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gamescom 2018

Gamescom 2018 Quick Hits: Dying Light 2, Hitman 2, And More

by Game Informer Editorial on Aug 22, 2018 at 01:49 PM

Gamescom is the world’s biggest gaming convention, with hundreds of thousands of game creators, industry types, and fans converging in Cologne, Germany. It offers a lot to see and play, and with that in mind we’ve rounded up some of the best and most interesting games we’ve seen during the show. We’ll be updating this list over the next few days, too, so come back and see what’s been added. 

Be sure to check out our expanded Gamescom previews for some of the biggest upcoming games, including Devil May Cry 5, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Resident Evil 2, Life is Strange 2, Man of Medan, and Ori and the Will of the Wisps.

Another Sight

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Switch PC
Developer: Lunar Great Wall Studios
Release: September 6

Set in a Victorian steampunk world, Another Sight is a side scrolling puzzle/platformer where players control two different characters. Inspired by Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, developer Lunar Great Wall looks to tell the story of a young blind woman named Kit who finds herself stuck in a surreal world filled with 19th Century legends like Thomas Edison and Claude Monet. During my demo, I controlled Kit as she moved through a largely dark world. Fortunately, Kit is able to navigate through hearing, represented to players visually in that objects in the environment that make a lot of noise are lit up. Players can also swap between Kit and a furry cat named Hodge. Hodge is able to climb up high and squeeze into small spaces that Kit can’t reach, but he will still need to lead Kit around so she can do normal human tasks like open doors. This colorful indie game is only a few weeks from release, so we’ll soon see if the final game is as promising as its demo. – Ben Reeves

Blacksad: Under the Skin

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Developer: Pendulo Studios
Release: 2019

Blacksad isn’t an incredibly popular comic in the U.S., but maybe it should be. This Spanish graphic novel series takes popular noir tropes and retells them using gorgeous paintings of 1950s Americana. Oh, and all the people are animals. The comics are stunning, and this upcoming tie-in game isn’t bad looking either. Developer Pendulo worked with the comic’s creators to craft a completely new story set in the Blacksad universe. After a famous boxing club owner named Joe Dunn turns up dead, one of his prized boxers disappears before a highly publicized fight. Dunn’s daughter hires Blacksad to get to the bottom of the mess. Under the Skin follows Telltale’s adventure model fairly faithfully, and even included a series of QTE fistfights. However, Pendulo  has introduced one unique feature; since Blacksad is a cat, he is able to use his super human senses to scan environments for clues, which will open up new dialogue options with NPCs. Blacksad: Under the Skin also isn’t an episodic series, so players won’t have to wait several months for the series to wrap; this is a complete package. – Ben Reeves

Diablo III: Eternal Collection

Platform: Switch
Developer: Blizzard
Release: Fall

Blizzard likes to make games that can be played for the long haul, and Diablo III has had one hell of a run. The game first released more than six years ago, but a steady stream of updates have kept the game alive. Now, its run continues on Switch. Not only does this package include the Reaper of Souls and Rise of the Necromancer expansions, but Switch owners have access to every update the game has seen to date, as well as ongoing features and Nintendo-themed armor and pets. The game only runs in HD on Switch, but it maintains an incredibly smooth framerate. I played as a Witch Doctor with a zookeeper build, and even when I was spawning minions left and right, the Switch maintained a solid 60fps framerate. I also played with two couch co-op buddies and didn’t notice a drop in performance. Looks like I’ll finally be able to take my Diablo habit on the road. – Ben Reeves

Dying Light 2

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Techland
Release: 2019

One of the coolest things about Dying Light 2 is how your decisions shape the world. During a Gamescom presentation, we got a better sense of how that works. As an example, we learned about a mission where three factions are battling over possession of an abandoned swimming pool. One group wants to use it as a training facility for its paramilitary soldiers. Another wants to cultivate hallucinogenic drugs in the space. A third is interested in farming plants that will be fermented to make fuel. There’s no wrong decision, but weigh your choices wisely – you never know how they might help or hinder you moving forward. In this example, helping the law-and-order types provides security in the close vicinity, but the raiders and infected will be pushed away to different places in the world – making them more dangerous. If you help the fuel-seekers, it sets the stage for what ultimately becomes the scenario in the E3 demo, where that fuel is used to help a group secure and profit from clean water. It’s an ambitious layer that we weren’t expecting to see from an action game, but we certainly aren’t complaining. – Jeff Cork

Dying Light: Bad Blood

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Techland
Release: September (PC), TBD (consoles)

