What Impressed at PAX East 2013
A convention hall is filled with every distraction possible. It’s easy to become entranced with the bright lights and pageantry. However, the game with the largest presence is not always the most impressive. Here’s a guide on what was shown off and was noteworthy at the most recent PAX in Boston, in no particular order.
The Behemoth is back with an all new game called Battleblock Theater. While not much can be revealed at this point, you can expect the same charming humor and gameplay you’ve come to expect from the makers of Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers. The Behemoth booth was constantly overflowing with people desperate to play the game first announced in 2009. Battleblock Theater will release on XBLA for 1200 Microsoft points ($15 real money) on April 3rd, as announced by this video:
Capcom began the weekend by revealing two new titles at their Friday panel. But the most interesting reveal, complete with sing-a-long trailer, overshadowed Dungeons and Dragons: a remake of the NES classic, DuckTales. The game feels and looks great, and is complete with full voice acting, even if the writing is especially dated at times. You can check out a more in depth look at both games from Scholar here: DD. Below is the reveal trailer that had an entire room full of people singing. DuckTales: Remastered will return you to your childhood in June.
Saints Row 4
Fear that the next installment of the Saint’s Row was coming too soon was silenced at PAX. Developers Volition, recently acquired by Deep Silver, showed off gameplay that showed a blessed mixture of classic Saints Row, Crackdown and Infamous, with an extra helping of crude ladled on top. As the new President of the United States, you now have more power than ever. Including new found super powers, for whatever insane reason. Whether you wanted to soar around a city or simply drop in and kill people with your “Dubstep” gun, expect Volition to deliver in August.
Tucked away in a corner of the Expo Hall, next to the towering presence of Elder Scrolls Online, Secret Ponchos was exactly that, a secret. I happened upon the Switchblade Monkeys booth purely by accident, but was immediately drawn in. I picked a shotgun wielding skeleton, and hopped into an 8 player match. The simple controls and a style that channels Sergio Leone drew me in, and despite losing the match, I came away smiling. Throughout the weekend I heard excited whispers about the game, and I was glad that people were paying attention.
Secret Ponchos plans to release sometime this year.
Originally a free flash game, developers Vambleer of Ridiculous Fishing and Super Crate Box fame are updating Luftrauser and bringing it to PC, PS3 and Vita. Luftrausers focuses on the idea that you are the greatest pilot in the world, and makes you feel that way from the very moment to begin to play. Flipping and freefalling through the air is tightly controlled and satisfying, and the art is simple and stylistic. Play Luftrausers when it releases this spring.
The newest game from Gravity Bone developer Blendo, Quadrilateral Cowboy is the story of a hacker for hire. Armed with a Telnet command prompt, you will use real lines of code to manipulate the environment, like opening doors or shutting off cameras. Blendo Games is known for its story telling, and it will be interesting to see where they take their new heist oriented game. Quadrilateral Cowboy has a tentative release window of 2013.
Eager to follow up their 2011 hit Bastion, Supergiant Games revealed their new game just in time to show it off at PAX East. Transistor stars a singer named Red, a woman hunted for coming into the possession of a weapon. The game reflects its predecessor in a lot of ways, but stands out in its cyber-punk style and execution. Red will wield a weapon that not only melees, but allows her to plan out her attacks and execute them to hit multiple enemies at once. Supergiant Games was another booth absolutely bursting with people hoping to get their hands on a controller. Supergiant has made a name for itself with the unique style and vision of Bastion, and Transistor looks to be no different.
PAX is a whirlwind of a weekend and it is impossible to see and play everything. These seven games struck me immediately and kept my attention despite the crowds and constant barrage of media. There will always be powerhouses at shows like this, like Elder Scrolls Online or Assassin’s Creed, but it is games like these that make attending a show like PAX so much fun. To find out more check out the PAX East site.