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PAX West 2016: Day One Recap

By: Scarlette

I’m recovering in my hotel room. After a long day of demos and chatting with devs, and even though it’s my first PAX West, my biggest takeaway from the day is pretty simple – my feet hurt.

That’s a good thing though, right? I had been standing in lines all day so I could stand and play video game demos –  an excellent trade off I’d say. We will be doing detailed reviews and interviews in follow up pieces with the devs and creators for the games that we are mentioning below; but for the time being its just going to be simple recaps. PAX is LOUD, so it makes it very hard for us to be able to do on spot interviews as much as we would love to.

Our first demo of the day was with Ubisoft’s The Werewolf Within

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Werewolves Within VR demo

Honestly, Ultimate Werewolf – or any other game similar- is my all time favorite. I love playing it, so when I saw there was a VR demo for Werewolves Within, I got in line right away. To summarize, Werewolves Within is where you, essentially, and other townspeople get together to try to figure out who is the werewolf that is killing people off. Every villager may or may not have powers to help this process–some hinder it. Its just a whole lot of fun, trying to figure out who’s who. The VR element is great because it makes the game feel much more real, and the graphics are fun and gorgeous to look at. It brings forward a good submergence into the game, and it allows you to be able to play without having the need to have your board game group in the same room. Highly recommended, must go play it. By the way, I was the werewolf in round 2 and nobody even voted for me. #success

We followed up Werewolves Within to check out Behemoth’s latest game, Pit People. Wont go into a lot of detail here because we have an in-depth interview posted for you lot to listen to. Long story made short: Pit People is amazing, the demo is lots of fun, and different from the rest of Behemoth’s library. But because Pit People is much different, and done with excellent execution, it speaks volumes about the dedication and talent that is behind this game. Pit People is not to be missed!

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Behemoth booth- Pit People demo

We visited with the creators of Karma Incarnation–a non-speaking, puzzle solving game. Thats right, there is no talking, and no text. Everything is done visually–which definitely piqued out interest. We went in to play the demo to see how the game handled–and though sometimes I struggled with figuring out what needed to be done right away, I never got entirely stuck. After some tinkering, and adjusting, I was always able to advance. Karma Incarnation is a gorgeous game, all hand drawn, with an entertaining soundtrack.

Heading up to the 6th floor of PAX, we went to go visit Defiant Games and play their Hand of Fate 2 demo. Oh, mercy did I love this demo. I was a huge fan of the original game and thought that was plenty fun, but the dev team for this series really understood its gamers and what and how they could improve their next game installment. It was super exciting speaking with their team, and learning what changed in Hand of Fate 2, what was added (like AI companions) and learning more about the world and characters where Hand of Fate is set. I dont want to get into too much detail because there’s just so much of it, and we will be following up with more content. However, I will say this much: go up and play Hand of Fate 2. Its an amazing game that blends table top elements and classic video game play, into an enjoyable experience with very high replay value.

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I migrated back down to the fourth floor of PAX to get some hands on time with Wrath of Loki and SoulBlight—and there are no regrets.

Wrath of Loki was another VR experience game, but something different from other VR games. I feel like most VR games try very hard to shove the VR element in your face and think the flashier it is the better. But Wrath of Loki takes the “point, click, and find” games and really utilizes the VR elements; and its a great genre to be using virtual reality. You’re looking at a landscape for a long period of time, looking for items or what not, the VR brings whole new level to this because now you’re not just looking at a landscape but you’re surrounded by it. Wrath of Loki paid special attention to detail in their background and in their game and it shows because the player never breaks the feel of the game. They are constantly in the stage, surrounded by the designs and visions of the game. Wrath of Loki might be a simple point and click style game, but the work put into it, is not simple. Wrath of Loki may help redefine the point and click genre by trailblazing into the world of VR.

We didn’t travel far to our next demo: Soulblilght. Oh my god, I dont even know where to start with this one…other than I freaking love this game. Soulblight was recently green lighted on Steam so you can check out a lot of the game info there, but if you like RPGS, dungeon crawlers, and you’re the kind of player who likes to tactically think and manage their characters–you HAVE to check out Soulblight. Soulblight does a lot of things right, where big budget video game companies fail to do: it force its players to actually play the game, instead of forcing their way through the game by button smashing. Soulblight makes it vert clear that when you play a certain type of character, you need to play that character according to it’s traits. if you’re playing a rouge, you need to play like a stealthy rouge–not say you are a rouge, but go into fights like knight. You get bonuses for playing your character according to the traits that you choose at the start of each level, and you get consequences when you play the opposite of your character nature. You can master several different types of weapons while dungeon crawling and fighting off enemies–but be weary, for every fight you get into it, you will have consequences that can carry over. You were stabbed multiple times? Guess what, now you;re bleeding and need to finding something to staunch the blood. Soulblight is an amazing game where the player has to think and pay attention to details on their character that most recent games have ignored or have glossed over. Definitely a game to keep tabs on.

I ended my day with Party Hard Tycoon—but I dont have much to say on that game right now, other than you’re not playing the murderer. I first thought that I would be playing the party murderer again (see: Dead by Daylight, etc), but I was the party planner, setting up the stages for me to commit those murders at. Instead, this is time and resource management game….you play as a party planner. Not a murderer.

Well damn.

Day one at PAX was a success! Can not wait for day 2! And check out some of our photos from Pax down below!

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