Now that the Koelnmesse was free for all the public, Gamescom was suddenly a crowded affair. Skipping through much of the crowd, I had only minutes to enjoy the place half full before they released the horde onto Helm’s Deep. Notably, I enjoyed a short queue at Assassin’s Creed: Origins, whilst the masses chanted outside.
The Wrath of the Hippopotamus
Many will know my love for Nintendo, so me picking up an Xbox controller can look quite an awkward affair. Indeed, it took a few minutes to get used to the button layout but that aside, I was impressed by how beautiful Assassin’s Creed: Origins looks, and strolling through the desert on horseback was a glorious moment.
Naturally, the desert led me to a humble town, where I was given the quest to stop the execution of a young boy. I misread the situation and charged in, attacking everything in sight. Luckily, I defeated the two guards, and the executioner seemed none the wiser — indeed, he seemed more interested in talking to me. Such discussions can lead you places, and that one certainly sent me somewhere unexpected.
Setting off to the river to find two lost statues, I managed to find a boat, and sailed out. Unfortunately, the statues were beneath the surface, so I circled around a bit hoping there was another way to solve this. This seemed to upset the local wildlife, and it led to an unwelcoming game of hungry hippos. Not wishing to be lunch, I made the decision to jump in and dive below the surface (for some reason that caused me to lose the hippo). Diving down, I found a sunken ship with one of the statues, but by then my time was up — and I had only managed a tussle with a hippo!
The game is beautiful though, and I immersed myself into its surroundings, for however brief it was. The controls were easy to pick up on, even for an avid Nintendo user, and a more accomplished Xbox player would have definitely gotten a lot more out of it than I managed.
A Fractured Moment
After some serious gaming in a desert, I turned my attention to something more lighthearted. I queued up for a good hour to play South Park: The Fractured But Whole, and it was exactly what you would expect.
To help me out, the rep was kind enough to put the game in English for me. She could see I was a struggler even without the language disadvantage, and seemed to hang around to guide me through until the end. Whenever I would go on my usual deviating ways, she would set me back on course by telling me where I should be going. It turns out I had to complete the stage before my turn would end, so getting me through it was only fair for the people waiting.
The level took place in a strip club (not that I frequent them), but I could see this one was particularly rough around the edges. After some casual chats with some strippers, I found myself grinding on a less-than-desirable male. After a fight with him, I spiked the drink of the DJ and completed the demo of South Park: The Fractured But Whole, with the rep giving no time for the adventurous.
I think from the short demo I played that they’ve probably gone even further than South Park: The Stick of Truth. It at least seemed to cross more social boundaries, which is exactly what you’d expect from South Park. The puzzles seem to be taken straight from The Stick of Truth though, so I hope in the full game there’s something more unique to the gameplay.
Into Another Fantasy
I was drawn to Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom by its adorable animation; I’m a simple man at times. Sometimes I’m glad the simplest of things can draw my attention, because this was a delightful game.
Other than not understanding the dialogue because of translation mishappenings, the game was really easy to follow, with some really easy controls. The game leaves you free to roam the beautiful overworld, with towns and dungeons to explore. A single enemy will linger around a certain area, and then you walk towards them to enter the battle system.
The battle system itself might take a little more time to adjust to, but that’s because of the variety of moves you can use, such as melee and magical abilities. I started out using strictly melee moves, then moved onto magic when I sussed it out much better. Some of the enemies bite back more than you expect, and I certainly struggled with the final boss that I had to beat in order for somebody else to get their chance at playing the game.
That said, I think Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is a game worth looking out for. It releases January 19 of next year, and it’s so adorable, with amazing gameplay, that I’d be surprised if it doesn’t turn out as well as the demo felt today.
Ubisoft was Having a Party
Through much of the day, some noise was coming from the Ubisoft stage. Lots of chanting and music, and I became naturally curious over the happenings. Standing amongst the crowd, I found that the Ubisoft reps were attempting to involve them into a series of social situations.
Unfortunately, I have yet to reach the level required to learn the skill of social interaction, so I was unable to enter any further. Upon realizing my inadequacy to the situation, I moved onto the next best thing and played Tamarin by Chameleon Games.
Tamarin is still in alpha and has no set release date, but this is another classic example of me being drawn to cute games. You control a monkey, which funnily enough happens to be a tamarin monkey. You had the option to either play the “explore” demo or the “action” demo, so I played action. This essentially led me to play as a monkey with a gun, shooting at giant ants. It was honestly a lot of fun, even though the demo seemed way too short; I must have been finished in five minutes. The game has a lot of promise, but it’s definitely in its early days.
The Fire Within Me
It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t play one Nintendo Switch game, so I decided to try my hand at Fire Emblem Warriors. I enjoyed Hyrule Warriors, even if it was prone to a momentary freeze, as the game was too big for the system. Not that Fire Emblem Warriors was too big for the Nintendo Switch, however — its performance was just fine.
Fire Emblem Warriors is exactly what you would expect from any Dynasty Warrior title. It takes on the same format as the previous titles, and just sticks in Fire Emblem characters with their Fire Emblem abilities. I can’t fault it, but I’m not exactly blown over by it either. The gameplay was always going to be a little repetitive, and there’s never really much skill involved — just a lot of thrashing around.
Schatten Des Krieges
Mittelerde: Schatten Des Krieges, also known as Middle-Earth: Shadow of War was particularly difficult to play, as it was in German and I had no clue what to do with each mission. The rep looked on in pity, and having had no clue my German was terrible, he only assumed I was terrible at the game; not saying I wasn’t, just that the translation issue contributed to it.
As any mission was over before they started, I spent twenty minutes slicing up orcs. The odd warg gave me a little more to think about, but overall the fighting mechanics are pretty simple to use once I got used to the controls. Just like with the previous title, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, there are prompts in battle to help you block or dodge some enemies.
At one point I was flying on top of a fellbeast, but it was slightly more difficult to control, and I had lost the battle within minutes, never really sure what I was meant to be doing. I figured it could breathe fire, so I laid waste to as much as possible before I lost. Even though I had no clue what I was doing, the option of riding on a fellbeast was a lot of fun.
At least I’ve figured out that my only place in Middle Earth would be back in the shire with the other hobbits, out of harm’s way until Saruman had other ideas. The adventures of a hobbit in Hobbiton is the kind of game only I would play — and at least I’d win at something! But Mittelerde: Schatten Des Krieges has some fantastic gameplay, and I look forward to playing it in English to get the full idea of what’s happening. It certainly was popular with the locals, as I queued for nearly two hours!
From that point, Day Two was over, and will be remembered as the day in which pretzels sustained me. Other than needing more time for gaming in my life, I now need more pretzels in my life… Onto day three!