Mr Teatime visits the Gamescom 2016
Tea: Sencha Mango
With a huge game event in my country, I simply had to visit the Gamescom this year after not having done so all the years prior. Though the fear of the masses of people had originally terrified me, I am pleased to say that they were not as numerous as I originally expected, in return though the event sure as hell was a lot louder than I had thought. Ubisoft really doesn’t like people’s eardrums it would seem. Anyway, I visited and played a lot of game and the following lines include my highlight. Take note, however, that I was far more interested in seeing a lot of things rather than playing them and I sure as hell wasn’t going to wait two hours or more in line to play a game like For Honor or Battlefield 1. I watched and sometimes tried what peaked my interest. I will try to link trailers or any other material in the title of each section, so make sure to click on those. Now let me tell what those special few were:
My first stop and the first game I actually stood in line for (not that long, though it seems they did not anticipate this many people). As you can see from the trailer, HoB is a third-person adventure type game somewhat reminiscent of the earlier Legend of Zelda games coming to both PC and PS4. The art style is beautiful and pleasing to look at. I like the main character’s simple yet distinct design and the overall art direction the game is taking. Controls are fine and the music is soothing. What really set this one apart for me is the strong world-building. There are a lot of elements in the environment that do not factor into the solution of a puzzle, giving the world an organic feeling, rather than only ruins smashed together to form the one vital path to your objective. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for HoB and if this sounds like something you enjoy, you should too.
– Amazing art style and simple yet fun gameplay in an absorbing world. –
Gravity Rush 2:
Not having played the first Gravity Rush (but still wanting to do so), I played a bit of Gravity Rush 2 at Sony’s booth. The game runs and looks amazing, suffice it to say. There is a bit of a learning curve, but after two minutes of messing about with the controls, I was having a blast floating (or rather falling) around and fighting in mid-air. The comic-book style cutscenes are nicely drawn and the city in the sky feels like a great place to explore. I can see myself simply flying about and enjoying the scenery while using my gravity powers. The game is coming out exclusively on the PS4.
– Too little games these days are simply just fun to play. –
This game clearly wins the prize for the best booth design in my book. Little Nightmares (originally called Hunger) is a horror game that puts you under the small yellow hood of the main character. And I do mean small, seeing as the little girl is only roughly 30 centimetres high. The demo featured an escape and hiding sequence from a rather ugly and grim looking cook in a quite unhealthy kitchen. I adore the art style of this game and the attention to detail such as the small puffs of breath in the icy meat locker. I generally love any kind of nightmarish imagery that is not trying too hard to be scary up to the breaking point, but rather through a generally consistent level with atmosphere being the top priority and this game definitely has that. The game is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC sometime next year. If atmospheric horror games are right up your alley then check out Little Nightmares.
– I love the horror of the ordinary twisted environments. –
If you are looking for a bit more action, in fact only raw and pure action, then Icey might interest you. The game was playable, though only in Chinese and with little context. The website and interviews hint at a branching narrative, but the gameplay is what really matters. It is fast, relentless, and fun. The gameplay setup reminded me favourably of Odin Sphere with its two-dimensional high resolution sprites. Combat is incredibly fast and fun. This appears like a game with a constant learning curve after the old “easy to learn, hard to master” formula like Devil May Cry or Bayonetta. I sadly can’t say anything about the platforms or release dates, but I would assume it will definitely be on the PS4.
A soon-to-be-Kickstarter game with the most beautiful poster design of the event. You can control a multitude of different animals and explore a vast and vibrant landscape from the respective perspective of the animal. The game appears very meditative and soothing, yet at the same time instils a sense of exploration very elegantly. The game will be out for both PC and console, when is not clear at this point since this will probably depend on the success of the Kickstarter campaign. Check out their homepage right here and find out whether this could be your cup of tea.
– There is an alarming lack of games that let you play as a wolf. –
Black: The Fall:
A game set in a communist dystopian world where you play a factory worker (who else would you play in a communist world, comrade). The game is a puzzle game with a very interesting monochrome aesthetic that highlights the occasional splashes of colour. The demo they showed at the event looked exciting, though I did not get to play it. I once again have to assume that this game comes to PC (possibly other platforms). The game sets itself apart in both setting and style and I always adore risky ideas that pay off.
