Inside Xbox May Round Up

Yesterday Inside Xbox held a conference in which they showcased gameplay on the next-gen Xbox Series X. Now, there was a little misjudgement on their end with what gameplay was. But we did get some exciting announcements, and the graphics and capabilities of the Xbox series X look outstanding. The ray Tracing stood out to us both, and we fell in love with some of the announcements.

Xbox also talked a lot about their Smart Delivery service, which allows you to upgrade your Xbox One games to Xbox Series X quality. Provided you own the Xbox Series X*

Here are a few of our favourites from the first, of many, showcases during the next few months:

Bright Memory Infinite

Set to release on

One-person studio FYQD may have produced a beautiful masterpiece in Bright Memory Infinite. The trailer managed to show off significant parts of the stunning combat we are going to face in the game mixing first-person shooting, acrobatic swordplay and even a grappling hook, which looks too fun to be true. We’re entirely unfamiliar with the previous title, but the feudal demonic samurais look like they’re going to test our skills. It’s unbelievable this is an indie title with this gorgeous environment and effects. We thought this was a great game to start the announcements off as it shows what we’re in for when we get the next generation.

Lloyd: “There’s not much to say here other than wow and what an opener. They couldn’t have picked a better game to show off what the Series X can do.”

Dale: “Possibly the biggest stand out from this showcase, mainly because its made by ONE PERSON! Also, the gunplay and combat look so fluid. I love fluidity in my games, nothing seemed stunted, but it was only a trailer, so I am reserving my hype a little.”

Scorn

Scorn is one of the many horrors/thrillers that appeared in this month’s Inside Xbox. With an apparent influence from Scott Ridley’s Alien, it looks like this horror will test your wits as you uncover the secrets of this gruesome looking world. The presentation only showed a cinematic trailer, which provides you with insight into the terrible looking creatures that you will encounter on your visit. It is worth noting that this will be a game released on Gamepass, so it may be worth checking out.

Lloyd: “I’m partial to a couple of horror games, but even this seems like it could be a step too far, it looks horrific. I love the design of the environment. It looks like something from an ancient civilisation, this makes me excited to expereince the story.”

Dale: “Horrors are a big No-No from me. Scorn will have to be a game I experience through Lloyds retelling! But my only take from the game is, can you see any Phallic symbolism within the trailer? I know it’s not just me.”

The Ascent

Set in a Cyberpunk world, The Ascent is a solo and co-op RPG. The controlling corporation, The Ascent Group, has collapsed and the space station has locked down. You have to survive. It is developed and published by Neon Digital and Curve Digital.

Dale: “I’ve come to appreciate Dystopian and Cyberpunk novels recently, and it has translated into videogames. I’m just consuming anything within that genre. Although the gameplay is not something, I typically play. But with the cooperative side of the game, I’d give it a go with friends.”

Lloyd: “I love the concept, we’ve seen so many Cyberpunk and Dystopian worlds where there has been an evil organisation at the top and in control but what happens after? So excited and I’m a huge fan of top-down RPGs as well.”

SCARLET NEXUS

Bandai Namco addition to next-gen releases is SCARLET NEXUS, where you play as the OST, a group of psychokinetic warrior who are tasked to save the Earth from The Other. A group of parasitic lifeforms that seem to be unable to be killed. Combat within this game looks geat and undoubtibaly the enemies will be interesting. But we can’t get past the fact that the characters look a little out of place.

Lloyd: “I kept thinking this looked phenomenal, unique enemies with a floral parasitic look to them, beautiful artwork and then came along the OST, the group you’ll be playing as and it just felt wrong. It was equivalent to Michael Jordan in Space Jam, I’m just hoping this as a good as Space Jam.”

Dale “Its funny, Lloyd and I rarely agree when it comes to the negatives of a game, but I have to agree with him. The combat does look good, and the enemies are undoubtedly impressive, but the characters feel too out of place for me.”

