PAX Aus: The Games! The Games!

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I went to PAXAus for the gaming experience. So what did I play?

The Expendables

The following games I played in some capacity and didn’t get that much of a thrill out of them. Funnily enough, all were chosen so I could enjoy some gaming time with friends, which just meant that several people didn’t have fun at the same time.

  • Call of Duty: Ghosts – I was playing with a friend on the same team against some bots. Although the difficulty was set to Normal (or whatever the equivalent was) we were slaughtered constantly. It just wasn’t fun.
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel – I’ve never played Borderlands titles before. In my mind they are meant to be a wacky FPS experience with lots of guns and comedy. This game wasn’t that. Sure, the first boss got some chuckles, but the actual shooting was pretty dull. Then we got down to the planet surface with the new low-gravity setting and jumping felt just too ‘floatly’. Not a title (or hell, even a series) I’ll be going back to.
  • Cards Against Humanity – Having heard for so long about how funny a Cards Against Humanity (CAH) game could be, I was bitterly disappointed when actually playing the game. It really seemed to be a game for people who didn’t want to go through the effort of making their own jokes, or be held responsible for saying something offensive. In much the same way a comedian who tries to shock their audience by saying increasingly offensive things grows dull, the most negative thing I can say about CAH is that it ultimately bored me.

Maybe Later

These games were okay to spend a few minutes trying out, but I think I’d need to spend a lot more time before starting to enjoy them.

  • Injustice: Gods Among Us – It’s been a while since I’ve played a fighter like this and my button mashing skills weren’t working for me. I’d have to learn some combos before I approached competency with this game.
  • Killer Instinct – Same situation as Injustice, but I’m a lot less interested in this game versus a superhero title.
  • Bayonetta 2 – Honestly, I’m never buying a Wii U, so this is the most time I’ll spend playing Bayonetta 2. Having played Bayonnetta to completion, I didn’t really get anything new from playing this.
  • Battlegrounds – Although still in development, Battlegrounds was very visible in the Exhibition Hall and a lot of people played it. Once I’d completed a round (and won, earning a t-shirt) the best I could think was that, “it’s only pre-beta, let’s hope they patch the fun in”. It’s not bad, but it isn’t memorable either.
  • Gunscape – This is an FPS level creator that lets you easily create Quake and Doom-style levels … or at least that’s what the description of the title said. I just played a few multiplayer levels. It was okay, but I’ve played a lot of Quake and Doom multiplayer levels in my time, so it didn’t grab me.
  • Oculus Rift – After hearing so much about VR’s ascension in gaming, I wanted to give this a shot. I ended up experiencing the roller coaster demo at Beta Bar (which immediately started a pain behind my eyes) and Vanguard at PAXAus itself (which was interesting but not great). As such, I’m still not a believer.
  • Black Annex – This isometric title reminded me of games I used to play like the Last Ninja or Crusader: No Remorse, which is because Black Annex itself is heavily inspired by the original Syndicate game. To be honest, the demo mostly taught you how to play Black Annex, but not a reason for why I should be playing it. Perhaps the full game has an interesting narrative, but I’d need more time to find the fun here.

Time For Fun

It wasn’t all disappointing games! There were some great titles at PAXAus that I got to experience.

  • Rayman: Legends – Sure, I’ve played and enjoyed Rayman: Legends before, but I was looking for a good multiplayer co-op title. The first few levels of this were exactly what I was looking for.
  • Fight The Dragon – This played like an indie version of Diablo, which is no bad thing. Apparently it is also a construction kit where players can make their own levels. I didn’t do that, but wandering through the wilderness collecting loot was quite fun to do.
  • Knight Squad – With up to 8 players competing at the same time, this overhead maze fighter was very hectic and very fun, even if the bots decimated the human team even on Easy mode! I don’t think I’d ever buy this game, but I’d certainly pick up a spare controller and give it another go at a friends’ place.
  • Johann Sebastian Joust – A lot of fun to watch; very nerve wracking to play! The first round I was in saw me ambushed from behind by someone I didn’t think was even playing while my best round saw me come in second.
  • Dance Central – This had a big glowing dance floor set up to enhance the experience of dancing like a fool in front of strangers. And I wasn’t even drunk.
  • Assault Android Cactus – A twin-stick bullet hell shooter where so much happens on screen it was hard to see what was going on… but still very fun in an ADHD kind of way.
  • Screen Cheat – Remember playing a split-screen FPS and yelling at your opponents to stop looking at your screen? Screen Cheat takes that concept to heart – all players are invisible and the only way you can see where they are is if you look at their screens or see their weapon attack. It took a while to get used to, but very fun when figuring out who shot who and where everyone else is.

Number One

Out of all the games I played at PAXAus, one stood out as the best experience I had there:

  • Crawl – This four player dungeon crawler sees one player as the mortal hero and the other three players as ghosts who can possess monsters and traps. The ghost who lands the killing blow on the mortal hero becomes the new hero. The mortal hero dies a death of a thousand cuts – he’s more powerful than individual monsters, but not the collective damage they’ll do – while the ghost players start out cooperating and end up going all out to deliver that final attack. A very fun game and one were players are friends one minute and foes the next, sometimes in more ways than one!

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