I was at PAX East over the weekend and good times were had by all. MC Wilson has some delightful pajamas, and I may or may not have made out with some of the L4D2 crew. Conjecture abounds.

All of that aside, there were a number of games and tabletop insanity going on at the Boston Convention Center. Here’s some stuff I played and what I thought about it:

Shank: If I was going to pick a game of show, I think this might be it. You’ve got knives, guns, a chainsaw, and some grenades. Your goal is to make a whole bunch of dudes real real dead. That’s pretty much all you need to know going into the game. The combo system is surprisingly deep, and I really hope the game gives you an opportunity to master it. Also, chainsawing dudes is really, really fun.

Breach: Ok, let’s just pretend that the ten minute speech about how this game is “real warfare” didn’t happen. Breach is a team-based multiplayer shooter with persistent experience rewards, fully splodable environments, and some pretty environments. It’s also coming to XBLA for $15. For that price I’ll definitely go for a moderny 1943.

Monday Night Combat: Hey, remember DOTA (Defense of the Ancients)? What if it had a love child with Unreal Tournament? You’d get this thing. Playtime was limited for me, but it looks like something that I’d enjoy. It has a fantastic cartoony feel and plays crazy arcadey. I’ll be interested to see more stuff about this.

Split Second: Did you enjoy Burnout games, but feel they needed more insane explosions? Did you really dislike the open world thing they did in Burnout: Paradise? This may be the title that gets me back into racing games. The precision explosion mechanic has to do a lot to replace a boost system, and it’ll be interesting to see if it can keep doing that through a couple dozen tracks.

Hydro Thunder: I really hope this is a $10 title. The multiplayer legs promise to be pretty strong, with full eight player multiplayer available pretty much any way you can think of. But playing the demo I felt like it really needed a new play mechanic in light of the sheer number of really competent racers out there. Stunts would be nice in this.

Battle Blocks Theater: This is going to be awesome. Think original Mario Bros. (not Super, the original Mario Bros. game) mixed with a little bit of Smash Bros., and all done in that delightful Behemoth style. Gameplay is great and the game modes are really fun. This looks to be a fantastic party game.

D&D 4th Edition stuff: Wizards was also here, and they had the Dark Sun campaign world remastered for 4th Edition for some playtests and short campaign stuff. Dark Sun goes back to 2nd Edition (it was never redone for 3.0/3.5), and is a kind of post-apocalyptic desert style game. I never dug the original as it focused on psionics, which I’ve pretty much universally reviled as a concept in D&D since it existed. The new stuff seems to work, though. Previously the psionics system was tacked on as a wholly separate alternative to the magic system. The new implementation manages to integrate these abilities into the core rules pretty well. Powers in 4th Edition are just powers, no matter where they come from, and it’s much easier to add modification potential to these powers in order to make things go. Our game was a fairly basic series of encounters and skill challenges, and overall the new mechanics and setting felt good. Dark Sun was cool in that it created this crazy, harsh, incredibly dark setting for D&D that was unlike any of the standard fantasy stuff. The game was fun, and I got to go nuts on some dudes with an axe. Which is really all I ask for in a game.

Zombie Dice: You’re a zombie. You roll dice to try and be the first zombie to eat 13 brains without being shotgunned. It’s a Steve Jackson game and as such is pure awesome. This game is out in April. It costs $13.13. You can play it while holding a beer. You should be buying this now. Or pre-ordering. Or something. I don’t know when you read things.

That pretty much does it for my PAX East highlights. What did you see that was awesome?

3 Responses to PAX East Stuff

  1. JD says:

    I creamed my pants over Red Dead Redemption. Sorry, I’m a Rockstar fanboy….

  2. Shermi says:

    My first pax and it was great. I finally got an appreciation for indie games when i meet the guys that actually make these games. I am glad there coming here to Boston for the next two years something to look forward too.

    Next time I have too schedule my time better I missed a lot of the panels. But i officially hate nvidia now after seeing there demonstration of 3d tech there going to make me spend more money on crap i don’t need lol.

  3. MeatMan says:

    I hadn’t seen or heard anything about Shank, so thanks for that. I see it’s going to be released on PC. If it shows up on Steam for a good price, there’s a good chance I’ll get it.

    Also, Monday Night Combat looks fun, but as I’m a PC gamer these days, I hope it ends up on PC (Steam) at some point.

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