Second Extinction

Again showing the capabilities of the Series X, Second Extinction takes you to a beautiful unknown world where you face off against the local species. The game is a survival game which reminds us of Left For Dead except for you’re fighting dinosaurs. The player’s job is to stop the Dinosaurs, who are the reason for the second extinction. It seems like the Dinosaurs have used their previous experience with extinction and are looking to capitalise off it, ‘Cleaver Girl’.

Dale: “Dinosaurs! Instant classic. We only got a look at maybe one or two different Dinosaurs within the trailer, so I hope there is going to be a variety. I want to see some herbivores, a Stegosaurus or Iguanadon charging towards you, not only the carnivores were deadly. I’m only hoping that the co-op gameplay is smooth and rewarding; it looks like a great game to play with friends.

Lloyd: “The alien species are like dinosaurs and who doesn’t love dinosaurs, even if you got to blow them into a thousand pieces. This could be a lot of fun and looks great.”

Final Thoughts

Overall, there are some awesome games announced, a full list with links to trailers are below but we were disappointed not to see any actual gameplay from the Series X. We f

Overall, there are some excellent games announced, all other games we missed with links to trailers are below. We did feel cheated by Xbox; there was an over hype for what the Inside Xbox showcase revealed. Throughout the showcase a message at the bottom kept appearing stating that you should stay tuned, Assassins Creed Valhalla Gameplay coming soon. But it wasn’t there was no gameplay, just what we assume to be in-game cinematics. FOr two people who are sceptical about the game already, this was disappointing. But then again, what difference in gameplay could they show? This is Ubisoft and AC; it’s going to be very similar to the last few titles.

It was, however, a high starting point to what we imagine is going to be a heated summer, in terms of Videogame reveals. Summer Game Fest, has taken the place of E3 this year, so we are hoping that the reveals, now spread out through the summer, will be jam-packed.

Other Games in the Showcase:

EGX 2019: Tales of Treachery

Logo

When a game is simple for people who don’t necessarily game comes along, I tend to gravitate towards it. Ghost Camp is attempting a simple but fun party game that will have you doubting your friend’s words and trying to keep a good poker face to complete your quest. Tales of Treachery, a dark choice-based adventure that you can play on your smartphone. Set to be released sometime next year, the game will surely be played in many living rooms around the world. Combine that with narration by my favourite author Neil Gaiman, then we have an instant classic!

The game works like a simple yes or no game, but instead of answer yes or no, you will be reacting to certain situations presented during the adventure. But whilst the game acts as a cooperative adventure, there is an element of deceit. One player, at random, will be nominated the traitor and will have to attempt to ruin the adventure and kill the party. Working together, or on your own, you must weed out the traitor, or not be discovered.

Character Card

Character cards are the way that the game identifies each player, instead of it being player one or two, you get to choose from a few characters. The interesting thing is that there are no attributes to the characters so that you cannot get an advantage based on which character you pick. Your skills are dependent on your own life skills, the ability to lie and coerce your friends will benefit you throughout your adventure. This makes the game a quick pick up, each adventure is roughly ten minutes long and will be randomly generated. I can seriously see this game being used at parties or during game nights.

It pays to have a good poker face, during my playthrough at EGX I was the traitor and failed. However, I was able to avoid being caught when suspicions were high, I was able to avoid detection by allowing my team members to take charge and back them up. Unfortunately, it took too long for me to gain their trust and I wasn’t able to get them killed.

Voting

Choices are made with a voting system, each player gets to vote for what they believe is the right answer. During our game, we had the option of stealing eggs in an Ogre den. Simple, but effective because everyone has their mind on the loot, so as the traitor I had to convince them to steal the eggs. Luckily for me, another player suggested we steal them as Ogres don’t lay eggs, so potentially they won’t be so protective of them. I instantly was able to back the suggestion up with an “If you say so”, putting the choice on that player, the rest soon followed and we were hurt by the Ogre. Each vote counts as a point unless you are the leader for the turn, then your votes count for two.

