How was day 1 of PAX? Well, I’ll put it this way – about 3 hours into my time at PAX East today I sent my wife a text message:
While I’d been to PAX West numerous times, this is actually my first time at East, and I found that it has a lot of the same energy that made me fall in love with PAX West: a floor full of video games, board games and tabletop games (woo!), passionate devs who get excited talking about their project, and plenty of awesome swag and shopping to keep you occupied through the weekend.
The buzz of the attendees was hard to ignore as well!
After taking advantage of my early access with a quick trip to the PAX merch line (essential!), I made my way to Larian Studios booth to try out Baldur’s Gate 3.
While we’ve still got a ways to go before Baldur’s Gate 3 is ready for the masses, playing through the demo re-kindled my hype for another amazing D&D-centric video game. Combat was smooth, the voice acting was solid, and the environmental effects and details were vivid. High on my hype list for sure!
High on many other people’s hype list this year is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. This classic 4-player beat-em-up sports the same aesthetic and gameplay that we all fell in love with in the arcade during the 90s.
Gameplay was smooth, and easy to learn while also offering some surprising depth. Super moves can be unleashed, various pizza types can replenish your health, give you increased attack power, or unlimited specials for a short period. The narrative is simple, but carries effectively from one level to the next. Overall, I was very pleased with my time playing Shredder’s Revenge. I think there was a lot of love for Streets of Rage 4 for bringing back a beloved franchise with tight controls and a familiar structure. If this was any indication of what we have to look forward to then I’d say get ready for some very happy TMNT fans!
My next stop was Alchemy RPG – which I already detailed in this feature. Suffice it to say – it was a worthwhile stop!
Navigating towards the tabletop and board gaming sections I came across the Monster Adventure Terrain booth. This company strives to provide affordable terrain modules that can paint a vivid picture for your players when they enter a new area, or approach the battlefield.
Now, as any board or tabletop gamer knows, in order to support something like those expansive terrain sets, you need to have a proper table. Thankfully, Wyrmwood was on hand to show us what one looked like.
While I unfortunately didn’t have the *checks notes* $10,000 or so on hand for the table I’d really like, it’s always great to watch the demos and dream of one day having one.
My next demo was with Dungeon Defenders: Going Rogue. Moving in a slightly different direction than previous iterations, Going Rogue is more action based, relying less on towers and much more on your ability to defeat waves, collect runes and progress as far as you can, therefore taking a more roguelike approach. It was fun! Having played Awakened before, I enjoyed the maneuverability in Going Rogue, which also includes a dash now. They were also showcasing a new class: Warden. A druid-like role that offers support at mid-range. Overall, it was a fun demo and I’m excited to dive back in soon.
Up next was The Iron Oath – a tactical RPG that blended elements of Darkest Dungeon with Baldur’s Gate, among other influences. I was really digging the vibe of this game as I played the demo, and it definitely seems like the kind of title I will spend way too much time on. That being said, it’s definitely worth a look if tactical/strategy RPGs are your thing! It’s available in early access today.
A trip to the Indie Poland area was next on the docket – with some particular attention on Lumencraft, a top down, dual-stick shooter with base-building elements. I don’t know what it is about this game that’s got me gushing over it, maybe the drilling aspect is appealing to my love of Gurren Lagaan or something. Regardless, it’s a fantastic game and I can’t wait to spend more time with it. There were some additional games with more of a mech-focus such as Uragun, but I didn’t have a chance to demo it today. Tomorrow!
I spent some more time wandering the tabletop area before the Gearbox show in the afternoon. CEO of the Gearbox Entertainment Company Randy Pitchford was celebrating his birthday (I shan’t out his age in the article – you can wiki it!), so the timing was apt!
There were a handful of announcements, with a lot of attention being paid to Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, which has been doing very well – particularly among the streaming circles. In terms of news, the acquisition of Lost Boys production company was a pretty big one for most folks.
For me however, it was this:
Call me Slowpoke, because I completely missed this 3 weeks ago! Hyper Light Drifter was, and continues to be, one of my top 10 favorite gaming experiences of all time. While the 3D style isn’t quite what I was hoping for aesthetically, I’m hopeful the rich lore of the world will continue to unfold.
Overall, day 1 of PAX East was rich and full of amazing energy and super cool games. Tomorrow I’ll be taking a closer look at some upcoming titles from Brace Yourself Games, including Industries of Titan. I’m also very excited to be seeing Eiyuden Chronicles and Dwerve, among other titles.
Here’s to an even better day 2!