Along with E3, Gamescom in Cologne is not only the world’s most important gaming fair, it is also the largest by far. The fair is expected to draw over 300,000 visitors by Saturday, with more than 1,000 exhibitors competing for their attention. Roy, Jan and I fought our way through the gigantic halls with only one mission: To check out as many games as possible. We’ve put together our highlights just for you.
Although I didn’t get the chance to try this game out myself, the presentation was in-depth and focussed on the multiplayer mode, building and crafting. I was sceptical beforehand that this survival spin-off from the «Fallout» series would be my cup of tea. But all I wanted to do after the presentation was play it! The game world looks exciting with lots to discover. Fun is guaranteed when you explore abandoned bunkers with your friends and chuck atomic bombs on your bothersome neighbours. I’m also looking forward to the skill system that’s based on cards you can share with friends – interesting approach!
Release date: 14 November for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
Up to six players can give each other a good walloping in this asymmetrical multiplayer game. One player takes on the role of a crazy boss monster such as an angry slice of toast or a toilet plunger. The other players also get to choose a suitable character and, together, have a go at defeating the almighty boss. Although this game has only been in development for seven months, it already looks pretty sharp. Only the battle itself is still kind of chaotic. Other than that, this game is bursting with creativity.
Expected release: Late 2018 for PC and later for consoles.
«A Bard’s Tale IV» has big shoes to fill. Its predecessors have turned into cult classics despite having become practically unplayable in the meantime. The fourth part uses many classic elements but also makes use of numerous state-of-the-art comfort features. For example, there are far more opportunities to save your game. Gutsy gamers will destroy the luck stone saving checkpoints in return for an XP Boost. However, this also increases the risk of losing all the progress you made. This world full of Scottish influences and a strong focus on chants is an enticing one to discover. What’s more, the combat system is very original and allows up to six characters in one party. When you’re walking around, you’re in first-person mode but as soon as the turn-based battle kicks in, you’ll see a grid in front of you with room for your six warriors. As the number of actions to carry out is limited, not all your warriors will get their turn. This rule also applies to rival mobs and creates interesting dynamics. «A Bard’s Tale IV» cleverly combines various role playing systems and I can’t wait for the outcome.
Release date: 18 September for PC.
A group of Swedish teenagers return from a short trip, only to find their homes deserted. Mysterious robot dogs and flying drones are patrolling this small town. And what do teenies do in a situation like this? That’s right. They grab themselves a shotgun and show those robots that nobody messes with Sweden. During my quick gaming session, I found an array of weapons, equipment and resources for crafting in the deserted suburbs. Admittedly, I generally didn’t have a clue what they were good for, but I was pretty sure this stuff would come in handy fighting against those nasty mechanical monsters. I was very impressed with the atmosphere, graphics and the gameplay. Particularly after being caught in a shower of missiles and spotting a gigantic fighting robot on a hill, I knew: I want more of this. Plus, Avalanche Studios have proven many a time that they’re very capable at developing good action games.
Expected release: 2019 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
Frankly, I've always considered «Mario Party» games a childish waste of time. The collection of mini games just always looked a bit ridiculous to me, so I never even tried one out. The latest one is different. It makes the most of the Joy-Cons, thereby offering an impressive amount of entertaining games. They’re still ridiculous but also sooo much fun. For example, there’s a cooking competition in which you have to fry all sides of a cube of meat. This involves flipping it the right way, like an omelette. In another game, you’ve got to turn your Joy-Con with both hands to power a tricycle. It looks absolutely nuts but is loads of fun. This one’s definitely made my party game list.
Release date: 5 October for Switch.
As a fan of both the predecessors and books, it goes without saying that I wasn’t going to miss the demo of Metro Exodus. Russia is still suffering from the consequences of a fatal atomic war. Mutated monsters populate our planet and humanity is hiding in subway tunnels – until now that is. In this game, a lot of the action takes place on the Earth’s surface. Silent and deadly. I also got to use a lot of rusty rifles to make many a head explode. Another new feature is that you can empty the contents of your rucksack at any given time and craft. Ammunition, medical kits, knives etc. The bit I got to play in was a bit too reminiscent of «Tomb Raider». The enemy robbers and pirates as well as the level design were all pretty generic. I also missed the appeal of the predecessor, but that could be down to the level. On the other hand, the graphics were breathtaking and I really got into it when a mutated bear tried to sink its teeth into me. I’m confident that 4A games will iron out the flaws by the time this game is ready for sale.
Release date: 22 February 2019 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
My highlight hands down! As I’m going to dedicate a full article to this game, let me just say this: The futuristic role playing game from the makers of «The Witcher 3» is just as awesome as the trailer suggests – son of a gun!
No release date yet.
For Jan and me, this year’s focus was not on games. So my highlight was Nvidia’s keynote on new graphics cards. I’ve been following graphics cards for quite some time now and their keynote reminded me of the time when Vertex Shader was introduced – a groundbreaking moment! It will be extremely exciting to see if Nvidia manages to deliver the graphics revolution they promised us. In any case, this somewhat boosts PCs right to exist alongside consoles.
We had a go at Mariothon, the online mode for «Super Mario Party» and I really put our Roy to shame – even if he says the opposite :). The game gave me a real boost and reminded me of my childhood when I played «Mario Party» on my N64. I thought the integration of the motion controller was extremely well done. No doubt I’m going to get «Super Mario Party» as soon as it’s released. Now that’s something I haven’t done in ages.
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