At the end of each ‘chapter’, you are then tasked with the choice to either vote for the traitor or leaving it for the night, which is where the drama starts. Tales of Treachery does a fantastic job of pitting friends/players against each other, no one wants to admit they are the traitor so you instinctively become untrusting of anyone that accuses anyone. For good reason too, as if the team votes for someone, then they die… but then the question becomes, what if they were innocent?

Boss

The final boss was a fun fight too, the game strains your trust throughout the time you play. Then suddenly, each player gets a direction to swipe and must call it to the team, you have no choice but to trust them. If you swipe the wrong way then your team takes damage, So this is the traitors time to shine, which leaves the rest of the players in an awkward situation, do you trust what your team are directing you to do?

Tales of Treachery is a simple game but fun game and that speaks wonders to how accessible it is. The player doesn’t need to know hundreds of button combos or have a deep understanding of the lore, you just need to be able to communicate and have a good or bad poker face.

There’s not a set release date for Tales of Treachery, but Ghost Camp has stated that it will be out in 2020 sometime, so keep an eye out and follow them here;

Thanks for reading!

EGX 2019:Flotsam

The best way to describe Flotsam would be a ‘floating-recycling-survival-simulator’. In a post-apocalyptic world, where landmasses have been swallowed by the sea, you have been tasked to scour the sea for the precious remains of the previous generations, garbage. With this garbage, you will rebuild civilisation and traverse the sea to look for a better life.

EGX 2019: Hollow Knight: Silksong

Hollow Knight has cemented itself as one of my favourite games and that’s the same for many people! The mixture of charm, setting and difficulty has the best of players lost in its allure. So naturally when Team Cherry announced they wished to continue the Hollow Knight saga, it was easy to understand why everyone got excited quickly. But for me, the excitement was not the fact there was going to be another game, I could certainly get my fix from the first game. For me the excitement is set in the fact that I could play as my favourite NPC, Hornet. Now I’ve talked on multiple times why I love Hornet, so I’ll save you the lecture, you can read that here.

I honestly did not know that Silksong was at EGX until I saw some people tweeting about it, I remember saying to Lloyd “I need to play this, I’m going to spend all day tomorrow finding it!” And alas I did and it was beautiful. It was in the Nintendo area, but unfortunately there was only one console set up to play it, certainly an underestimation of the hype as there was always a que for it. So after roughly half an hour of waiting it was my turn.

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There were two levels you could play, one set in the beginning of the game and one set further into the story. Obviously the first level was aimed towards the beginners to the game, whilst the hardcore Hollow Knight fans usually played the second level. Surprisingly I opted for the easier of the stages, mainly because there were many people watching me play, I didn’t want to get destroyed by some ridiculously hard boss. Plus with the game being easy I could focus a little more on the actual artwork and level design, which have completely emulated the beauty of the first game.

However, Hornet, to me is a much better protagonist than our silent Knight. Please understand, I do like the Knight, so please put down the pitchforks. For me, Hornet has a great personality, which I love my protagonists to have. She’s graceful but still a little cocky and aware of her skills. That certainly translated in her gameplay, with the ability to slice through the air to hit enemies from above and disengage with a beautiful backflip that adds so much grace to her attacks.

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The level that I got to play was based at the beginning of the game and was set in a lush green area, the enemies here are similar to the ones at the beginning of Hollow Knight. There are some that just move from A to B and ones that target you and approach slowly, but the meat of the demo was the boss. The boss ‘The Moss Mother’ Is very similar to ‘The Gruz Mother’ from Hollow Knight, except it felt a lot harder. The boss targeted you with telegraphed attacks and shifted its pattern once or twice to catch you out. Hornets ability to dash through the air and attack served me well, granting me the ability to chain together a few attacks to give me the advantage.

