Gamescom 2017 is finally behind us. And what a Gamescom it has been. I have been attending the event for several years in a row now but this time it was really hardcore. During the four days I was present in Cologne, I’ve had the same amount of sleep a normal person would in a single night. But it was definitely worth it. During the course of my career at both MSI and in the retail store I was working, I’ve been granted the opportunity to meet with various people from the gaming industry. Also let’s not forget the people I’ve been bumping into through the help of PayneReactor (like the great people from Remedy, Rockstar Games and all the indie developers). As a result, this year I managed to secure more business/press meetings than any year before. Along with the meetings my friends from GameGeekz.eu had planned, this meant an insanely busy schedule. Luckily we managed to survive it all and lived to tell the tale!
I have so many stories to tell and games to cover that it will probably take me several days if not articles to write it all down. Some crazy highlights: Sharing a bathroom with Yves Guillemot (CEO of Ubisoft), met with the CEO of Remedy, got drunk with the voice actor of The Witcher 3 and much, much more. Yeah it got THAT crazy. Having said that, apart from the people I got to meet during Europe’s biggest games convention, I also got to play a lot of games. Some were disappointing, others managed to stand out. As you might now by now, I really value story, atmosphere and music a lot in games. One game in particular seemed to excel at these values. Without further ado, let’s dive straight to the best game of Gamescom 2017.
After the release of Assassins Creed II all the sequels have been rather disappointing in my eyes. Assassin’s Creed III especially. The modern-day story that those games contained was intriguing and seemed to lead to a big revelation. Well, that was before Ubisoft decided to step away from the modern-day story in order to be able to push out a new title each year. While the games varied in setting and gameplay elements, less and less did it focus on a coherent story. With Unity I had the feeling Ubisoft was trying to at least establish an improved cinematic experience, but we all know that title suffered from some nasty bugs. Syndicate played nice, but the Victorian London setting and the main characters were some of the least interesting of the series if you ask me.
With Origins Ubisoft seems to be returning the franchise true to form. While a modern-day story is still under tight wraps (although heavily teased in Syndicate), the Egyptian setting is one of the most refreshing (and most requested by fans) the franchise could be receiving. It allows for a great origin story of the Assassin brotherhood and to delve more into the First Civilization. I’ve had the unique opportunity to play the game in 4K on the Xbox One X while the game’s Creative Director (Jean Guesdon) was looking over my shoulder. Providing tips as I went on. Photo proof below. I can’t explain how stoked I was. It’s like Sam Lake himself is guiding you through a level of Quantum Break. Meeting iconic people from the gaming industry will continue to amaze me.
The additional year Ubisoft took to develop Origins certainly seemed to pay off. Graphically the title looks good. Especially the Egyptian temples, pyramids and environment. The developers put in a lot of details to make the world look more vibrant and alive. Though, I can’t shake the feeling that faces and facial animations were better in Unity, but as long as the atmosphere and gameplay are superb you won’t hear me complain. And that seems to be the case. In the 20 minutes I was allowed to play the game, I ventured to the beautiful city of Memphis. There I had to investigate a crime scene area (seemed similar to the Rocksteady Batman games) and soon after I was forced to draw my sword. The fighting mechanics, after years of bad rep, have finally been overhauled in Origins. I would certainly need more time to fiddle with it to tell you in detail how it all worked, but it certainly felt good. Add in the amazing pyramids you get to discover, the RPG and stealth elements integrated in the game and it all seems like Ubisoft will nail gameplay, atmosphere and story once more.
Because I expect this game to contain all values mentioned earlier, the chance encounter with its Creative Director and that fact that I’m now left with the urge to play more, all make sure this game (for me) was the best present at Gamescom 2017.