Gfycat Goes to the GameStop Expo 2017
I don’t believe I’ve done this much walking in one day in my entire life.
Granted, being a writer and a gamer, that probably isn’t saying much. The good thing, though, is that it was totally worth it. After EVO 2017, where I did a lot of meandering, trying to find games I could jump on, I found the hands-on portion of the GameStop Expo to be more accessible.
Though that may have been because it seemed considerably more empty…
It was a large space and there was plenty to see, so I definitely won’t complain that I was able to see everything without being crunched against dozens of people.
While the expo was all about showcasing the latest and greatest from gaming’s top developers and publishers, the first thing I was assaulted by was merchandise. Replica swords from Game of Thrones, custom designed T-shirts, POP figures, gaming accessories, and even a large booth dedicated to the GameStop/Think Geek partnership made it impossible for me to not spend a good portion of my day shopping.
After my wallet was about $200 lighter, it seemed like a good time to step away from the merch and put my hands to use — if you know what I mean.
I’m going to start with what surprised me most, Nintendo’s showcase.
I had my first hands-on time with Super Mario Odyssey and the Mario 64 nostalgia was strong! Admittedly, this was my first time with the Switch and any reservations I had quickly dissolved.
My time with Odyssey was more enjoyable than I expected. It’s clear Nintendo wanted to make this the most expansive Mario game to date and though the core gameplay is pretty simple, it opens up an impressive world of special powers, secrets, and puzzles.
I tossed my new pal Cappy around for a little bit then, out of the corner of my eye, saw that Skyrim was playable on the Switch.
Sorry, Mario. I’ve got a date with the Dragonborn!
To see Skyrim on such a small screen and running as smooth as it did almost elicited a hearty “Fus Ro Dah!” from me. It may not be as visually striking as the recent remaster, but it doesn’t feel like an incompatible port.
Finally, it was time to leave Nintendo behind and make my way to the rear of the hall where Ubisoft was set up with a nice display of Far Cry 5, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, The Crew 2, and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.
It was here that I realized the developers weren’t too keen on me filming and I wonder if it’s because Far Cry 5 seemed to be running at a pretty slow framerate. Sure, the game was gorgeous, maybe a little too photorealistic for my tastes, but I definitely noticed a lag.
Frustrated with Far Cry and not getting the same joy that the third and fourth entries gave me, I turned to the star of the booth, Mario + Rabbids!
While I loved my time with Mario + Rabbids and found its family-friendly XCOM gameplay to be charming, Origins blew me away. Sure, it was an attractive game, but it’s the first Assassin’s game to actually try to change things, and you can tell not long after you jump in.
Everything is so much more fluid and combat actually poses a challenge. All the RPG elements feel right at home, as if the series has been waiting for them all this time. Ubisoft breathed much-needed life into the series, which I had written off after Black Flag’s naval combat failed to vary the experience enough.
Egypt was fun to romp around in and cause all sorts of mischief, but I had to step away because Bethesda was waiting, and with a gameplay demo of The Evil Within 2, it was calling to me.
Let me preface this by saying I was not a fan of the original, but the biggest thing I found issue with, the feel of the controls, was not present in the demo I played. Where The Evil Within felt incredibly clunky, its follow-up is so smooth.
And as for the scares?
The demo wasn’t afraid to showcase just how terrifying The Evil Within 2 is going to be. To slow my heart rate, I quickly slipped over to Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, which was undeniably a Wolfenstein game. It wasn’t anything remarkable, but I also wasn’t the biggest fan of the original.
Sadly, there were three games at the expo that, no matter what I did, I couldn’t get time on. Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Monster Hunter World, and Call of Duty: WWII. I could barely get close to Shadow of War, but I did linger by Monster Hunter for a while. And though it showed signs of glitching, it looked like another great entry in the series.
Call of Duty, on the other hand, was less impressive. I wish I had gotten my hands on it, but even watching the faces of those playing, I wasn’t seeing much of an incredibly positive response. It looked like it ran fine enough, but it also seemed to play like a World War II mod of Infinite Warfare.
I thought my GameStop Expo experience was complete. I played most everything I had been itching to get my hands on. I watched people fumble around in VR experiences. I purchased merch way too early and was forced to carry it around with me all day.
Then I saw it. The cherry on top of a really good experience: