Post PAX Round-up : Prime 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

PAX Prime 2015 is over. Our four days in Seattle brought us into contact with a great deal of interesting games and many of their developers. It was a strong year for indie titles and tabletop games, but a few AAA games shone through to capture our attention. We have a lot of content to unload over the next couple weeks, as well as a few surprises. Before we go in-depth with any of the games we played and the things we saw, here are some of my highlights.

Westport Independent: Tucked into the corner of the Indie MEGABOOTH, was this game from Swedish duo Double Zero One Zero. Described to us as a censorship simulator, Westport Independent puts players in the role of a newspaper editor in a country on the brink of revolution. A new bill from the oppressive government will dismantle the independent press in a matter of weeks. Players are given a series of news stories to fill the paper with. The articles can be edited to change the slant, favoring the government, the rebels or neither. Tell the truth or tell your truth, but either way, Westport Independent is an important lesson in the fallacy of absolutes.

Battleborn: The latest game from Gearbox Software carved out a large section of the show floor this year. What I had expected to be a MOBA-like game played more like Borderlands. I enjoyed my time with Battleborn, but it still has a bit of polish and balancing to work out. In the two sessions we played, we found the ranged characters like Marquis, the robotic sniper were a perfect fit, while the melee based classes had a decidedly more difficult time with the enemies. We'll elaborate more in our full article.

Minecraft: Story Mode: By now you've probably heard the buzz about Telltale's demo at PAX. Job Stauffer was kind enough to take some time to talk with us after the demo and we'll have more of that interview soon. For now, all you need to know is that I was absolutely blown away by the depth and momentum in the story, even in the short scenes we played. Telltale is well poised to deliver another fantastic story.

Bedlam: I went to may appointment with Versus Evil expecting to play Banner Saga 2, but wound up spending an hour with Bedlam instead. A delicious blend of FTL, Gamma World, XCOM, and Mad Max, Bedlam sends players on a journey through a dangerous wasteland in a massive vehicle called a Dozer. Random encounters range from friendly traders, to explosive (literally) lunatics, to ambushes set up by acid spewing mutants. It was a complete surprise and I couldn't be happier about it.