Last Friday I finally managed to go to EGX! For the previous two years we had press passes but this year we went as guests as we no longer have our old gaming site (RIP Positive Game Reviews). G went with our friend and co-contributor as I was simply unable to go thanks to my panic attacks. This year, I felt brave so I went, result! I was hoping to Vlog it but I was at the end of a two week cold and chest infection, still on antibiotics, generally feeling poo so I decided vlogging wasn’t the best idea. Upon arriving I also realised it was really loud in there, so I don’t think the sound would have been the best anyway.
One of the reasons I was able to cope is the fact that it moved to the NEC from Earls Court, London. As I’ve never been to Earls Court, I’m unable to make comparisons. But G felt that the show seemed more organised and ‘together’ at least the general set up was – the queues not so much. It was difficult to know where they started for some of the games and the queues seemed to trail all over the place, I am guessing that this was probably due to size constraints. As a first timer I felt it was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. It was busy, but not too bad, so if you’re not a fan of crowds I recommend going on the Thursday or Friday.
Despite us currently preferring the PS4 to the Xbox One, the best stand in my opinion was Xbox. They seemed to have a lot more going on – with shows every couple of hours and an amazing Fallout4 giveaway running between the shows. The hosts were fun; they had cosplayers on the stage and threw out freebies to the crowd. Sadly we were unable to get any! It’s a bit intimidating being surrounded by a largely male crowd all leaping and shouting while someone throws mugs at you! They also threw out t-shirts but as soon as one comes close the taller guys (and one very tall woman) would leap and snatch in your direction. On the plus side of being mainly men, the women’s loos had no queues and I ended up waiting for G to come out rather than the other way around. This hardly ever happens, anywhere!
We didn’t come away empty-handed though. There were free posters of Destiny, Deus Ex and Hitman that you could just pick up. We also had our photo taken with the Pip Boy figure on the Xbox stand and we both got a Pip Boy mask in return – this was by far the BEST freebie! We also got plenty of paper hats, a pack of Mad Max cards from the PS4 stand, a lanyard and badge from Games Church (as a non-Christian this was hilarious but if you are a Christian then they are pretty cool).
As for the games – well the ones we were most interested in we either have, have played or we knew the Betas were/are coming out soon so we didn’t queue up for any of them. Most of them were an hour or so’s wait, except for The Division that was a three hours. I kept telling G I didn’t mind queuing up but he wasn’t fussed, it was more about walking around, checking out the stands and soaking up the atmosphere.
I have to say I was pretty disappointed with the stalls and shopping opportunities. I don’t really know what I was expecting, perhaps more branded stands, more unique goods and branded merchandise. Game was there (seriously, how expensive is Game these days?), and many of the stalls had the same types of things, Pop figures, t-shirts, keyrings, Zelda or Assassins Creed bits. We did buy a Destiny t-shirt and a Fallout T-shirt, both official and both for £15, not bad. I was hoping for a quality Nintendo stand where I could find some Animal Crossing merchandise but sadly there was nothing like that at all. It was generally all products that you can buy anywhere, I wanted stuff that was harder to get hold of. The Insert Coin stand was smaller than I thought and they didn’t have the t-shirt Wipeout G is desperate for. I also think the leggings are way overpriced.
The Nintendo area was cool but busy, obviously. There was a Street Pass zone with beanbags and 3DS’s – I wish I had checked mine as when I got home I realised I had the WiFi switched off, gutted! I was hoping to collect a load more houses on Animal Crossing. You could also have a go on a few titles, including the new Animal Crossing’s Happy Home Designer and Zelda Tri Force Heroes, both games I really want.
EA’s Star Wars Battlefront looked epic, the Tie Fighter was incredible, but the line was far too long for us. Another cool place was the Assassin’s Creed Syndicate set up – there were a few cosplayers in the stage and marketplace area – with carts where you could get some free postcards and an Assassins Creed temporary tattoo.
We didn’t attending any of the developer sessions and I didn’t queue up to get anything signed by the Yogscast. If In the Little Wood, also known as Martyn, was there I would have queued. He’s a vlogger I watch quite a lot and I’d just finished watching his Live Until Dawn vids, but sadly he was attending Twitch.Com. We did watch Outside Xbox on the YouTube stage at the end of the day though – it’s pretty weird seeing YouTubers in the flesh!
All in all EGX was a complete win. It’s an experience I enjoyed, everyone was friendly and there was plenty to do. If you do want to queue up and play the upcoming titles I do recommend you go for two days rather than the one. Spend a day on the games and a day just shopping, looking for the freebies, browsing and taking it all in. We missed stuff and we didn’t wait for anything!
Hopefully we’ll be back next year and perhaps there will be a few titles that we’re desperate to play!