PCG Resident gamer guru James Torrisi (aka GelatiMAN) gives us his impressions of the PC fare at PAX Melbourne 2014.
From Friday 31st October 2014
PCgamers headed to the Melbourne Convention Centre to mingle with gaming enthusiasts and industry figures in a quest to savor the upcoming games across the AAA and indie space.
World of Tanks
Wargaming kicked us off with a keynote featuring a couple of charismatic MC’s and a speech from their Marketing Manager, Belarus based Max Chuvalov. They went on to showcase the hugely popular World of Tanks, and provide a sneak peak of the yet to be released World of Warships which looks very impressive.
It dawned on me just how big World of Tanks is when a random kid picked from the audience was able to recite correctly the tank with the biggest caliber gun – out of the 300 odd tanks currently available in the game!
Wargaming’s Max Chuvalov kicks off proceedings. Cool name eh?
World of Warships is in Alpha and looking sweeeeet.
Follow World of Warships here along with the millions of other hooked peeps!
League of Legends
League of Legends featured heavily with an impressive big-screen stage setup hosting the Oceania Regional Finals. Of all the games at PAX, LOL (is that really the acronym) had the biggest following and seemed to generate the most energy from the fans. It was packed whenever there was activity on the stand.
LOL fans amass to watch the carnage
The Big Guys / AAA Titles
Of the big names, Farcry 4, Assasin’s Creed: Unity, NBA 2K15 and anything Oculus related generated a lot of interest. It was standing room only at the Ubisoft booth and the queue to get hands on with Oculus was more than 30 long before the doors had even opened to the general public. I for one am beside myself with excitement over this one, Farcry 3 was and still is one of the best games I have ever played.
Farcry 4 – We love Sandbox games here at PCG
Bethesda showcased their anticipated 2015 release – Battlecry, an online team based battler which looks interesting. Again, there was a huge following for Bethesda and the queues would have tested the commitment of many. 2K games had a big showing of Borderlands – the presequel, which will appeal to fans of the previous games in the series. The demo systems were getting a pounding every time we went past.
Overall in the AAA space there was some interesting titles but nothing especially new or innovative.
A mean looking dudette and dude. Anyone recognize them? They look consoley.
Indie Games FTW!
We headed over to the Indie pavilion to look at the little blokes, and to be honest that’s probably where we were found ourselves the most pleasantly surprised. These booths were mostly understated but the developers were there to answer questions and their demos were generally pretty good with a few real stand outs. My fellow writer Phil handed me the controls and said “James, despite having the biggest pile of shame known to mankind on your Steam account, you have earnt the right to put these games through their paces.” Glad he did because I had a blast!
First up was Influent, coming to us from the San Fran based Rob Howland and Three Flip Studios. Rob was onsite to help explain the game to me and came across as a very cool guy with some great ideas.
The game works by putting you in a 3D world with a control mechanism you will be familiar with, WSAD with Mouse Look. As you explore the world and click on objects, however mundane, the game will recite the object name to you in your language of choice. In my case it was Mandarin. After collecting 10 words you are presented with a time challenge whereby you need to pick the objects out as the words are presented back to you. This type of visual based learning is very effective, and on my first go I got 70% of words correct, some of which I remember now!
Here I’m trying to get to grips with Mandarin, hell, I have enough trouble with English!
If you don’t feel like walking around selecting objects the traditional way, the game lets you take a small model plane around and shoot the objects with lasers which adds a fun element to the game!
If you suck at Mandarin, maybe you don’t suck at being a pilot – or do you?
Overall I was impressed at how fun this made learning a new language.
Check it out here on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/274980/
Next up it was over to East Asia Softs display of their new action RPG survival game – Lost Sea. We spoke to Developer Aidan Price who explained the game and some of the benefits of using the Unity engine for developing.
This game had its hooks in me quickly, the premise is that your ship is wrecked on an island, and to get off it you need to find materials to repair it and hire some crew to go with it. Sounds simple, but the problem is the island is full of nasty monsters. The game is also randomly generated in that no island is the same as another so there is always a surprise factor.
