It’s time once more for PAX Prime! This year Michael and Lucio are joining the fray but that didn’t stop the first day from being any less hectic. For the next four days we’ll be giving brief overviews of the games we’re seeing at the show. You can also expect a few more in-depth articles here and there and perhaps even a podcast should the mood strike. Stay tuned all weekend to read it all.
ARK: Survival Evolved
The folks at the ARK booth took it pretty well when I called the game “Rust with Dinosaurs”, of course there’s a lot more to their alien/jurassic survival title than that description might indicate, and pretty soon players are going to be enjoying a nice big update that features a snowy biome and a new ape-like creature named Mesopithecus that will be throwing feces left and right (that’s not a joke).
You can actually go have shit thrown at you now as ARK is free to play on Steam all weekend. Some lucky players will also find drops in the game that will get them 50% off its retail price, so if you’ve been hoping and praying for a copy of ARK to appear in your Steam library, your wish might be coming true sooner rather than later.
How do you make someone who already feels bad feel even worse? Well if you’re 11 Bit Studios you add children to your hit game This War Of Mine.
In The Little Ones players who didn’t find the original PC release challenging enough will now be given the option of replacing one of their functional, helpful adults with a small child that they can bond with before they have to eat them for sustenance.
Although the children, new items, and new zones are initially only coming to the consoles versions of the game they will also eventually be landing on the PC verison as well. I was initially concerned about the loss of a mouse but after spending about thirty minutes with the game I found that I actually preferred playing the game with a controller most of the time.
You can expect to be running your war-torn daycare sometime next year.
Homefront: The Revolution
I think the sequel to 2011’s relatively poorly received Homefront might be my biggest surprise of the show. Homefront: The Revolution provides players with a much more open world than the previous game, including a motorcycle with which to traverse it. The developers mentioned that the concept and physics behind the bike were largely influenced by Trials HD, which might sound silly at first but makes perfect sense the first time you drive the bike up some scaffolding in an abandoned factory.
The game demo that I had access to only showed an area marked as a “red zone” where hostile forces will attack on site, but The Revolution will also feature heavily patrolled “yellow” zones as well as friendly “green” zones where you can rest and restock before going back on the offensive against the North Koreans who have very inconveniently invaded America.
Honestly this wasn’t on my radar at all, and now I’m really looking forward to seeing more of it next year.
Through The Woods follows the story of a mother and her son that’s gone missing along the shores of Norway. The game is a smoldering third person horror title that eschews traditional action and jump scares in favor of something more akin to games like Amnesia.
Thanks to an infusion of government funding the game does have to be careful with its rating, meaning excessive violence and gore are out of the question. Instead the team has turned particularly to sound design to make a visceral horror experience. In the demo I narrowly avoided a particularly evil sounding monster as it stalked my character (armed only with a flashlight) through the forest.
It’s still early, but it’ll be interesting to see if Through The Woods can continue to deliver scares when it wraps up development next year.
Magic: The Gathering: Puzzle Quest
As a long time Puzzle Quest fan I couldn’t help but find myself feeling disappointed as I walked away from the Magic: The Gathering infused version of the game. On paper the merging seems so perfect with both games being so heavily focused on mana and the management of spells.
Disappointment began to set in after seeing how much has been stripped out of the Puzzle Quest formula in order to make the game more accessible and properly molded for the F2P model that it will employ. The game’s story mode will essentially amount to a series of battles, there’s no overworld to wander, no shops to purchase equipment from, no teammates to recruit and manage.
The game’s F2P model does offer some hope and the indication is that D3 intends to support and augment the game well after its release this fall, but at the end of the day I thought this felt more like a generic match 3 game than Puzzle Quest.
Rogue Continuum is the story of a rag-tag group of warriors heading back in time to prevent the earth from being destroyed by an alien invasion. There’s just one problem, they aren’t quite sure which aliens did it, probably best to just lay waste to them all.
The game is played co-operatively with a top down perspective and features all the rogue-like trappings such as frequent deaths and limited persistent upgrades. Sound interesting? The game lands on early access September 9th.
You can read Michael’s impressions of the first day here. Stay tuned tomorrow because we’re still scheduled to play a lot of games at this show.