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James Goes to Gamescom – Day Three



My third and final day at Gamescom 2017 — a sad moment, as I’ve enjoyed my time here immensely. Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to come back next year, and to be even more hopeful, and that maybe some of my amazing Goomba Stomp colleagues will join me for Gamescom 2018. Not that it should need much persuasion now.

With a mob outside waiting to be released into the Koelnmesse, I decided to go back to my ghetto roots in Detroit. With only minutes to go until the hordes arrived, I quickly joined the short queue and went back to the future.

Becoming an Android

In many ways, I felt like I was born to be an android. Humans can be emotional creatures, and it can be a lot of pressure sometimes to deal with such awkward situations. That’s why Detroit: Become Human felt like a spiritual awakening; I was an android.

Unfortunately, I was left with a crucial problem, a problem that had followed me on occasions around Gamescom: I really needed to know German. Much of the gameplay evolves making choices, and these choices are critical to solving a precarious situation. An android had become dysfunctional and is holding a child hostage, so they sent me, another android, to alleviate the situation. I had to save a child’s life by choosing the correct dialogue options, yet without knowing what each option meant.

To rub more salt in my wounds, they had a percentage bar as to how badly the situation was going, and mine was dropping by the minute. At one point, a young gentleman stepped in and translated a particularly horrid part for me, resulting in a small rise on my percentage bar. But by the time I had walked outside the complex onto the roof, where the android was stood on the edge with a gun to the child’s head, I was still at a loss. At this point, I was talking to the android without a clue what was going on. The helicopter was ready to shoot, the android was ready to jump, and I was ready to try being human again. Fortunately, my final option had me tackle the other android and let the helicopter shoot me, with the child saved but needing a life time worth of therapy. Needless to say, in the end I was denied the opportunity to be either human or android.

The 3DS Lives Another Day

With the tide of people able to tug you along to places you didn’t know existed, I found sitting in queues was a great way to get out of the hustle and bustle. Whilst enjoying the calm retreat of a queue, I found a relic that ceases to end: the Nintendo 3DS. Some Gamescom connoisseurs had come prepared to wait for hours, bringing with them a portable chair and a 3DS. Whilst I, a humble peasant, sat on the floor lost in thought, these geniuses had brought their own entertainment.

What became obvious was the shortages of the Nintendo Switch. There were a few Switches in the queues, but they were vastly outnumbered by the 3DS. Those that were playing the Nintendo Switch seemed often to be playing Sonic Mania, clearly the perfect game for in-queue entertainment, while the 3DS choice of game seemed mostly to be Animal Crossing, a game I continually struggle to connect with.

Creating My Own Legacy

One queue I joined was for Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and the game made me cast my mind back to all the others I had played over the week. It turns out I could have changed the language to English all along, and a helpful rep showed me how. All the struggles in Detroit: Become Human could have been solved with a few easy clicks.

Too little too late, as I was now discovering some ancient temples in the jungle. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is quite beautiful, but I found the controls a little awkward, especially when aiming and firing a gun. The reaction speed seemed a little slow, but I’m sure that could be changed in the options. I found myself running away from enemies by the end of it because they could move faster than the analog stick could get my gun into position. Maybe I’ve become too accustomed to the motion controls of the Switch!

Not that it stopped me enjoying the game, as I certainly loved exploring the temples and their surroundings. The demo was pretty intense, offering time with all the in-game mechanics, so it was nice to play something that I could really get to grips with. However, if it could help me out with cleaner gun controls, then I’d have had a much better time.

Becoming a Hipster

I noted a lot of people wearing Kinguin hats all heading from a similar area, so feeling curious, I headed in that direction and found a nice area filled with some indie developers. Naturally, I was drawn to a Nindie called Nine Parchments by Frozenbyte, which is a cooperative magic title.

Me being solo made the game much more difficult, and I soon discovered the need for friends in such an environment. I was quickly overwhelmed by some of the beasts, as my magical spells inflicted next-to-no damage on them. Thinking I was being clever by jumping over the enemies and casting my spells from behind, it only shortened their temper and they laid waste to me even sooner.

Feeling humbled, I found a game I’ve been curious about for a while: The Universim, by Crytivo Games. I love games like this, strategy games where I build things; they relax me. The demo allowed me to explore the stone age and help my people develop a larger village. A lot of developers have attempted a God game, but The Universim seems set to be the first one that is actually good.

There was also some Virtual Reality exhibitions taking place (not that I got involved or I’d have become quite ill; virtual reality gives me some nasty headaches). Icaros at a Mifcom booth had quite the complex VR system going on. If the VR wasn’t bad enough, they decided to put you in all kinds of different positions, torture methods not seen since medieval times. I have no idea what was happening, but I’m sure VR won’t be for me for a long time.

Three Hours Lost at Sea

The final part of my final day was spent waiting. So much waiting that other people in the queue used a full 3DS battery life in one sitting. Three hours later, I was scrubbing the deck in Sea of Thieves with three other pirates who graciously agreed to talk in English. Honestly, they didn’t have to, as I’m largely a mute, but the kind gesture was fantastic.

Whilst on the ship, it became clear that they were experienced pirates. They had this ship moving at full speed, while I was running around the deck collecting cannonballs to fire into the sea. They soon found an island to plunder, and I naturally jumped into the sea to set foot on dry land. However, by the time I had paddled myself there, they had already collected the treasure and were waiting for me to swim back aboard the ship.

With the joy of finding some loot, the three amigoes were in a party mood. They were soon drinking tankards of ale and running around the ship in great spirits. Before I knew it, the atmosphere took a turn into an unprecedented area, and all three were giggling and throwing buckets of water at each other. I looked around anxiously, unsure of what the protocol was for this situation. I tried to find another bucket, but it turns out that four’s a crowd and three is a jolly threesome. I wasn’t sure whether watching was appropriate, but at this point they were so involved with each other that they hadn’t realized they had an audience. Far from me to judge, I set the ship back out to sea.

As for the game itself, it certainly has the most potential of all the games I’ve played at Gamescom this year. There’s been some fantastic titles on show, but Sea of Thieves seems to be a special gem that you dig up rarely. Hopefully, it will live up to its expectations — I’ve walked the plank enough today.

It’s worth mentioning — considering the high volume of people — that the event is wonderfully organized. They seem to know how to filter people across the place in quite a dynamic way, and the only problem I saw was that the exhibitions were on slightly raised platforms, which I noticed some people in wheelchairs having some trouble with. I think the event could be slightly better designed for wheelchair users in that regard, but other than that, Gamescom 2017 has been a blast, I look forward to Gamescom 2018 already!

Lost his ticket on the 'Number 9' Luxury Express Train to the Ninth Underworld. Has been left to write articles and reviews about games to write off his debt until the 'powers that be' feel it is sufficiently paid.