After saying my goodbyes to the Koelnmesse in 2019, I had no doubt in my mind I’d be there again next year for a week of playing demos, games, and other activities with friends. I’d go to meet-ups and side events after hours, meet devs, get absolutely knackered but go to bed late all to do it again the next morning. I guess we know how that turned out…
Fast Forward to right now. We’re now one world-altering crisis later. I’ve taken up game reviewing and most importantly: GAMESCOM! IS! BACK!
As all days do, mine started in the morning, on a train crossing the Rhine towards the convention center. What used to be easily visible from afar is now largely obscured by the tall buildings of which the foundations weren’t even all laid in 2019. So while the large open space in front of the entrance is now gone, that doesn’t take away from the grandeur of the entrance I almost run towards it in excitement. I’m not even halfway to the ticket gate as I spy some familiar Belgian game devs. I was headed for my first appointment of the day, so I didn’t stick around to have a chat, as it always takes longer to find places on the first day as you “discover the map” so to speak.
My first stop was with Bandai Namco. There I followed along with a presentation on what it is they have in store for us in the near future. Dragon Ball: The Breakers, One Piece Odyssey, and No Mans Sky caught my immediate attention, yet there was an unexpected contender to steal the show. After a flashy trailer in the Opening Night Liveshow, they went into a bit more detail on Park Beyond, and I even got some hands-on time. It seems to have all the elements that a great park builder needs, yet still goes beyond via the addition of “Impossification”. This mechanic aims to give you the tools to take your imagination to the next level by way of denying that the sky is the limit and going even further beyond. When I was done with Park Beyond, I also got the opportunity to quickly go hands-on with One Piece Odyssey. I was surprised to learn that it uses a more traditional, turn-based, combat system. A surprise that didn’t lessen when it played really well.
From there, I B-lined it to the other side of the convention to check out the Xbox booth in Hall 8.1. Gotta keep my priorities straight after all. It was already bustling there as if this was one of the days open to the public. You have several opportunities to take photos there, one of which was with the giant spider from Grounded. I pleaded with it for my life, offered it to the next people who came for a picture to be her lunch, and then went to get mine.
After putting some fulling up the hunger meter with a pulled pork burger I decided 2 things. One: to scout out the rest of the halls for the upcoming days. And two: to not get one of them again. They got the pork coleslaw rating WAY off.
As I went around I stopped to play some indie games here and there, picked up some Gamescom limited edition merch (I’ve got the rest already), and stopped by the Square Enix booth in the vendor halls to get some official merchandise. The haul so far: One Gamescom 2022 dog tag and pin set, One Y’Shtola Minion figurine, A Final Fantasy XIV wallet, and one mystery item. I also got two pins with my purchase, since it went over €50 twice. I know I spoke about indie titles, but I’m aiming to dedicate a day to those, later on, to go into more details on those.
I more or less ended the day with a visit to the Belgian Games booth in the business area where I listened to a speech by our minister of media about the upcoming tax shelter for Belgian videogame companies. I then traded the airconditioned halls for the sweltering heat outside as I got on the train to my friends at the house we rented. Onwards to tomorrow! See you then.
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Hey there. Thomas is the name, Sci-fi, action and (J)RPG’s are the game. I strongly prefer co-op over PVP games. Whenever possible, you may find me run wild at a convention in western Europe. Certified anime enjoyer.