Crack open crates for supplies!
I had fun hacking and slashing monsters and being able to deploy powerful totems with some direct damage and DOT (Damage over Time) attributes was an interesting game mechanic which introduced a Diablo action-RPG feel.
The game will be released for PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2015. Definitely one to watch.
Follow it here: http://www.eastasiasoft.com/index.php/press/press-releases/113 and vote for it on Steam Greenlight.
Totems have cool powers
Don’t be deceived by the cutesy graphics, when the monsters come out at night it’s scary!
3 phase Interactive are a Melbourne based Indie software house. Their first release, Stunt Star was a success on a plethora of platforms, now they have turned their attention to Defect, an action game combining real time strategy elements and an interesting back story.
Basically, your crew are a bunch of meanies and mutiny against you kicking you off your own ship. It’s now up to you to build A BIGGER ship to go and hunt down the meanies. And then you get kicked off that ship. And so the cycle of mutiny and retribution continues!
David Bowie makes a return as Ziggy Stardust in Defect
The ship building mechanic looks very interesting and developers Chris Burns and Paul Baker tells us there are a ridiculous amount of combinations and permutations for creating ships, each with their own advantages and tradeoffs. For example, putting bigger guns on your ship means you need to make it bigger, with an obvious hit to power. As developers they are constantly grappling with balance, if they can nail that aspect they may have a gem on their hands.
The guys also use a Unity development platform and the game looks very polished with some impressive lens flaring visual effects. The game worlds are currently linear but they may be procedurally generated in future with an update.
One of the main strengths of this game and one here we are very excited about at PCG is the ability to design your ship on a mobile platform such as an IPad, for later import into the main game. Perfect for the train and Melbourne’s flaky public transport system!
Note to the right of shot someone designing a big-arse ship to import into the game the blow up another big-arse ship
Follow the progress of Defect here: http://sdkgame.com/
Uppercut games were formed by some of the guys that bought us two of our favourites here at PCG – Bioshock and XCOM so they have a rich pedigree, and it shows in the quality of their imminent release – Submerged which looks very impressive.
This one had a Tomb Raider feel to it but the completely foreign and perhaps fantasy setting made it very compelling (a clock tower in a tropical setting certainly unusual). The graphics speak for themselves and the musical score was very moody, setting the scene well.
The game starts you off with the task of finding somewhere safe to put your sick brother, I quickly headed into the clock tower and gently placed him on a makeshift bed. Next, to find some supplies. I scaled up the clock tower and had a look with a telescope for some supplies, eventually finding some. Now to plot a way over there.
I like these types of survival sandbox games, Farcry, Stalker, Tomb Raider etc. and am very keen to see how this one turns out.
Check out the trailer below and follow development progress here http://www.uppercut-games.com/submerged/
Stared at the eye candy on the title screen for waaay too long!
Just had to include this screenshot, this game is better looking than most.
The final title that really grabbed our attention was from 5Lives Studios called Satellite Reign. This is an openworld cyberpunk class based strategy game with some really imersive lighting effects and intuitive viewing angles. The gameplay allows you to choose your style based on your team selection so it can be a game of stealth, action and carnage or perhaps propaganda and revolution. When we walked passed it, the gameplay on the screen took us back to the classic from Bullfrog ‘Syndicate” – which makes sense because Satellite Reign is from the creator of Syndicate Wars. We’ll be watching this one closely because it looked pretty slick and generated warm fuzzy feelings of nostalgia from the 90’s for a few of us old enough to remember. This is also a kickstarter title and you can get on board at http://satellitereign.com/
See the pre-alpha play through you tube video below
All up, PAX Melbourne 2014 was a fantastic event and a great opportunity tro interact and support the developers who strive to entertain us (and earn a living at the same time). We were grateful for their time and patience, especially the Indie guys who were so proud and passionate about their work. See you next year guys!