The health system from Hollow Knight has returned, which was a great addition. Simply each attack you land fills up a gauge, this gauge will then allow you to either heal or attack. Think of it at a mana gauge, except you have to hit enemies to fill it up. This time the gauge is represented as a tread of string, probably hinting towards the main story in the Silksong could be less about the area and more about Hornet herself. there is also an emphasis on musical instruments that I believe will play a big impact in the narrative of the game.

Silksong-Screenshots-_0001_19

The game feels VERY similar to Hollow Knight and to me that’s a little bit of a worry in that I don’t particularly want to play just a repeat. The world that they have crafted feels similar enough but has enough differences in enemies and story that hopefully that will set it apart. I do however like that they’ve not just added Hornet as a playable character in the Hollow Knight games, instead they’ve chosen to allow us to explore her story a little more.

We really don’t know much about this story and Team Cherry have been very ambiguous with what’s actually happening. That fits with their style of story-telling, Hollow Knight had a story that you had to think about. With clues not just in the dialogue but hidden within the background of the game, I love this style of story-telling. I’m excited to find out whose gone through the trouble of capturing Hornet and how/if she finds her way out alive.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a release date for Silksong yet, other than some time in 2020. So my best advice would be to keep an eye on their social media and website if you are interested. You can find them here;

Thanks for reading!

EGX 2019: Cyberpunk 2077

During EGX we had the opportunity to sit down with CyberPunk 2077 and watch a 45 minute live gameplay demonstration. It was interesting as it took place further on into the story, with mild spoilers which explained different factions and a little bit about the settings. The spoilers are nothing too important, just a bit of lore and story information.

The demo started off by showing the character creation menu, which seemed like your typical RPG character creations, I’ve got to admit I wasn’t impressed by the lack of detail you can put into your character, a cool bit of surface-wiring and pretty eyes seemed to be about creative as you can get. As someone who puts a lot of time into their character builds, I’m hoping that with six months till release, they flesh out the creation system. However, besides this worry I thought that the fact you could choose your characters background, was relatively interesting. You could choose between a; Street rat, Outlander and Corporate background.  This little bit of detail changes the way your character can interact with certain factions and people, instead of it being just a bit of background lore, it directly affects gameplay.

The demo introduces us to a law-free area of Pacifica, an area that was destined to be a tourist attraction. Instead the project was scrapped and it is now a metropolis for crime, with the people left jobless and searching for a means to survive. Our protagonist is on the search for the Voodoo boys second in command, Placide, who sets you on a mission in return for information. You get the choice on whether you trust him when he tries to hook into your chip-set. Of course, we get your classic dialogue options, which are no longer just based off your skills but also your backstory. The dialogue mechanic is completely fluid with options fluttering in and out as people come into your eye line. Meaning that you are no longer just interacting with one person but the whole world around you.

cyberpunk press kit 2

After speaking with Placide, you are tasked to go to the Animal’s hideout in the mall, which has become a temple of sort to the corporations that tried to transform Pacifica into a tourist attraction. Before the action begins you are told to scout out the surrounding area of the mall, revealing a number of different ways into the building. You can pick a number of different skill sets which define the way you progress through the game. In the demo they gave us the viewing of a Netrunner (A hacker) and a strong solo build. The Netrunner tries to sneak and use his abilities to hack enemies and items, whilst the strong solo build just rips through everything in its path. Granting the player the option to play the game as they want.

The combat in terms of shooting is sort of what you expect from an RPG, it’s pretty basic but there’s other options. With everything and everyone connected to the net, you can hack your enemies implants, give them viruses that explode their head, turn them against their allies, weaken them, the list seems endless. Cyberpunk 2077 is truly about letting the player, play the way they want to play and the combat optimises that. The way your choices and the skills you select can influence dialogue and relationships with characters. The CD Projekt Red rep even claimed you can play the game without hurting a soul, so pacifists your in luck!

