Today was my first on the show floor down at EGX 2015 in Birmingham, with there being a massive range of games to demo and see played within the halls of the NEC. I mostly got to play indies today, as the line for the big names were up to 5 hours long so this will mostly contain the smaller games. Tomorrow may see me talking about some AAA titles but seeing at it will be hitting peak weekend times for EGX, don’t hope for an extensive write up on something like Star Wars Battlefront until the beta in a few weeks.

Masquerada: Songs and Shadow – Witching Hour Studios

Masquerada was the first game that caught my eye at EGX, being a tactical RPG with a clear Venetian flavour to it. In the demo, I took control of three masked warriors, fighting through a library complex filled with bad guys and magical book demons. The combat is a hybrid of something like Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age, where your party moves and attacks in real time, but you can freeze action with the Space Bar to give your team specific commands, position them in certain areas or cast spells. Powered by magical masks, my three party members were a burly tank, who specialised in hand to hand combat and water magic, while the other two were sword wielders with masteries of fire and earth. Once I had wrapped my head round the tactical pausing and positioning units to make the most out of spells, each battle was quite the puzzle to figure out. I usually had my water user soaking up damage and healing, while my fire swordsman lit everyone on fire and my earth warrior stunned units with earthquakes. The only main problem I had during the demo was that enemies seem to sometime deal ungodly amounts of burst damage, which would suddenly knock out one of my party members and leave me in the tough position of disengaging and re-engaging until the downed party member was revived. As for presentation, the developers told me that they were inspired by specifically French comic artists, along with titles like Bastion, which gave Masquerada its clean, colourful aesthetic. One thing to note was the voice acting, with Matthew Mercer and Jennifer Hale providing the voices for two of my party members, which added some familiarity to this mysterious world. If you like your tactical RPGs and tales of intrigue, Masquerada might be one for you.

YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG – Ackk Studios