Famous for its Carnival celebrations, short little beers and vibrant LGBT community, the German city of Cologne played host to the largest gaming event in the world (measured by exhibition space and number of attendees) for 5 beautifully nerdy days last week. Over 345,000 people squeezed themselves through the entrance doors and descended upon booths boasting some of the biggest names in gaming.
Amongst all of this chaos, Now Loading's staff attempted to interview industry personnel and get our hands on titles that everyone is dying to play. Though we managed to spend time with some 30 games, there were a few titles that stood out in Cologne's Koelnmesse Hall that I need to tell you about!
More Gamescom coverage, dear reader:
Gamescom 16: Here's Why 'Titanfall 2' Takes Our FPS Top Spot!
Kings & Queens of Men: The Inspiring Developers Behind A Massive Medieval Game You Need To Play
Gamescom 2016: Games, Games & More Games
For anyone interested, the above video is us ambling around one of Gamescom's massive rooms, talking about games and being generally ridiculous.
Ubisoft had a pleasant surprise for us all at the end of their 2016 E3 conference, a little game called Steep. Partially set in the alps, this open world extreme sport game will allow players to engage in multiplayer races and challenges aboard a snowboard, plastered to some skis, clinging to a parasail, or falling with style in a kitted out wingsuit.
While its gameplay trailer did a great job of highlighting the fast-paced action of Steep, its great multiplayer mechanics and beautiful open world, it was another experience entirely to actually engage with it. I crashed more times than I can count during my two half hour sessions with the game, but the drive to get back up and keep improving was remarkably strong.
The game's controls are wonderfully heavy. It takes some time to adapt to how Steep controls if you've come from SSX or other extreme sports games, but once you get used to the feeling of the mountain beneath your board or effectively analyzing the distance between your wingsuit and the mountainside, the sense of satisfaction is glorious.
I've always been a fan of Ubisoft's smaller and more unique projects, like Grow Home and Child of Light, and it seems like, come December, I'll be adding Steep to my list.
2. Titanfall 2
The sequel to one of the most surprising first-person shooters in recent memory has proved one thing: Battlefield 1 isn't Call of Duty: Infinite's main competitor, it's Titanfall 2.
One of the most surprising aspects of Titanfall 2's gameplay was its fluidity. Boasting some of the most fun traversal mechanics, with wall-running, grapple hooks, boost jumping and projected slides, the intense combat of this sequel was a pleasure to engage with for all of the multiplayer matches I had a chance to try.
The game's visuals helped instill a sense of awe and wonder as grunts emerged from falling capsules, enemies hurled upgraded weaponry your way and Titans slammed into the ground around you. The game's pacing kept me on edge and tested my FPS skills in exciting new ways. And seeing as Titanfall 2 hopes to deliver an exhilarating campaign along with these multiplayer wonders, I'm tremendously excited for Respawn's sequel.
3. Sea of Thieves
Within the opening minute of my time with Sea of Thieves, my character had drank way too much alcohol, completely missed the ladder onto the ship, played the hurdy gurdy with ship mates and generally bounced around with glee prior to his first voyage. Then I had the honor of unleashing our sails after my shipmates had raised the anchor. And so we were off.
Sea of Thieves is a multiplayer focused pirate game that will allow teams of players to co-operatively helm a pirate ship on vast, beautiful oceans. Sea of Thieves walked away with two awards this year, Best Console Game (Xbox One) and Best Multiplayer Game. While, in my opinion, there weren't many impressive Xbox titles on show this year, the fact that Rare claimed the best multiplayer experience at the conference is impressive by any standards.
I had a roaring good time with Sea of Thieves. My team were abysmal when it came to actually aiming our canons at rival ships, but the sheer thrill of repairing holes in our hull, shouting directions at the captain and attempting to pummel players with canon fire was far more enjoyable than I had anticipated. By far some of the most fun I had at Gamescom this year. Well done, Rare.
4. For Honor
Thank you for being as much fun as I'd hoped you'd be, For Honor.
Ever since the game was revealed at E3 I have been ludicrously excited to get my hands on Ubisoft's swashbuckling multiplayer extravaganza, which is set to (impossibly) pitch vikings, knights and samurai against one another in glorious combat. I had the opportunity to play an online match where teams of four fought for dominance over three capture points.
The game's combat, while initially confusing, is so damn satisfying. With a developer next to me and coaching my every move, I began to annihilate the opposing team as the most badass-looking samurai imaginable. Responding to how other players adapted to combat and trying to confuse my opponents was as satisfying as I wanted, and I sincerely look forward to playing this game to completion in 2017.