Of course, the demo was with flaws, there was a few bugging issues but hopefully these will be fixed with time. A couple of AI glitched, enemies running into pillars, the things you may expect from a game at this stage in development. However, the game does look it’s really coming into his own and could be another top game from CD Projekt Red, an incredibly impressive one.

I am truly excited to play CyberPunk 2077, look for it to be released on the 16th April 2020, for all platforms (Minus the Nintendo Switch).

 

EGX 2019: Röki

If you’ve ever wanted to explore Scandinavian folklore and fairytales in a contemporary setting, Röki is the game for you. But don’t be fooled, it’s not a happy story, Röki sets to explore the dark and mysterious through a child’s perspective. Tove, tasked with finding her family, has to dive into a deep, dark and cold forest and face its mysteries.

Röki was set up in a corner of EGX that I happened to come across whilst adventuring on the first day of EGX, as soon I saw the artwork and character design I was sold. As I sat down I was instantly attracted to the ‘Character cards’, which honestly, at an event where many games were showing off cool gameplay mechanics or amazing visuals, that’s not to say that Röki doesn’t have these, because it certainly does! But it felt that the team at Polygon Treehouse were more concerned with showing us these characters and the world that they have clearly, made through a labour of love and that was a breath of fresh air for me. In an Expo where some games were trying to be to “Flashy”, it was a nice break to see a game say, “Hey, why don’t you sit back and explore our world?”

Röki_Screenshot_Troll

But it’s not all doom and gloom, as the demo showed. We were confronted by a troll under a bridge, that has a sword stuck in its shoulder, it asks for our help. Tove seems anxious by this, saying something along the lines of “Hopefully if I help, it won’t kill me”. She even states disbelieve that the troll was real, which is interesting that when Tove is faced with this strange world, she’s still in a sense of disbelief that it is real. We also met a creature in an abandoned house that needs food, it won’t come out of hiding because it is afraid, Tove again a little sceptical still decides to help if she can. Polygon Treehouse has emphasised that they want the player to be able to make friends with monsters, which is an interesting take. I wonder if they are exploring a child’s way of learning not to judge a book by its cover. But it also gets me concerned that if Tove is always being helpful, how often will this put her in danger? This will probably be a major plot device within the story, building on trust and breaking it. The game will try to test the player’s judgement when it comes to deciding which crazy looking monster will help, or which one won’t.

There is also focus on symbolism within the game also, scattered through the scenery were wooden carved crows. Given the opportunity to interact with them Tove states something like “They know there are other birds than crows”, there was even one moment where a crow is lined up like a carving, but flies off at the last moment. Tove, to me, is instantly likeable and will no doubt be what people love most about Röki. She’s daring, funny, witty and at the same time cautious and aware of the danger she is in. We don’t see enough of that with characters in videogames, she feels human. This will definitely be a game that theory crafters will dive deep into, me included!

Röki_KeyArt_Portrait_NoLogo

The gameplay feels like it borrows from the ‘Point and click’ genre and whilst I have little to no experience with, mainly because I grew up playing consoles, I’ve always been envious of people that had the opportunity to explore these narrative-driven games. Now Röki can be my pseudo-introduction into the genre. The reason that I say it borrows from this genre is the inventory management and combining system, you find things by interacting with them within the world and combine them to make useful equipment. Also, from what we’ve seen and with the Scandinavian influences, riddles and puzzles will be the main challenge within the game, giving players much opportunity to dive deep into what I assume is going to be a tale full of surprises.

Röki is possibly my favourite new find at EGX 2019 and is definitely on my ‘must buy’ list, such a welcome surprise to my already huge backlog, but I have a feeling it will be making its way into my favourite games once I get a chance to play it!

The game is currently to release sometime in 2020, so hopefully, we get some information soon as I’m pretty excited about it! Check them out here for further updates;

And as always,

thanks for reading!