The fourth day of gamescom 2019, Friday, August 23, was free from press appointments, but it offered plenty of opportunities to play and take pictures in the consumer halls.
But first you had to walk the extra mile all around the entrances…
… passing by age certificate waistband stands that weren’t open yet.
It was Nintendo time again, or at least looking at the masses of people standing in line…
… for games like The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.
Square Enix‘s Final Fantasy VII remake was a bit crowded, too.
The same happened with Final Fantasy XIV Online.
At least one could give some feedback or write down comments about the remake without any waiting times.
So I did.
And so did the characters of the game as well.
After having had a look at the Chocobo Party Up! boardgame I was finally able to play it.
It was pretty fun, although it was a bit hard to get into, which was mostly because of the gamescom noise and not the best explanations delivered by the staff. The goal was to bring Chocobos into one’s nest, but as the other parties could or had to steal them away, this made for some rather strategic gaming. While it might not be the deepest game and the asking price of around EUR 50 is way too much, one might be able to get it at the SPIEL 19 games convention.
The Tomb Raider Legends boardgame also looked particularly nice.
A quick stop for the Marvel Avengers.
Netflix dabbled in gaming and had its own booth…
… which had a lovely cartoon style…
… and Stranger Things 3: The Game…
… which was presented in a cool arcade cabinet, but offered some mindless smashing of things and baddies, even if it was in a retro style. Rather fitting for this TV show…
The great thing about the booth was that there were actually opportunities to sit down and have something to eat, instead of using the floor as with every other gamescom booth.
Is Google’s streaming platform Stadia really the future of gaming?
I’m not sure why there was a slide, but maybe it was about the speed of the platform? Not really the best idea, as people can get stuck or collide…
Games don’t promote violence against animals, but animals who deliver violence… in a cartoon style.
There’s always Luigi’s Mansion 3 to return to for some child-friendly gaming…
… or cooking with the Nintendo Switch version of the newest Mario Party.
Can’t wait to play Shenmue III, but still have to play the first and second one with the HD remaster.
There are just so many new versions of old games, but some might actually be improved, like this risqué puzzle-adventure-platformer mix.
Speaking of old(er) games, retro classics will receive a new revival with SEGA‘s Mega Drive Mini console that features some beloved titles.
inXile Entertainment‘s post-apocalyptic RPG Wasteland 3 proved that old franchises die hard.
Some will probably live forever in the minds of gamers, like Gearbox Software‘s bonkers FPS/RPG hybrid Borderlands 3 that I had been waiting for since the great devcom 2019 talk. It’s sold almost like a religion, but knowing the enthusiastic fanbase, that’s no surprise.
You could even show your love with a tattoo if you wanted to.
Or you could get a sticker on your back(pack) from the staff if you wanted to or not. Yes, that’s no pickpocket scene, as the stickers were handed out without most people noticing!
Why Princess Peach and Princess Daisy were around, is anyone’s guess.
Ubisoft Toronto‘s action-adventure Watch Dogs: Legion is another highly anticipated title, and it sure had an interesting if somewhat questionable glass showcase with skulls.
Even if I’m not much into anime, there’s something about the art style of Dragonball that appeals to me (which is also why I loved playing Dragon Quest XI at Gamescom 2018). So a whole area with the characters where one could take photos was a pretty neat idea for any fan who had the time and patience.
There was obviously some merch to admire (and later to buy maybe?) and even some that had to be pieced together.
The Asterix & Obelix XXL series is still going strong.
Pendulo Studios are still alive and kicking in the adventure game scene with this great-looking detective game.
What would gamescom be without a Need for Speed game?
Some poster artworks are simply eye candy.
Some games are bigger than others, and some, like CD Projekt Red‘s FPS/RPG Cyberpunk 2077, achieved the impossible to have a waiting time of 6-8 hours, or so I’ve been told. Good thing that I had that press appointment before.
Ubisoft merch, what else can you say? Except that is seems game companies are promoting their things outside the merch consumer areas, too.
Kojima Productions‘s Death Stranding still looks as mysterious as ever.
Sony certainly knew what gamers wanted, e.g. the button laytout consisting of gamepads.
This is what dreams or games were made of.
This is what motion sickness is probably made of when experienced in VR.
It’s amazing to think that Remedy Entertainment had been working on Microsoft exclusive titles like Alan Wake which then became available on PC as well, and now there’s Control that has already been released on PS4.
Waiting times sure weren’t short with about 3 hours…
Capcom‘s Monster Hunter World: Iceborne was a refreshingly different booth with its winter theme.
Frontier Developments‘s zoo simulation game Planet Zoo definitely had the most amazing booth, recreating an actual zoo and offering an oasis of (relative) quiet with trees and all the huts in which one could play the lovely-looking game.
It almost felt as if one was there, as these photos can attest.
ID@XBOX is always a treasure trove full of interesting indie titles.
Among them was Massive Damage‘s sci-fi turn-based strategy title Star Renegades which offered some nice pixel art graphics and old-school gameplay with an interesting storyline.
Microsoft fans now even have the option to buy shoes of their favorite games.
The Xbox One controller has also another update with the Elite Series 2 version.
I was pretty excited to see Playground Games‘ racer Forza Horizon 4: LEGO Speed Champions on display, because anything LEGO-related is great, and something involving driving? Sold. Unfortunately I only now found out that it’s a DLC for that classic simulation title… bummer.
