PAX Australia 2016 – The Rorke Files
PAX AUS is about so many things, but one common thing always brings us together … gaming! And like the previous years before, we were treated to a wide range of new AAA titles as well as the glorious Indies. Here’s what we checked out:
South Park – The Fractured but whole
Even though this one has been delayed until next year, which, judging from the bugs I encountered is perhaps a good thing, I was still fairly excited to check this title out. For those who played The Stick of Truth then you’ll know exactly what to expect here. This is by no means a bad thing, they’ve kept many elements from their first game which worked brilliantly but polished other areas that needed refining. The movement and humour are all memorable from the previous title but you’ll notice some changes with the combat, which focuses more on positioning than the standard turn-based fighting we saw before.
If you haven’t been keeping up, the game centers the South Park kids in their Super Hero personas. Naturally, Cartman has their movie universe all planned out in what is obviously a referential joke aimed at the Marvel Movie Universe. But this ruffles the feathers of a bunch of the other South Park kids, so naturally, a split occurs between them both and creates factions. The demo easily passed the six laugh test and I expect the rest of the game to be no different. Expect to see this one early in 2017.
Tekken7: Fated Retribution
On the floor were a bunch of Tekken 7 setups with a decent cast of characters available for versus mode and a short snippet of the single player campaign which is looking very cinematic. The story involves Heihachi Mishima and Akuma (from Street Fighter fame) who’s been sent by Heihachi’s Wife, Kazumi (who was thought to have been dead) to kill the infamous tyrant. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding this and word from NAMCO is that this will be the final in the Mishima storyline, and from initial reports, it looks like it’s going out with a bang!
More importantly, the fighting dynamics in this sequel is crisp, polished and still maintains all those things you loved about the Tekken franchise. The surprise twist is having Akuma in the mix who handles exactly like a Street Fighter character. I felt this was always a brave move from the developers as it can potentially throw the whole game into turmoil but somehow they’re making it work and they’re drawing many Street Fighter fans over to the Tekken series as a result! So potentially … this could be the smartest move in recent years. The game is released early 2017 with initial reports of March.
Symphony of the Machine
Virtual Reality is definitely the new hot tech to develop with at the moment and the Indie scene has jumped into this new area with a lot of enthusiasm. Chatting with some people from Stirfire Studios they happily showed me this new title they’ve been working on. Essentially it’s a puzzle style game where you bend and reflect beams of light to meet the current objective. In the demo this involved getting a pot plant, planting a seed and allowing it to grow by manipulating the weather through a series of panels that the light must reach or order to operate.
Very quickly the game gets you thinking and it’s not always obvious what combinations of panel’s effects with others to get the desired result. But when you sit back, have a think, I found myself figuring things out in a logical way. Currently, this is only being developed for the HTC Vive and PSVR due to the games need of the touch controllers. Things may change in the future when Oculus brings out their own touch controllers of course, but this was not confirmed.
From Vlambeer we have Nuclear Throne. A top down twin stick style shooter that is anything but forgiving. After a very short introduction, the game throws you right into the Lion pits and even tosses a boss character at you within the first few levels for good measure. I was lucky enough to have the developer show me a secret level that can be reached very early on, but is incredibly difficult to complete (yeah … lucky). Make no mistake, the game punishes you for almost everything, including ammo resource management, which I unfortunately found out in my first play.
You can choose from a bunch of different characters, all of whom have their own special abilities and if you’ve gathered enough mutation resources you can even upgrade your character with more powerful perks! Nuclear Throne is insanely action packed and never gives you a moment to sit back and take it easy, but dying and learning is simply a part of the process of overcoming the game’s elements, which according to the designer, was on purpose. The game designer said that he wanted the player to have an intrinsic reward system in place where the player felt like they were gaining a skill instead of winning from memorising patterns.
This game is on steam right now and it’s definitely worth a look!
Controlling the elements to overcome your enemies and using stealth over brawn? That’s Wildfire in a nutshell. This 2D platformer has many stand out elements and one of them is controlling things like fire and earth to dynamically interact with everything and everyone around you.
The playable demo at PAX AUS showcased this very well and eased me into understanding exactly how this was all meant to work together. For example, there is a bad guy early on that you need to get past. If you use fire to burn the brush near him, he freaks out and in an attempt to run away, falls off a cliff to his inevitable demise. Then getting burned by said fire, to quickly find out that jumping in the water will heal your burns (if you get there in time).
The game doesn’t stop there of course and the demo gave me a great introduction to how this all works without too much pressure. Which of course, only left me wanting more. The game is due for release sometime next year, which is great news! You can follow this project here
If you haven’t already, please go and watch this awesome trailer for this new game (Check below). It’s ok, go ahead I’ll wait. OK caught up? Good. Forts is one of those marvelous concepts brought into the video game world, with a vibe of chess meets tower defence and a mix of Worms, Forts lets you build your own personalised tower with a mix of defensive and offensive options. Your only goal is taking out your opponent’s tower before they take out yours.
The concept, whilst sounding simple, becomes incredibly complex very quickly. There are a number of dynamics that, when combined together, can out strategize and outwit your opponent before they know what hit them. The game has been designed specifically with Multiplayer in mind but will launch with a narrative driven single player campaign as well as easing the player into the games mechanics to show them exactly how this game is meant to work. I’ve already added this one to my wish list on STEAM and is set to launch early 2017, get on it!
I nearly overlooked this title. This is one of those games where everyone at the convention was talking about and word eventually go to me, so I immediately booked in a session. So the concept is fairly simple, it’s a VR game where instead of hands, you have handguns, and you do everything with them. From getting Mummy’s attention as a Baby to doing your day job (hey, those holes won’t put themselves in those donuts!) Add to this a hilariously clichéd 1950’s American theme and you’ve got yourself an enjoyable mix of humor and fun gameplay!
The game plays on rails, which is perfect for the VR format, and I’m sure those waiting in line behind me could only look strangely in my direction as I laughed my head off and shot up a kitchen with my two pistols. Why? Because I could, that’s why!
This one is only four months in for its development and if they can maintain the humor and fun, this one is something I could recommend to anyone with a VR setup. Check out more here:
And sadly that’s it from me, there was so much more there I can’t even begin to describe. If it’s one problem PAX AUS has, it’s that there’s too much there that you simply can’t get through in three days. It’s a good problem to have.