Thursday, July 07, 2016

PAX East 2016 Coverage Part 2




Sorry for the long delay, life gets real busy around here!  So on to more PAX East coverage, one of the things I love best about the show is how diverse it is.  I attended panels on games, but also on diversity, tabletop, game design and more.  I also get a chance to check out hardware such as the HTC Vibe and Occulus Rift as well as unconventional playtests like board games.  PAX East is an incredible experience in how involved the attendees are, everyone is happy, cosplayers are everywhere and the vibe is always incredibly positive.  On to the coverage from the show:

PAX East 2016 Preview: Betrayal at House on the Hill – Widow’s Walk Expansion


PAX East is not all about video games or nerd culture; it also has a robust tabletop and roleplaying experience that is easy to lose hours in, if not days, during the conference.  At this year’s show I was able to try the upcoming expansion of the classic game Betrayal at House on the Hill called Widow’s Walk. The original game, released nearly 10 years ago, is still played regularly all around the world. The expansion adds more of everything that is great about the game and expands the experience in a natural way that is appreciated.
The premise of Betrayal at House on the Hill is that you are a group of strangers exploring a creepy house one room at a time. In this tile-based game, as the characters move they add room tiles to the house, making the game unique every time you play it. The base game had a basement, main floor and upper floor; the expansion adds a fourth floor in the form of a roof/attic level, and dumb-waiter icons that allow quick travel between floors. The extra level (which includes a room called the Widow’s Walk, of course) adds a further level of depth to the game, as you can have interactions across four levels of the house.
PAX East 2016 Game Preview: Seven – The Days Long Gone
I love games of all types – racing games, Lego games, first-person shooters, third-person shooters, and RPGs of all types – but the type I have a true weakness for is isometric RPGs. If they are done right I lose myself in those games; I just enjoy the perspective of seeing the world and controlling my character as he/she interacts with everything.
At PAX East I was able to check out a game called Seven – The Days Long Gone, an isometric RPG set far after the Apocalypse, where technology and fantasy meet. The game certainly has its rough edges but there is plenty to like, and there are some ideas I have not seen before in a game like this.
Not much is revealed yet about the lore of Seven, but I do know that the entire game world is a prison complex that you need to navigate. Your character starts as a new prisoner and you need to hit the ground running and figure out whom you can trust and what you need to do to survive and move deeper into the prison world. The game has a striking visual look and feel, the characters are slightly cel-shaded, and the world is a mix of vibrant sci-fi motifs and dilapidated slums and warrens.
PAX East 2016 Preview: Pyre
Supergiant Games is on a roll, their first two games, Bastion and Transistor, were groundbreaking games that had vastly different gameplay styles from each other but both focused on innovative narrative styles and featured music that not only enhanced the experience, but was a necessary part of the games.  Now they are back with their third title Pyre, a stylish adventure/strategy/narrative game that stood out as one of the best titles at the crowded PAX East conference.


Pyre gives an outstanding first impression with it’s stunning art style as soon as you start playing it.  The game oozes personality with the quirky characters introduced right away, and the vibrant color palette is a welcome sight with so many games focusing on gloomy visuals.  The game starts with you near death and found by a group of exiled wanderers; they nurse you back to health and discover that you have the rare ability to read and decipher the lore books they need to compete in the Rites – a secretive competition through which they can find a way to return home.  They welcome you into their travelling wagon, which will be home base and where most customization occurs and head out into the world called the Downside to initiate the Rites and start their journey.

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