Gamescom 2022: 10 (More) Games We Checked Out

10 (More) Games We Checked Out At gamescom 2022 11

Amidst the many games we’ve gotten to preview at gamescom 2022, we’ve also managed to sneak in some booth time and check out some of the titles that were on display at the show. Here’s a selection of what we’ve seen, ordered alphabetically:

Company of Heroes 3

Gamescom 2022: 10 (More) Games We Checked Out

Company of Heroes 3 is the latest entry in the storied RTS franchise, featuring what developer Relic Entertainment calls the ‘biggest single player experience to date’. Brendan was very impressed when he got his hands-on with the game last month, and I must say that this latest demo made me feel much the same way.

Before I got to playing, I had to choose between skirmishing against the AI or taking on a mission from the Italian campaign. After making my choice, the game then informed me that my freshly issued goal was to conquer the municipalities of Vinchiaturo and Pomigliano. I played Company of Heroes 3 for about 20 minutes, trying to outclass the enemy forces, and even though I failed to do so and was frankly whooped, I left the SEGA booth thinking that Relic has yet another hit on their hands. It’s a good thing that the release date of November 17th 2022 is getting closer and closer, as I, for one, can not wait to get my revenge and claim victory.

Friends vs Friends

Gamescom 2022: 10 (More) Games We Checked Out

When hovering around the Raw Fury corner of the trade floor, I stumbled across the newly revealed Friends vs Friends, a competitive shooter designed by the people over at Brainwash Gang. The game initially drew me in with its colourful and vibrant artstyle, but I am disappointed to note that the gameplay—which sort of brings together GoldenEye and Neon White—is not up to par.

The premise is pretty simple: 1v1 or 2v2 deathmatches of best of three are spiced up by adding deck-building to the mix. For example, you can play cards that alter the surrounding circumstances, such as becoming a giant—and therefore having more health, but being easier to shoot—or disabling the opponent’s jump ability.

Alternatively, the cards can simply grant you different weapons, such as an assault rifle or even a nuke. The problem here is that this does not shake up the FPS formula significantly, and I am, at the moment, doubtful that Friends vs Friends will have a long shelf life because of it. I can only hope that it will have a lot more cards up its sleeve come release, which is yet to be given a date. Wishlisting on Steam is available now, however, with a demo perhaps on its way sometime in the near future.

Goat Simulator 3

Gamescom 2022: 10 (More) Games We Checked Out

Goat Simulator 3 iterates on the original—the joke here being that there never was a Goat Simulator 2—in just about every single way. The multiplayer component has been refined and now allows for you to pair up with 3 of your GOATed friends online rather that just locally, the world has more activities for you to participate in, with or without others, and the character customization has been dialed up to eleven. To give you an example of how absurd this all is, at one point during the demo I was grinding rails and doing triple backflips as a shark with an eggplant in its mouth.

Similarly ridiculous was how this demo is absolutely broken—for better and for worse. Now, Goat Simulator has always prided itself for being a game where ‘every bug is a feature’, as udder chaos (I’m not proud of this joke either) is the goal, but it is somewhat concerning that the game crashed twice on me and at least once on the person playing to my right.

I also, sometimes, inexplicably, glitch-teleported to the other side of the map and away from my fellow goats who were completing activities in the open-world or competing in mini-games such as King of the Hill. This did take me out of the experience for a bit but, at the end of my play session, the nicest thing I can say about Goat Simulator 3 is that everyone in my lobby had a smile on their face. Join in on the chaos when the game comes out on November 17th 2022.

HYENAS

Gamescom 2022: 10 (More) Games We Checked Out

HYENAS is a competitive multiplayer hero shooter and so a big departure for SEGA’s Creative Assembly, the studio previously responsible for games such as Total War: Warhammer III and Alien Isolation. The goal in this new title, then, is for up to 15 players, divided into 3 squads of 5, to survive shootouts and escape with some sweet loot inspired by SEGA’s history.

The gimmick here is that everyone not in your team is against you, including enemy NPCs that range the gamut from guards, drones and giant robots armed with shields. The other players, too, can and will wait for you to open the vaults spread across various points throughout the arena and then pounce on you, hence the name of the game, potentially making away with what was meant to be your precious loot. 