– The slightly different Tomorrow Children –
She Remembered Caterpillars:
This little gem almost went unnoticed, if it wasn’t for the oddly intriguing name. She Remembered Caterpillars is a puzzle game with a unique and cute art style. The basic principle behind it is easily understood, but the puzzles will continually crank up the challenge. You can play a demo of the game on steam right now and I would highly recommend checking it out. It was one of my favourite games at the event and one to keep in mind for the future.
– Adorable art style and challenging puzzles make this game stand out.-
Schlicht (meaning “plain” or “simple” in German) is a cooperative puzzle game about two opposite colours working together to survive. The puzzles rely on black and white colour schemes with black being able to block or dissolve white areas and vice versa. With this set up the game tasks you with reaching a goal at the end and helping your partner as well. Just like the name implies the concept is simple and yet brilliant. Schlicht looks enjoyable yet challenging with a unique touch, basically everything you can hope for in a puzzle game.
– Everything is in the name. –
Taking the next step in the Assassin’ Creed series, Ubisoft cuts out all the boring killing and sneaking and fulfils everyone’s wish to simply be able to play as the eagle from the vantage points. I am kidding, of course, in regard to the AC series, but the game does come from Ubisoft and does indeed feature flying around as an eagle in beautiful cities, so it’s not that big of stretch. This is a VR game and really suited for it. There is an online competitive aspect to it which will be interesting to keep an eye out for.
– Synchronise –
Of course I saved the best for last: The winner of a non-existent Critical Teatime award for the most exciting game of this year’s Gamescom must go to: Typoman. This 2D jump and run puzzle game uses physical representation of words in the game world and their manipulation. This game simply feels made for me (and maybe you). The main characters is made up of the letters for HERO, they already had me at that point. I giggled throughout the trailer as words were implemented cleverly into the game world never shying away from a bit of humour. You need to check out the gameplay trailer to share my excitement. The game is currently out on steam but will receive updated version for consoles. Of all the games I saw, Typoman has to be my absolute favourite: Smart, funny, and with a distinct art style.
– The clear winner of this year. –
So there you have it, my first visit to the Gamescom (or any big gaming-related convention for that matter). It was fun although it was also incredibly loud. As you know by now I did not waste my time standing in line for any of the big releases, since I know enough about these games anyway. The smaller games are the ones I wanted to devote my attention to, as I probably never would hear about them otherwise. A last funny little detail: The little wristband everybody has to wear to show their age, is an advertisement for Final Fantasy XV and I cannot imagine what this must cost. So it is all the more funny to me that they would print the old release date of the 30.09. of this year on it, even though a few days back it was postponed to the end of November. And to add to this paradox, the announcer was so keen to let everyone know that they can and will play the finished version of the game which theoretically includes everything, of course everyone only got 30 mins with the game. I hope something throughout my Gamescom journal catches your interest.
Image sources in order of appearance:
- http://www.runicgames.com/images/hob/wallpapers/04_1024x768.jpg (Last date of access: 22.08.2016)
- http://images.pushsquare.com/news/2015/12/gravity_rush_2_looks_gorgeous_in_11_minute_ps4_demo/large.jpg (Last date of access: 22.08.2016)
- http://www.giga.de/wp-content/gallery/projekt-hunger-little-nightmares/hunger_02-rcm1920x0.jpg (Last date of access: 22.08.2016)
- http://mooneyestudios.com/presskit/lost_ember/images/LostEmberScreenshot13.jpg (Last date of access: 22.08.2016)
- http://www.blackthefall.com/uploads/7/5/1/7/75177745/black-the-fall-poster.jpg (Last date of access: 22.08.2016)
- http://www.danielgoffin.com/diary/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/2016-03-12_level6.png (Last date of access: 22.08.2016)
- http://www.schlichtgame.ch/img/schlicht1_medium.jpg (Last date of access: 22.08.2016)
- https://ubistatic9-a.akamaihd.net/ubicomstatic/de-DE/global/search-thumbnail/eagle_flight-SEARCH-thumb_Mobile_231957.jpg (Last date of access: 22.08.2016)
- http://cdn03.nintendo-europe.com/media/images/10_share_images/games_15/wiiu_download_software_5/SI_WiiUDS_Typoman.jpg (Last date of access: 22.08.2016)