Updated: Saturday, 22nd September 2018 @ 5:47am

Gamescom 2018: MM's showcase lowdown from the Cologne gaming festival

Gamescom 2018: MM's showcase lowdown from the Cologne gaming festival

| By Jacob Bentley-York in Cologne

So for those that don’t know, Gamescom 2018 has come and gone and we have learnt a lot.

Having showcased some of this year’s biggest titles and technology, MM investigated exactly what you could be getting for your money from this year’s market.

Here's our lowdown of some of Gamescom’s notable showcases.

FIFA 19

Always a big hitter in the market due to the popularity of football across the world, FIFA 19 made an impressive contribution to Gamescom’s showcases.

Seemingly making a significant step in its graphics with one of the most aesthetically pleasing titles to date, the game appeared particularly refreshing from the minute you sat down.

The ever talked about Frostbite engine, integrated into the game a few years ago, finally looks to have made a real difference in the quality of gameplay with cut scenes and passages of play noticeably fluid.

Clearly this revamp was in tandem with the new Champions League rights that have brought such a fresh impetus to the dynamic of FIFA 19 and made kick off more of a spectacle than before.

Including a whole new set of overlays and commentary to complement and reflect the real look of a Champions League night, the game looks cleaner than ever.

Gameplay wise, the new notable feature was the well-advertised introduction of the active touch system and timed shooting mechanics which is a notably hard feature to deal with at first even for long time players of the game.

With the need to now comprehend every touch of the ball and shot taken, EA have made a real effort to add realism to what some have previously seen as a systematic game.

The new title makes room for the human element of real life pressure and errors that is seen week in, week out on the pitch and, although challenging at first, scoring that first goal now feels a hell of a lot sweeter.


NOTICEABLE IMPROVEMENT: MM's Jake tries his hand at FIFA 19 - and gives a thumbs up

Equally, the game has introduced a better defending system allowing players to intercept passing channels more effectively and decisively than before, hence bringing more of a balance between attack and defence which one could argue has been lacking in previous years' editions.

Overall a noticeable improvement and a must for any avid football fan.  

Battlefield V

The Battlefield franchise never deals by halves when it comes to a showcase and their display at Gamescom was no exception.

Taking up the majority of the EA section and providing an introductory session in what could only be described as a cinema room, the Battlefield creators were eager to say that their experience was both the biggest and the best when drawing in audiences at the event.

After receiving a tutorial intertwined with an array of dramatic cut scenes from the games campaign, the showcase provided a great overall feeling of all-out war.  

We were allowed to try the ever popular Conquest mode for a 20 minute spell which puts more emphasis on team work and encourages awareness of the player to consider every move they make - given the risk and rewards up for the grabs in the classic capture-the-flag inspired game mode.

Simply dropped into a snowy environment with a broken down train track, you are instantly placed into a field of combat and are thrown into the action with a need to keep a 360 degree view on everything that happens.

Speaking to long-time fans after their experience on the showcase, many suggested that the gunplay had completely changed from the previous additions with, similar to FIFA 19, a notable emphasis on realism in their gameplay.

Englishman Dominic Bortlik, 19, explained the changes after trying the demo.

“Instead of random deviation of bullets seen in Battlefield 1, they have changed it so that the bullets go exactly where they are aimed which makes for cleaner gameplay," he told MM.

“The time to kill an opponent has been tweaked from the alpha version so it is now more similar to that of a COD game which makes the transition easier to players of both.

“Although some might see some criticism among some reviews, I would still say it is definitely worth buying because it is such an intense and exciting experience and a must for fans of shooter games."

Assassins Creed Odyssey

Assassins Creed Odyssey brings us into a new era with Ancient Greece being the new playground for the infamous stealthy order.

The Gamescom showcase brought a taste of a conquest battle taken place in the context of the Peloponnesian war. Bringing into play both playable characters from the title, the demonstration gave an indication as to the direction Ubisoft were taking this year’s instalment.

Noticeably the visuals have taken a significant makeover this year with quite frankly stunning graphics that give the most realistic facial details for almost every character in the game with fine texture detail to match.

A subtle but equally impressive feature was the game's ability to tell a compelling story, focusing heavily on constructed cut scenes that retain the characters' decisions as important ones in context of the bigger war taking place.

The various camera angles, as well as the diverse dialogue, give audiences a sense of a strong narrative arc that runs through the game allowing better immersion.

Having started playing Assassins Creed back during the early instalments of Ezio in the late 2000s, you realise how far the fighting mechanics have come since then given how slick your character's interactaction is with the environment and other characters in the world.

Putting more focus on the world’s inevitable need to contain elements of war, Creed Odyssey puts the user at the forefront of a large-scale battle with one to one combat now a skilful element of proceedings having admittedly been left unrefreshed in previous additions.

With this in mind, it’s hard to flaw the game on its first look with good signs that Ubisoft are making strides towards refreshing their gameplay features and storytelling techniques and not sitting on their laurels with this one.

Only time will tell whether this really sets itself out from its predecessors but signs suggest Odyssey will make a splash in the market.

Mario Aces

Nintendo tend to stick to what they are good at and Mario Aces certainly fulfilled their family friendly quota with this fun, easy to play title which is simple yet so effective.

Having played in a four player split screen with three of the local press, you get the sense that nothing needs to be explained when it comes to Mario games as it is just easy to pick up and play.

You could argue that there is almost a comfort blanket with the characters and premise for a certain generation of young gamers who have always had the Japanese tech in their gaming armoury and take so well to the reinvention of the characters today.

However, as a standalone title, you just feel it doesn’t have enough depth to warrant what we would expect is a full price game.

As fans of Nintendo technology know, tennis games and variations of the sport have existed for such a long time in the virtual world so there will always be a basis for comparison.

I mean who could forget the first time you tried out Wii Sports tennis, it was just a bit of fun and even your Grandparents could play it!

If anything, the game would benefit from becoming part of a bigger package in a similar style to the Olympic and Winter Olympics games that incorporated Mario and Sonic which proved so popular in the past.

This aside, the game says what it does on the packet so to speak and you can’t fault the variation of the Switch technology that is now at your disposal with more impressive ways to play than ever.

Image courtesy of Gamescom via Twitter, with thanks.