Dying Light’s upcoming free-to-play competitive spinoff isn’t exactly a battle royale – they’re calling it a brutal royale. There may not be 100 players battling it out for supremacy, but it definitely lives up to the brutal descriptor, with zombie dismemberment and a focus on melee combat. A dozen players spawn in a reworked map from the first Dying Light, with the goal of being the sole survivor to earn a seat on a rescue helicopter. Admission isn’t free, however – you need to acquire enough samples from zombie nests scattered across the map before you can call for evac. I played a couple of rounds, and lived long enough each time to hear the chopper coming down. Unfortunately, in both instances, I was attacked from behind by a cowardly opponent. Or maybe he was being strategic. All I know for certain is that I watched him fly away through his eyes in a spectator cam. – Jeff Cork

The Gardens Between

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Switch PC
Developer: The Voxel Agents
Release: September 20

This stylish puzzle game jumped out at me during Nintendo’s recent indie broadcast, so I tracked the game down at Gamescom to see if it was worth keeping an eye on. This adventure centers on two best friends named Arina and Frendt who fall into a dreamlike world full of larger than life objects from their childhood. Using the analog stick you move time backwards and forwards and help the duo complete a series of simple but clever puzzles as they relive their past. On one level I had to rewind time to a point where Frendt found a VCR and then eject its tape, which fell out of the machine can created a new bridge for our heroes to progress. The Gardens Between surreal worlds look like they might be worth exploring when the game releases next month. – Ben Reeves

GRIP: Combat Racing

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Developer: Caged Element
Release: 2019

Grip is inspired by Psygnosis’ frantic racer Rollcage, which has kept a cult following over the years. Grip features ridiculously fast cars that can tumble around and function just as well on their backs as they do in their normal orientation. Levels are designed to take full advantage of this unusual mobility, with tunnels where players can ride on the walls and ceilings. At its core, it’s similar to a sped-up version of a kart racer, with weapons and boosts that keep the pack fairly close together. They include projectiles as well as ways to hassle opponents, such as slowing down everyone else’s screen. I played a three-player split-screen race, and found my first-place fortunes reversed in the second lap, after hitting a jump and slamming squarely into a wall. The game supports four-player split screen on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and two-player split screen on the Switch. – Jeff Cork

Hitman 2

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: IO Interactive
Release: November 13

At E3, we were first introduced to Hitman 2’s Miami level, which had Agent 47 track down a race-car-driving target. At Gamescom, we got to check out the complete level, which includes the driver and her industrialist/war criminal father. It’s a classic Hitman assassination, with a sprawling map and loads of creative ways to take out the targets. Race fever is in full swing, with cars whipping past crowds of adoring fans. I keep a low profile, but if I garnered some unwanted attention I could have easily used the mass of people to blend in and avoid being fully detected. There are a few close calls, like when I have to take out a pair of engineers to steal a disguise, but my caution pays off. I’m able to sabotage a concept car and blast my target against a nearby wall. Since it’s Hitman, nobody thinks to stop the guy who was behind the wheel. And just like that, I’m gone. – Jeff Cork

In Other Waters

Platform: PC
Release: 2020
Developer: Jump Over The Age

It might sound weird to get excited at the thought of simply navigating an interface, but In Other Waters is that kind of game. Playing as an AI guiding a xenobiologist through an alien ocean teeming with new kinds of life, In Other Waters is a narrative-based game that has you interacting with scanners, navigation radars, and other nobs as you learn more about the people you’re guiding, their motivations, and uncover an intriguing tale that’s as intriguing as it is calming. The game is nowhere near completion (with much of the currently-beautiful interface still under development), but consider my curiosity piqued. – Suriel Vazquez

Left Alive

Platform: PlayStation 4, PC
Release: TBA
Developer: Square Enix

It’s been under wraps since being revealed at late last year, so just what the heck is Left Alive, anyway? Beneath the gorgeous cover art and character designs by artist Yoji Shinkawa (who’s done much of the art direction for the Metal Gear Series) is a third-person shooter set in the Front Mission universe. Taking place over the course of about a day, Left Alive follows three protagonists as they attempt to escape from a city besieged by a mysterious military force packing enormous mechs. As players try to make their way through the city, they’ll face a number of choices, whether that means taking a stealthy or loud approach with limited resources, crafting smoke or regular grenades, or slowing their own progress to rescue survivors over the course of the game’s mission-based campaign. While we won’t have a final release date for some time, there’s enough promise in Left Alive that you can finally count me as being intrigued by something in the Front Mission universe. – Suriel Vazquez

Metro: Exodus

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release 2019
Developer: 4A Games

