I’m a week lat with the list of games I played at Gamescom. But I did hit the ground running on my return to South Africa. So that is my excuse. I headed to Germany a few weeks ago to host the ESL Alternative Stage at Gamescom. But I also had a chance to play a stack of fun games that are set for release soon. So I thought I’d share with you what I played, my initial thoughts and what you need to look out for.
I’ve spoken about some of the games I played at Gamescom on my 5fm show #GamerGlitch so if you tuned in you have likely heard my thoughts on some of these. I also have some gameplay videos and vlogs from Gamescom on my YouTube channel that you can go check out. For now, some written thoughts on the rad games:
Super Mario Odyssey
Remember classic Mario? Where you ran along breaking bricks, punching gold question mark boxes and jumping on the top of mushrooms? Well Super Mario Odyssey is all of that but more. It is all the incredible stuff you love about Mario thrown into an open 3D world. It blows your mind, or at least blew my mind. You also have a new friend in the shape of Cappy, your red Mario cap, which has a life of its own. You’re able to throw it at enemies but also throw it on objects or people without hats to capture them for a period and use them to travel, fly and the like. The game even throws in a homage or two to the original we loved. It is out on the 27th of October and, if you ever needed an excuse to buy a Switch, this is it.
FIFA – but on the Switch
Spoiler: I hate FIFA. So much so that when the folks from Nintendo fired it up on the Switch for me at Gamescom I was a bit “blah”. I didn’t want to play. I’ve tried that game numerous times on Playstation and hate it. I have zero skill and just struggle with it. I know it is probably the most played and loved game of all time but I don’t get it. And then I played it on the Switch. It is a different game for me. The mechanics and style are exactly the same as what you’d see on Xbox and Playstation. It is just so much easier to play. I find the Switch far easier to play on as a user and that translates really well into FIFA as well. It is phenomenal. If you don’t believe me – the Nintendo Pop Up Zone in Sandton City has exclusive FIFA code on the Switch that you can play on till the 10th of September. So if you’re in Joburg pop past and give it a go. You’ll feel like me and suddenly think you should invest a bit more time in FIFA – cause it is fun!
JENGO is a South African developed point and click adventure that is set for early 2018 release. The game demo was available to play at Gamescom following the team signing to indie publisher Playdius Entertainment. Here’s what you need to know: it is beautifully illustrated. Seriously, it is glorious to look at. The writing is sometimes a bit laborious BUT makes up for it by being witty and funny. The story flows and the puzzles, while I found tricky to solve, can be figured out rather quickly. This is going to be a hit. No doubt. I have some game footage I shared in a video and I’m embedding that here so you can see for yourself:
Dragon Ball FighterZ
I was in Germany to host one of the first Dragon Ball FighterZ tournaments in the world. This game is hot. Bottom line. I had a chance to play it a few days before and get a feel for it. It was glorious. You select three characters from the Dragon Ball universe and can “tap in” with them while in battle. This means if one character is about to go down you can tap out and this allows your health to build a bit. The game is a 2D marvel sticking as close to the Dragon Ball Z Anime. Seriously, the graphics in this game are glorious and I love how they stick to the original TV show we loved. It is joyful to play and has a really easy entry. So anyone who picks up a controller will love it. Dragon Ball has always been a favourite of mine and this game seriously caught my attention. It is vibrant and colourful. The addition of teams makes it one of my favourite fighting games this year which, considering the competition, is as high a praise as I can give it. We have to wait till February 2018 for it though. Boo!
Disneyland Adventures Remastered
I didn’t get a chance to play Disneyland Adventures but I did get to sit down and watch someone go through the demo with me. This is special and developed for the Xbox One. You’ll also be able to play it on PC. I’ve been obsessed with Disney my whole life so this game excited me to no end because the one place I’ve always wanted to go is Disneyland! The game transports you to Disneyland and allows you to explore the park. The developers worked hard to match everything perfectly – down to the colour of the railings! It is a complete replica of the real amusement park but the rides transport you to a new world of fun and allow you various adventures to take part on. There are also cute write ins – like trying to find the Mouse emblems in the park (something many people do in real life!). All your favourite Disney characters make an appearance and it is a joyful master piece. I loved the look of it and loved the fact that it will likely cost less than R400 on release.
Assassin’s Creed Origins
I know the Assassin’s Creed franchise. I’ve watched that horror of a Fassbender movie. I’ve just never really found the appeal of the games. I think I played one for all of 10 minutes a few years back. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. But I didn’t feel it. I know, shock horror. The folks at Ubisoft organised me a demo play through of the new Assassin’s Creed Origins which was 45 minutes long. 45 minutes later, I got it. I wanted it. The Egyptian setting is mind blowing and the game play relatively easy enough to get in to. I’ve done a gameplay video to show you just what I mean. Watch it and tell me you don’t dig this one:
Another beauty that has been tweaked for Xbox One release (seriously, after playing Assassin’s Creed and a few others, I whats apped my boyfriend saying it might be time to go team green. He agreed – but mainly because he has one already). The team at Pixar has these play school type set ups for employees of Pixar where they can drop their kids off during the day. RUSH are these play schools but in game. You enter as a kid in the play school and then are tasked with playing games with your friends using your imaginations. Each adventure allows you to imagine you’re Woody from Toy Story or the turtle from Finding Dory. You’re transported in to your favourite Pixar movies through your imagination and able to play a host of fun mini games. All the original actors voice their original Pixar characters and it is such a pretty game to look at and, it looks rather fun to play. I really dig it.
I’ve got the name of this game wrong like a million times BUT it was still my absolute favourite of everything I played at Gamescom. It is mind blowing and when I left the demo area I wanted to go buy a VR headset right away. You play on VR and you’re able to enter and recreate the memories of troubled people. I played as someone suffering from PTSD. You move between memories, solve small problems and delve into someone else’s brain. The memories where the individual is suffering from stress flicker out on you and break up. Jumping between memories and timelines is creepy in the most intimate way. I felt so immersed in this person’s head, so confused and also like I shouldn’t be there. The game is a psychological thriller and after my 15 minute play through I see why. I finished wanting to play more but also feeling somewhat uneasy. This is going to be something spectacular and will likely convince me to buy a VR headset. It will be released in 2018 and is developed by Ubisoft and SpectreVision, which happens to be Elijah Wood’s film studio.
Call of Duty World War 2
I wasn’t scheduled to play this game. However, I have a special friend I met in Cape Town earlier this year and who lives in the UK. We realised we’d both be at Gamescom and made a plan to meet up. We were both super busy but as I was finishing off one afternoon she let me know that she was busy playing the new COD and I could come through and meet her. The queues at the booth for COD were insane but I was able to get in to the streaming space where some COD streamers were doing live gameplay. I’d played COD once as an awkward rAge invitational in Cape Town and made a proper fool of myself. I had no plans to play but got convinced to give it a go. And I am so glad I did. It is a gloriously fun game and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I sucked at it, no doubt but it was fun. I also love history and the World War 2 throw back that tied in map locations had me hooked. I spent more time looking around a getting shot in the back of the head rather than actually getting kills but I didn’t even care. This game is rad and I’m definitely getting it when it comes out in November.
And that’s it. If you got this far – thank you. Gamescom was mind blowing and I’m so glad I got to play some epic games. Which one is the game you’re most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks to Megarom Interactive, Ubisoft and Nintendo for helping me get hands on with these games. A special shout out to RAZER for taking such good care of me during Gamescom. Proud to be your South African brand ambassador!