EGX was a lot of fun, as you’ve been able to see from my previous articles and the many photos I took (though I promise to take even more next time around). I played tons of games, spoke to many developers and as I’ve mentioned in the past, I met new and old friends alike. It was a wonderful experience.
I’m not a fan of “Best of” a given event, as I feel it diminishes the value of every other game that I saw during EGX. But thanks to my friends at 1001Up, it’s public knowledge what my favourite game at the event was, so what the hell? I’ll talk about my Best of EGX 2015.
Best Indie Game: The Living Dungeon
I saw the Living Dungeon a few moments after my first interview on Day One. I’ve always been a fan of dungeon crawlers, the pen and paper kind being my absolute favourite (as in Tabletop D&D) and this game was the closest I’ve ever seen a video game come to that. I’ve played more than a few tabletop RPG adaptations but they all mucked the implementation and made the game clunky.
The Living Dungeon instead made it simple while at the same time adding a lot of depth in mechanics. And what we saw was still in development, there was still plenty of room for improvement and expansion.
According to the game’s backstory, there is a dungeon, the home a dead god. Over the centuries many coveted the power hidden in its depths but no one that ventured in ever came back. A great civilisation built its city on top of the dungeon’s entrance, some worshipping the old god and others just using the dungeon as an execution sentence for its criminals. The game stars one such criminal, an assassin for a local Lord. In the Dungeon she meets a noble, also sent to the depths and the two must survive the perilous journey into the Living Dungeon.
The mechanics for the game are pretty interesting and make you feel like it’s a board game. Every level consists of a number of room tiles, filled with enemies or traps. During your turn you get a number of dice to roll and you use the results to advance or interact with the environment. For example, you can use the Feet icon on some dice to move your character one square in the tile, or you can use another type of symbol to rotate the room, so that its door connects with another tile and you can move on. Attacks come in melee and ranged and you can target anyone, even party members—which I did by accident during my first playthrough of the demo. Later on you even get dice to flip a tile over, killing every enemy inside. You are both player and dungeon master, surviving the dungeon and altering it to suit your needs.
In fact, the dungeon master element is what excites me the most about The Living Dungeon for its future release. The developers mentioned the online mode would have one player serving as DM while the others complete his dungeons. How cool is that? I so want to play that with my friends, setting up games and challenges for them to complete!
One of the things I saw during EGX that I didn’t during my playthrough was a separate mode or display option where the tiles aren’t floating in space but on a table, with mugs, glasses, chips and dice around them, where players would be sitting in a tavern.
Again, how cool is that?
Best AAA Game: As I mentioned to the Great and Legendary Ben from 1001Up, my favourite game of the event was Xenoblade Chronicles X (stop making fun of the way I say Xeno, Ben!). As I mentioned on a recent article on 1001Up, I am a giant fan of the first title on the Wii, brought over to the Americas by Operation Rainfall, the group of fans banding together to bring Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower over. They succeeded and I had the chance of playing all three games but Xenoblade was always my favourite.
What made Xenoblade Chronicles so special was its varied cast, the amazingly gorgeous world you explored and the outstanding mythology of this new world, the bodies of the giant gods and the civilisations that sprouted from their corpses. When you realise the Gaur Plains are just the god’s thighs or some other part of his body, you can’t help but be amazed. And the further you went, even crossing over to the Mech god, the awe just piled on.
It was a wonderful game and it took ages to finish and when I did I had every character maxed out and with their best possible gear.
My expectations for Xenoblade Chronicles X were astronomical, bordering on unrealistic, but you know what? The game met them all in those short minutes I played. I expected a super souped up version of Xenoblade Chronicles and X was just that. There were giant monsters, little ones, Nopons, new enemies, fun and challenging combat with good partner AI, the ability to go from Range to Melee in the hit of a button and exploring a giant and mysterious landscape! There were monsters of low-level coexisting with high-level ones, much like its predecessor, making this world feel alive, not just a collection of leveled zones like most other RPGS.
The only thing I didn’t get to play as was the Dolls, the giant mechs you can ride in but I got to see them on the Nintendo booth during one of their events, highlights and competitions. It was frankly amazing and I can’t wait to play this game when it releases.
Those are my favourites, my best of EGX. If you attended the event or have seen some of the games all of us, journalists, have shown over the past few weeks, please tell me what your best of EGX was in the comments!
And come back tomorrow where I’ll be looking at some of my runner-ups in this ‘competition’!