Top 10 Highlights of PAX East 2013

It’s always an important time of the year for gaming when the PAX train comes to town, and we are hot off of PAX East weekend in Boston! This year was an exceptional leap ahead of the past couple of events in terms of overall quality of software and an increasingly prominent Independent presence. Games Abyss was on the scene and we went hard to demo everything in our paths so we can bring you the best of the best the show floor had to offer! There were plenty of fun things to do from demos and presentations to visiting the Elder Scrolls Online food truck for grilled cheese (which were absolutely divine by the way) and collectors cups. These ten experiences stood out of the flock for us however, each one worthy of your attention!

10) Diablo Journeys to Console – Yes it isn’t technically an unreleased game, undoubtedly most every gamer who considers themselves a Diablo fan has played the PC release even a little bit. There are a lot of important points to remember when considering a console port however; most notably the expansion of audience. Therefore it can be argued that Diablo 3 must play even better on the PlayStation 3 than it has for its original build. As you’ve probably guessed by this making “the list” (that’s what we do, we make lists and then call it “the list”, we are bosses like that) that Diablo III does not miss a single step on the other side of a dualshock controller. It transitions amazingly well and it can be argued that mixing up attacks in the heat of battle is quicker than keyboard hotkeys. It is exciting to know that one of the best RPGs of last year will soon be accessibly to even more gamers not within the PC gaming scene.

9) Big Brother is Watching You – Watch Dogs is one of those titles that took burst onto the scene and took a commanding presence with its debut trailer. While we gained a reasonably detailed idea of what a city controlled by one man’s obsession with surveillance and control over anything able to be hacked, Ubisoft’s closed theater presentation at elaborated much more than I imagined it could. Presented like an in depth news report explaining the mystery surrounding the cyber-menacing Aiden Pearce and his uncanny abilities to use police prototype technology against them and procure sensitive personal information about anyone he comes across, one can’t help but wonder how much is truly possible as humans progress further and further with technology. Described by developers as a “smart city”, the setting for watch dogs looks to serve as Aiden Pearce’s weapon of choice. With that kind of power at your fingertips, how could Watch Dogs possibly be anything but epic?

8) If You Ain’t Divekicking, You Ain’t Doin it Right – Sometimes simplicity is the best formula for success, especially when you can be culturally clever at the same time. Divekick is an insider nod to a fighting game community project if there ever was one, and the booth was the appropriate amount of crowded and rowdy to show for it. A parody of one of the most infamous tactics in fighting game, the “dive kick”, the characters featured are also comical reformations of popular dive kick users such as Rufus of SF4 fame and Doctor Doom from Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The concept of this indy title is quite easy to grasp: It’s a game called Divekick, with the main characters named Dive and Kick, and you only have two buttons which are dive and…well you probably guessed it, kick. While it might seem silly at first glance there is an unusual sense of strategy that really begins to shine through which relies pretty much on reading your opponent’s moves and quick reflexes. Being someone who can appreciate an intriguing concept combining a certain style of game and the community that plays it into a giant fun loving poke to itself, I came for the concept and I stayed for the addictive nature.

7) Light the FUSE and Let it Burn – Arguably no game featured at PAX East 2013 has been shrouded in more uncertainty than FUSE. It started off as Overstrike, disappeared after a single trailer, and then out of the blue returns to the world of the living as FUSE. There has not been a whole lot of substance in the voids of that timeline but thankfully Insomniac’s first real exhibition of this title came in the form of a Q&A panel as well as a full blown gameplay demo. While many remained curious about the original idea depicting the more fun-loving and goofy nature of what Overstrike revealed, the demo proved that FUSE was much more mature. Now looking more intense and gritty than the Ratchet and Clank over-the-top style that Insomniac has become well known for, it seems gamers can expect an action-packed co-op experience that will be unlike any other on the market today. You can compare it to other games like Borderlands and Gears of War all you want, but no matter how similar they may be FUSE exudes its own brand of charisma with character specific powers, weapons, and the ability to seamlessly switch between protagonists for a fulfilling single-player experience as well.

6) Hail to the Saints – When you want to talk over the top there are very few games out there that deliver quite like Saints Row. In case you were wondering “How could they possibly get crazier in Saints Row IV?”…well the answer is simple; aliens, superpowers, and dub step guns! Oh, did I mention that the leader of the Saints is also now the president of the United States? If saying all of that didn’t get your “WTF” meter running, then maybe you need to see it all for yourselves. The presentation shown at PAX East was a huge chaotic bundle of mind-blowing fun and that is exactly what we can likely expect from the finished product. Volition has found its home with Deep Silver and it is looking like a match made in heaven; I for one am simply glad this game will continue development.

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