It’s only recently that I bought Sea of Thieves for a tenner, but I’ll probably get this anniversary edition as soon as the price will drop… which will probably be when I’ll find the time to play the first version. Arrh, matey!
Classic gaming icons make a return with the Battletoads.
Speaking of arcade classics… playing in/on/at the original cabinet is something different than holding a controller.
Driving games never go out of style.
Kalypso Media is always worth a visit, and even after the press appointment, there were still some games to see and play, the first being Realmforge Studios‘s sci-fi strategy title Spacebase Startopia.
Being a reimagining of Mucky Foot’s 2001 game, it’s about building and managing a space station, which means that as in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 it’s all a big ring one has to move around in. Featuring some superb voice acting that complements the very funny writing and some detailed cartoon-like graphics, the gameplay is also a lot of fun, giving new and old strategy fans enough goals to reach with a good tutorial. Hopefully this will win over many other players when it will be released in Q3 2020 on PC.
Limbic Entertainment‘s dictator simulation game Tropico 6 was a title I already got to know from devcom 2019, but now I could finally play it, at least the Xbox One version. This turned out to be a rather fiddly affair with the button layout, but maybe one can get used to it, because the Caribbean atmosphere is spot-on with a great soundtrack, good voice acting, and very deep gameplay to boot.
Feeling hungry, anyone?
Still not sure what this McDonalds booth was all about, but apparently you could win something… and the company would definitely win some more private information.
If you ever wondered what it felt like to be in that space marine suit…
… it’s not that comfortable to wear, at least the helmet, but it sure looks cool as hell!
There’s always someone dressing up as Deadpool at games, but few have a rubber chicken, Pikachu, and unicorn.
I didn’t get to play Black Forest Games‘s Destroy All Humans!, but I saw the UFO and the invaders… invading gamescom!
What I got to play was HEXADRIVE Inc.‘s and Oasis Games‘s Monkey King: Hero Is Back which looked nice and was a lot of fun, especially with those against-the-screen flying enemies. There have been many games featuring cool combat combos, but few have illustrated such a love for slapstick than this title.
Experiment 101‘s action-adventure RPG game Biomutant was announced two years ago, but now one could finally play it. Starting with customizing one’s furry avatar was already fun, but the combat and platforming mechanics showed that there is much more behind the title. Featuring a believable world with strange creatures and fauna that is both cruel but with some humorous elements, this is another title from the publisher one should keep an eye out for when it’s going to be released this year.
Having a look from above the THQ Nordic booth and thanking the PR for not spending hours for their games in the waiting queues…
… as it was the case with Mimimi Games‘s Western tactic strategy game Desperados III.
Playing in a Western saloon ambiente, with the desert heat but no beer, the game was another highlight of the publisher’s portfolio, especially if one felt like reliving the glory days of the first Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive. Boasting great graphics, voice acting, and intuitive controls even on console, there isn’t anything that can go wrong with this game when it’s finally available on shelves and in digital stores.
Airship Syndicate‘s hack-and-slash shooter Darksiders Genesis was, as expected, extremely fun, especially in co-op local multiplayer, even if it was tough as nails. While it might deviate from the Zelda influences the former games incorporated, it’s a worthy addition to the series and should please any action and comic book fan.
The final THQ Nordic title was also the funniest and probably most traditional: Purple Lamp Studios‘s 3D-platformer SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated, which was lovely to look at and listen to. Despite some camera problems, the semi-open world was fun to traverse, even featuring a big boss fight. But don’t think that this is a kid’s game, as the difficulty (at least in the final fight sequence) is anything but easy. Still, for fans of the series and platformers in general with a love for retro will have a great time with this remake.
The merchandise area is usually the most crowded, and as it was impossible to take in all the things one could buy for lots of money, here are just a few impressions without any comments (but don’t think that this will be the end of the article!).
To think that this was the business area a day ago…
A very quick stop or rather pass-by at/of the retro area.
And yet another trip to the Indie Arena Booth I already went to on the second day…
A brief glimpse at Fishing Cactus‘s keyboard-typing RPG Nanotale – Typing Chronicles.
A final glance at the retro/arcade area one could actually spend all day in if it weren’t for the barrage of chiptunes.
What better way to end gamescom than again meeting a very special animal (see day 3)…
Dinoman! Man, he got old…
Before wrapping up the longest piece I’ve ever written or used photos for… let’s see what the booths or any other gamescom people served as goodies, starting with Final Fantasy card game… cards we got from playing the Chocobo boardgame.
Two magazines one usually gets handed out at the entrance or finds lying on the floor later.
Dragonball anime goodness.
A cute and creepy Little Nightmares II figurine for just taking a photo.
A cool Darksiders: Genesis t-shirt (which becomes something of a tradition with the series at almost every gamescom).
Bethesda stickers are always nice to have.
Too many games at the Indie Arena Booth to see/overlook so that you really needed a map.
This is how intriguing flyers can be.
A Legend of Zelda cap my girlfriend/co-editor bought.
So that’s it, folks! Every day of gamescom 2019 covered, which took a lot of time during the week (vacation!) and weeks after (work!). But it was all worth it. See you next year, gamescom!