A Souls-like battle royale mash-up with bucket loads of neon, but has it got soul?
PUBLISHER Fazan Developer Fazan Format Xbox One ETA 2018
With the battle royale bubble yet to burst, and with the ‘find guns in an ever-shrinking map’ formula now ground down to a fine dust, it’s time for someone to try something a little different. Enter Egress, a swaggering PvP affair that trades rifles and grenades for axes and swords, and flat open maps with a couple of houses for a dense, Victorian cityscape. Question is, can it set itself far enough apart from its influences to be a decent game in its own right?
And it really isn’t hard to identify the games and franchises that currently adorn Egress’ bedroom wall. The gothic aesthetic is Dishonored to a tee; the era-fusing character designs have a real Fable feel about them, and that combat? With the focus on position, momentum and dodges? Well, let’s just say it reminds us of a certain game that rhymes with ‘park goals’. Come on, someone was going to mash up PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds with Souls eventually. It was only a matter of time…
As predictable as its union may be, developer Fazan is certainly hoping to pull it off with plenty of sass, and infuse its new offering with a sense of verticality and scale often lost in long rounds of PUBG. The Victorianstyle townhouses of its setting are bunched tightly together, making for maze-like kill boxes on the ground and mini battlefields high above on the rooftops. Fights will spill into houses, or down into the depths of the sewers that run beneath the city. It’s the kind of world design where ambushes and traps – another Souls calling card – will almost certainly be the perpetual dish of the day.
The combat is the big selling point here, and Fazan is promising plenty of depth when it comes to how you use and upgrade each character. There will be 12 in total and each one will have their own unique traits, abilities and weapons (see ‘Meet the Hunter’ for info on one of the dozen fighters on offer) so learning to use each one – as well as learning how well they perform against certain other builds – will be key to victory in its darkened arenas.
So it’s battle royale in the vaguest of terms, really. You can play in both traditional solo or more team-focused modes, but the combat veers away from the ‘everyone starts with nothing’ formula of other games in the genre and instead opts for something you’d find in a modern action-RPG. One character has a slow-moving mace, but he also boasts the power to launch bolts of molten fire, making him a dangerous mix of power and ranged griefing. Another has a nastylooking rapier, attuned for speed and precision, while another brandishes a giant pickaxe that says, “I’m slow, but I’ll ruin your evening if I catch you”.
We’re also really digging the neontinged look Egress is swinging for. The studio behind the game says it’s mashing up the Victorian era with Lovecraft’s mythology and retrowave. So we’re basically getting Victorianstyle costumes, a potential Cthulhuesque angle and all the synth-backed music you could hope for.
We’re just hoping the set of 12 characters has some support for customisation when it comes to abilities and weapons, as we can see plenty of room for griefing and trolling if those 12 bruisers aren’t properly balanced. Still, with a PC-based closed beta on the cards later this year, there should be enough time for Egress to test its mettle in time for an eventual debut on Xbox One. We’ll listen to some synth-pop in the meantime.
“Fights spill into houses or into the depths of sewers that run beneath the city”
Developer Fazan previously worked on open-world, PC- based horror title, Beastarium