Metro Exodus’ latest demo introduces us to the Children of the Forest, a survivalist clan in the wilderness with a strong moral code and no love for outsiders. It also introduces to some more open-ended combat environments, which had us thinking more of Far Cry’s camps than a linear shooter campaign. Stealth is invaluable when you’re running low on crafting resources, as well as when several packs of wolves and deer roam the post apocalypse, looking to devour or trample anything in their path. The wildlife isn’t just for decoration, either; if they happen to be running around as you’re trying to pick off enemies one my pone with a crossbow, you can count on things getting hectic quickly. Despite all these additions, however, this still feels like Metro, which bodes well for 4A Games’ attempt to start a new chapter in Artyom’s story. – Suriel Vazquez

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: The Bearded Ladies
Release: December 4

Mutant Year Zero has come a long way since we last saw it at E3. This dystopian strategy game is based on a Swedish pen-and-paper RPG and being developed by Bearded Ladies (a collaboration between former Hitman and Payday developers). I spent 30 minutes scouring a series of dilapidated tunnels and engaging in white-knuckle, XCOM-style firefights with a group of fearsome mutants and androids, but I walked away wanting more than 30 minutes. Players control up to three heroes who all have their own unique skills. I palled around with an anthropomorphic duck who can fly into the air to get a better line of sight on enemies and a mutant boar who can charge into battle and destroy cover. These are the same characters that we’ve seen since the game’s debut, but  Bearded Ladies promised that the final release would be full of other specialized characters. Between firefights, players can scavenge for supplies and even scout out enemy encampments to silently thin the herd. The content we saw at Gamescom wasn’t much different from what we’ve seen before, but it was less buggy. And while the game still offers a good challenge, it’s nothing that XCOM fans can’t handle. I’m excited to see how the Mutant Year Zero’s scavenging and crafting works over the long term. – Ben Reeves

Old School Musical

Platform: Switch, PC
Developer: La Moutarde
Release: September 13

This indie game is one of the show's biggest surprises. Old School Musical is an apt title for the 16-bit-inspired rhythm game, which tells a snarky story about a pair of brothers, a domineering mother, and a world that’s being overrun with visual glitches. Each chapter in the story is visually based on a classic game, such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Metroid, and Metal Gear. They’re not reverent homages though; of the levels I played, the Outrun-inspired level “Outrash” was my favorite. Instead of a car running down a track in a race, the brothers find themselves in a weird situation that features biker gangs a la Road Rash hurling insults at each other in a Monkey Island-style competition. You don’t actually control the car or characters. Instead, you match notes with the face buttons and shoulder buttons as they fly into the center of the screen. It’s similar to the karaoke minigame in the Yakuza series, and even sillier. The chiptune music is incredible, with more than 50 different original tracks. It’s a simple concept expertly executed, and I can’t wait to see more of it. – Jeff Cork

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Platform: Xbox One, PC
Developer: Moon Studios
Release: 2019

Moon Studios has taken the stunning Metroid-meets-platformer formula and polished it to a sheen in the incredible looking Ori and the Will of the Wisps. The first game featured some great non-verbal storytelling, and the sequel looks to deliver another compelling narrative.  The game introduces a bunch of new characters, and the few I saw look charming and well-designed. One of the weakest elements from the first game was the combat, but Moon has done a lot of work to fix this by introducing several new weapons. You can assign up to three different attacks to your face buttons, which adds some strategy. I messed around with about half a dozen combat tools, from a giant energy sword to a bow and arrow to a devastating grenade. Each has unique strengths, and you can keep upgrading your favorite throughout the game, so you don’t have to worry about feeling coerced into switching over to a weapon you don’t like. The only bad thing about my time with Ori and the Will of the Wisps was learning that it still doesn’t have a release date; the soonest we can expect this promising Microsoft exclusive is 2019. – Ben Reeves

Overkill's The Walking Dead

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Overkill Software
Release: November 6 (PC), 2019 (console)

Overkill brought its co-op shooter based on the comics to Gamescom, in which up to four players take on hordes of zombies and hostile human survivors. It’s like Payday, but instead of trying to rip off a bank or mall, you’re trying to keep your community alive. I played a new level, in which our group of three tried to steal radio equipment from a group of bandits. Aiden, the tank character I played, did a great job of smacking skulls with his bat, and blasting hostiles with a shotgun and silenced pistol. Remaining quiet is particularly important; every shot you take or alarm you trigger makes a horde meter slowly creep up. When it ticks full, additional zombies spawn into the world. Then again, considering the scarcity of ammo – most drops I found contained a measly one or two measly shells – going in guns blazing may simply not be possible. We methodically worked our way through an infested city, repairing generators and finding ladders to reach the communications tower, but it wasn’t meant to be. After solving a combination-lock puzzle to open the gate to the goods, each one of us fell during a maxed-out zombie swarm. We should have brought a third player along. – Jeff Cork

