of skills make for some unique insights and a different side of storytelling that seems much more in-depth than anything I’ve ever encountered before
Disco Elysium, developed by ZA/UM and published by Humble Bundle is coming to Steam, though no release date has been revealed as of yet, it’s expected to be a huge disruptive smash in 2019
Robin – I played Disco Elysium back at PAX East and EGX Rezzed and it was shaping up to be something special then, with all these emergent gameplay moments. Looks like others felt the same after EGX:
Played Disco Elysium at EGX, failed a speech roll and told someone “I want to have fuck with you.” pic.twitter.com/bT0bW1svmE
— Kirk McKeand (@MckKirk) September 23, 2018
I failed a stealth check and did a bullet time jump backwards flipping someone off with both hands and fell into a woman in a wheelchair. Cracking game.
— Elliot Gardner (@ElliotLGardner) September 23, 2018
Like a massive, open ended, tabletop roleplaying murder mystery with a crazy GM, Disco Elysium is shaping up to be something REALLY special and I’d have put it top of this list, but it’s Azzy’s list so I’ll just have to suck it up and await the release of Disco Elysium: A Detective RPG. – Robin
ZA/UM Studios also took to the stage at EG to talk about trying to create the best RPG of all time
Come back for Robin’s picks of EGX 2018 soon.
Check out our Top 7 Games from EGX Rezzed
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