What more I could tell from the 20-minutes long video presentation I was shown is that HYENAS takes place sometime in a not too distant future in which billionaires have moved on from Earth and are instead attempting to colonize Mars. As such, it is your mission to take power back, invade the space shopping malls named Plunderships and claim every Classic Sonic statue as your own. 

There’s more to still unravel about HYENAS, especially since not a lot of information is out there, and I am yet to get my hands on it, but, for now, I’m choosing to be cautiously optimistic. Maybe these words will come back to haunt me, but here’s hoping that HYENAS, upon its release sometime in 2023, will prove to be more than SEGA jumping on the hero shooter/battle royale gravy train. Sign up to the alpha here.

Kingdom Eighties

Gamescom 2022: 10 (More) Games We Checked Out

Kingdom Eighties is perhaps the strangest game I played at gamescom 2022. Upon picking up the controller, I was expecting something like OlliOlli on bikes, only to very shortly realize that I was actually in for a narrative-driven adventure that plays more like a roguelike strategy game with tower defence elements thrown in. What’s more, this is the latest entry in an award-winning series, the biggest difference from previous titles being that Kingdom Eighties is, well, meant to be a loving tribute to everything that made the 1980s so very special.

Anyway, I must admit that I was left baffled by the game as I spent the very short demo trying and failing to execute even the basic things that the tutorial showed me. I want to believe that I must have surely overlooked something very important, but I did find it extremely hilarious that a shadow, and purple one-eyed monster stole my gold coins and that that triggered an end screen which concluded my time with Kingdom Eighties. Let me know what I missed in the comments, and maybe I’ll be ready just in time for release sometime in Q4 2022.

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Gamescom 2022: 10 (More) Games We Checked Out

I unabashedly love Microsoft Flight Simulator, so you can probably imagine how much I geeked out when, at gamescom 2022, I ended up playing the game on a flight system together with Jörg Neumann (Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator) and Sebastian Wloch (Co-Founder and CEO of Asobo Studio). On the topic of the game itself, it is important to mention out of the gate that whereas this is fundamentally the same experience as in 2020, the upcoming 40th Anniversary Edition, which Xbox was promoting at its booth, does indeed add a plethora of welcome bells and whistles.

Nevertheless, beyond the introduction of helicopters, gliders and new aircrafts, what I found most impressive about this upcoming release is how much work has been done to improve and update the world. From cities to airports, every nook and corner boasts an impressive level of detail. 

During my time with this build, I was able to fly over Cologne (where gamescom is annually held) and two of the three other German cities, namely Hanover and Düsseldorf, which have recently received a face-lift. I even flew around the imposing Cologne Cathedral and the Koelnmesse, both of which looked as incredible in the game as they do in real life. The developers told me that the locations look so good since they are recreated using photogrammetry based on data captured in 2021.

What makes this sweeter is that these updates, officially dubbed ‘World Updates’, are free of charge and that the team is always looking for ways to improve and tinker with every aspect of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Our readers especially should be delighted that the next major update, ‘World Update XI’, will focus on Canada and add five new hand-crafted Canadian airports, enhance 12 Canadian cities by use of photogrammetry and more.

The sky is yet again calling when the 40th Anniversary Edition drops in November 2022—will you answer it once more?

Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord

Gamescom 2022: 10 (More) Games We Checked Out

After releasing for Steam in March of 2020, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is finally making its way to PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S on October 25, 2022. At gamescom 2022, I had the chance to play a PS5 build at gamescom 2022 that, to me, seemed very similar to the original release. Yes, the HUD was different and adapted for controller play but, at its core, this is still the clunky yet classic Mount & Blade experience we’ve come to love. 

This being said, I did find Mount & Blade more difficult to play with a controller, which I think is to be expected from a game designed with the PC in mind. What makes matters worse and lessens the upcoming ports is that the developers, from what they’ve told me, are still looking for a way to incorporate mod support.

