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10 things you must do at EGX 2016

Be our guest.

It is the eve of EGX, the UK's biggest gaming show, which means our office is rapidly emptying of people as well as the huge flight crates filled with routers that have been stacked around the printer for the last week. (Disclaimer, if you didn't know already: our company, Gamer Network, runs EGX, but the events team is separately run from this website.)

Team Eurogamer will be there, as ever, albeit in a little less than full force for once, due largely to the sheer quantity of babies we've produced over the last 12 months (or are about to produce in the coming weeks, god help me). Still, Tom, Johnny, Ian, Aoife and Chris Bratt will all be at the NEC Birmingham for the show, so if you're going and spot one of them, do say hi.

As they pack their bags with spare camera batteries and cans of delicious Tornado energy drink (warning: do not drink and VR), it seemed like a good moment to run down our pick of things to do at this year's show. EGX isn't all about queueing to play massive unreleased games, so we've included a few other bits and pieces. And of course, this only scratches the surface - check out the EGX site for the full run-down. There are still a handful of tickets available on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, by the way.

Check back over the coming days for news and videos from the show floor, our favourites of the game that we play there, streams of the developer sessions and all that jazz. And if you're going, enjoy yourselves!

1. See for yourself what PS4 Pro can do

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After a muted reveal during which Sony's executives seemed visibly aware that no-one watching the stream at home could see the difference in the visuals, the jury is still out on Sony's upgraded PlayStation 4, due out in a couple of months. One thing's certain: the only way to decide whether you need a PS4 Pro in your life is to see one powering a top-end 4K display in the flesh. EGX this year offers that chance. (Plus, you might spot Digital Foundry's Tom Morgan and John Linneman with their tricorders out.) PlayStation VR is in the (Andrew) house as well.

2. Shiv someone questionable in Dishonored 2

If you come to shows for the bragging rights, you don't get better than a world-first hands-on. But we'd be recommending checking out this demo regardless, to be honest. Dishonored offered intricate stealth in a richly-detailed dystopia ruled by depraved aristocrats and their thug footsoldiers. None of that changes for this sequel, which still manages to turn the screws in some unexpectedly disturbing ways as it introduces a new heroine, Emily, with a new suite of powers. Who will you kill - and will it be by accident or out of laziness?

3. Watch the Capcom Pro Tour grand finale

This isn't really an eSports site, we admit. But we love our fighting games, especially Street Fighter, and fighting games are also some of the easiest and most exciting games to follow when they're being played by the very best. EGX hosts a legit, premier event in the Capcom Pro Tour, with automatic qualification to the Capcom Cup Final the ultimate prize, so at the sharp end of the competition, the level of play should be very good. Then, for a chaser, go and check out the latest build of Tekken 7 on the show floor.

4. Smash up a robot dinosaur in Horizon: Zero Dawn

It's the future, and humanity is back in the caves and out on the savannahs. The dinosaurs, meanwhile, are made of robotic junk scavenged from the lost cities of a fallen civilisation. This looks like a beautiful prospect, from the gadgets on offer - there's a rope gun! - to the sandbox mayhem you can cause with them. Best of all, it's entirely built around the pleasure of messing up shambling multistorey monsters. This is the big 2017 prospect at the show, and with the trademark tactile weapons of developer Guerrilla, it demands to be played. There's a developer talk on this game, too.

5. Pitch a game idea at the Rezzed stage

A regular fixture at EGX and its sister show EGX Rezzed, this panel is usually a lot of fun. (Last year it was won by Tinder for Dads, a smartphone game in which in you pick your procedurally generated dad by swiping right and then play a depressing neorealist sim-RPG about your life together.) Here's a winner, right? EVE Online with pirates! Oh, wait, that's Sea of Thieves. How about Deus Ex: Victoriana? Dishonored, you say? No matter. Here's your chance to put your best/stupidest game concepts to some people who probably won't be able to get them made. But it's cathartic.

6. Get lost in the crowd in Tokyo 42

While we're in the Rezzed area, it's a good idea to sample some of the huge range of indies exhibiting here (and enjoy the friendly developers and general lack of queues). There's more here than we can list, and probably more than we'll find time to play, but top of our list to check out is Tokyo 42, whose trailer caused a sensation in the Eurogamer office the other day. Social stealth has never looked more beautiful in a game that asks you to navigate ant-like masses swarming and multiplying around bright slabs of futuristic architecture. And if you get tired of sneaking you can relax with some ultra-violence. Looks like sculpture, feels like the original GTA. Very exciting.

7. Build bases in Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3

Strategy games are maybe not the perfect fit for a buzzing show floor, but if any of them can make their presence felt there it will be Dawn of War's thrillingly barbaric twist on RTS. It's good to have it back. Dawn of War 3 brings back base-building, and it also allows you to command some truly gigantic hero units. Developer Relic is now owned by Sega, which is fast becoming a dominant force in PC strategy games; Chris "strategy king" Bratt is on the developer sessions stage on Friday chatting to a panel of Sega strategy devs, so check that out too.

8. Hear 65daysofstatic's talk about recording No Man's Sky's soundtrack

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While we're on developer sessions... The controversy around Hello Games' space exploration game won't have escaped your attention, and the devs are consequently keeping a low profile - but most people agree that No Man's Sky's music is superb, and this deep dive with the ambient rock band behind its looping, algorithmic freak-out should be a fascinating look at the challenge of scoring an open-ended, infinite game. Also worth keeping an eye out for on the developer session stage: our own Johnny Chiodini chatting to Failbetter Games about the expansion to the amazing Sunless Sea.

9. Explore the outer regions of gaming in the Leftfield Collection

We're not going to pick a single game out of this regular fixture, because it's more fun to discover them for yourselves. More to the point, until we see them for ourselves tomorrow, we have no idea what they will be like, which is the fun part. This is real, grassroots game development - the devs don't pay to exhibit, the games are unheard of, and the ideas can be pretty far out. For example: previous Leftfield star Line Wobbler, the one-dimensional roguelike you play with a door-stopper. We guarantee the maddest game at EGX will be here.

10. Regress to childhood in Yooka-Laylee

As much a warm bubble bath of nostalgia as it is a video game in its own right, this crowd-funding success story promises to channel the best of Rare into vibrant, colourful worlds perfect for platforming, collecting doodads, listening to tunes by legendary game composers like David Wise and Grant Kirkhope, and just doing nothing to see what the idle animations are like. It's playable in the Rezzed zone, which might just ruin what we said earlier about queues, and there's a talk by developer Playtonic, too. Afterwards, go and see what's in the Retro area. I heard they had a rare Acorn computer last year...

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