The Settlers

Platform: PC
Developer: Blue Byte
Release: 2019 

At Gamescom, Ubisoft announced the return of The Settlers, a series that got its start 25 years ago on the Amiga. Essentially, it’s a world-building sim where you help a fledgling group of settlers (aha!) explore and tame a wild new world. We saw what a player could accomplish in two hours thanks to a little dev-acceleration magic, and it was pretty impressive. It grew from a tiny outpost with a handful of foraging villagers to a complicated network of roads, craftspeople, and soldiers. Fortunately, the interface doesn’t seem intimidating; players drop new structures into place by aligning them with dots that are superimposed onto the world – a nice change of pace from the grids we’re all accustomed to. The demo ended with a look at military conflict, featuring a siege. Players can also defeat their rival factions by training a champion and challenging their counterpart in the arena. The losing side has to rebuild morale quickly, or face a revolution and the potential loss of everything they’ve built up. – Jeff Cork

State of Decay 2: Daybreak

Platform: Xbox One, PC
Developer: Undead Labs
Release: September 12
Undead Labs showed off State of Decay 2's fourth DLC pack, which is a change of pace for the series. It may technically show off a different side of the zombie outbreak, but Daybreak’s action is primarily a wave-based shooter. You have to survive seven increasingly long and difficult waves of zombies. Fortunately, you aren’t putting your personal community at risk; instead, you play as a Red Talon soldier, one of the best-equipped forces against the undead. Your job is simple (perhaps a little too much so): keep a technician alive while he services a CLEO satellite uplink. Last long enough, and the unit will drop supplies and other goodies. Fail, and there’s always another Red Talon body to occupy. You can unlock new weapons and eventually send a Red Talon survivor over to join your main community. – Jeff Cork

Stuck in a Pig

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Developer: Gamera Interactive
Release: TBD

When the Gamera representative told me that his game was call Stuck in a Pig, I said, “What?” because I was pretty sure I was having trouble understanding his Italian accent. I wasn’t, but bizarre title or not, this cute indie game shows some promise. You control a young pig who thinks he’s a boar stuck in the body of a pig (now that title is starting to make sense). Gamera says it’s a metaphors for psychosis. Stuck in a Pig features a lot of point and click adventure game elements, but it plays like a 2D side scroller. During my demo, I talked to an alcoholic dog who wanted help obtaining alcohol, because the nearby bar was only serving water, so I had to take one of the glasses from the bar and then use a horn to drill into a nearby keg to fill it with beer. The game seems cutesy and lighthearted, but also plays with some serious themes of psychosis and loss. Hopefully Gamera is able to tastefully handle those issue while delivering a compelling adventure. – Ben Reeves

Team Sonic Racing

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch PC
Release: December
Developer: Sumo Digital

Sega and Sumo Digital’s decision to turn the Sonic racing series into a team-based sport adds plenty of new twists on the kart-racing formula. Running your team of three characters (each controlled by a different player or AI), as a pack is highly encouraged, as following the racing line of which ever team member is in the lead speeds you up, players to swap items among each other to best take advantage of them, and driving past an ally stunned by another player’s offensive item (called wisps) re-engergizes them and puts them back at full speed. All of these actions fill up your character’s ultimate meter, which gives everyone the same powerful speed boost and is even stronger when all three players active it simultaneously. These additions, along with the regular speed boosts and rings strewn throughout the track, could make Team Sonic Racer a solid Mario Kart competitor when it launches later this year. – Suriel Vazquez

Twin Mirror

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Dontnod
Release: 2019

Although Life is Strange 2 is releasing next month, Dontnod’s other episodic game is already in development, and while some of the production values could use some sprucing up, it’s definitely on my radar. Playing as Samuel Hicks, you wake up in a hotel room with a bloody shirt in your bathroom sink and unable to remember what happened the night before. As you try to make sense of everything you're joined by The Double, a character who looks exactly like you (except with more dapper attire) and acts as the voice in your head. As you explore your room, you slowly reconstruct what happened by finding clues and putting together a working theory, altering it as you find supporting evidence and hop into the mind palace, an ethereal place in your mind you use to store memories. I was quickly hooked on the setup, and hopefully Twin Mirror will follow Dontnod’s tradition of creating captivating tales that don’t have you saving the world when it releases next year. – Suriel Vazquez