I read this to mean that you should definitely not expect mods at launch, and I believe that it is unlikely that they will come further down the line. This is disappointing since so much of the enjoyment behind Mount & Blade is being able to toy around and convert the game’s factions into the houses from Game of Thrones, for instance, but the decision is not at all surprising considering how thorny modding is and maybe always has been. 

On the flip side, at least all versions of Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord are expected to receive all previous updates and will have update parity between them meaning that no platform will be left behind as the game continues to evolve. Although, the caveat here is that old-gen versions will not be able to have the same amount of units on-screen at the same time and will suffer from some other compromises whereas current-gen versions, Series S included, are expected to run as well as their PC counterpart.

Ultimately, I personally don’t see why, if given the possibility, anyone would play Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord on anything other than PC but it is nonetheless nice to see more options for players to dive into this game come October.

Park Beyond

Gamescom 2022: 10 (More) Games We Checked Out

In Park Beyond, the new game from Tropico 6 developers Limbic Entertainment, you play as a visioneer—a ‘visionary architect’ tasked with creating the most (literally) incredible theme parks ever. Unfortunately, the demo that was available was not very expansive, and I was not able to build something truly exciting, but I found that I got a good glimpse of the game engine and mechanics at hand.

First of all, the demo started with a cutscene in which Blaze, a rather obnoxious teenage girl, addressed me, the player, directly and asked a series of questions related to my familiarity with this type of simulation game. I then proceeded on with the tutorial, which meticulously taught me things like how to navigate the camera and how to place the most basic of tracks.

When I was done, I knew not only how to best place the said tracks but also how to adjust their yaw and height. After I kind of fluked my way through the tutorial, I was let loose in an elaborate apartment complex district and left alone to my own devices. The coaster that resulted from this was a truly horrible monstrosity that was more torture device than anything else but it, unexpectedly, got the job done.

However, I can tell that the game is quite a ways off as the collision physics, for one, definitely need more work: at no point did the game stop me from building a path through numerous walls and trees. In the end, my favourite part about Park Beyond was the ride camera which allowed me to experience the coaster I had just built from a first or third-person perspective. Keep in mind, again, that my coaster was an abomination, but even so it was fun to ride it all the way through—warts and all.

Park Beyond has a ways to go ahead of its 2023 release and the build I played did not do much to sway my opinion one way or the other, but I remain hopeful that this will be a simulator worth investing time in.

Street Fighter 6

Gamescom 2022: 10 (More) Games We Checked Out

If you’ve heard me on the Pixels & Ink Podcast recently, you probably know that I was very excited to try out Street Fighter 6. And boy oh boy did I love my time with the game. Overall, I think it’s a fantastic evolution for the franchise and I love almost every new change and addition. Even what I’m unsure of, namely the modern control scheme and the real time commentary feature, I can see myself coming around to eventually.

In any case, this was the same demo that Brendan got to check out at Summer Game Fest, so I’m going to recommend that you give his extensive preview a read for more in-depth thoughts. As for me, I’m just very happy about it and excited to play Street Fighter 6 as much as possible in the years to follow. Coming sometime in 2023.

Verne: The Shape of Fantasy

Gamescom 2022: 10 (More) Games We Checked Out

Verne: The Shape of Fantasy is the only game I played during the Indie Arena Brawl and for good reason as the premise, that of playing as Jules Verne in an alternative world composed out of the many stories he wrote, was immediately head-turning to me. Yet I was left disappointed when I started playing it since, despite channelling the spirit of some classic adventure games, the game handled to me like a somehow more frustrating original Prince of Persia

Admittedly, I did not have a long time to play—probably less than 10 minutes—but I nevertheless left the booth unenthused about the whole project. Nothing, from the voice actin, to the story and the visual elements caught my attention, and I am inclined to say that if, like me, you are looking for a great Jules Verne game, you’d be better off playing 80 Days instead of waiting for Verne: The Shape of Fantasy to come out next year.

That about wraps up our round-up of gamescom 2022 games! But if you’re keen to read more about the many games we’ve previewed in greater detail, click here for a link to all of our coverage from the show. Oh, and also, do leave a comment with the games you’ve checked out yourself or that you would have liked to see. Until next time, danke gamescom!

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