Tag Archives: PAX South

On Triple-Carting

If you’re aware of Monster Hunter, you’re probably also aware of Dauntless, a very similar PC game that’s coming “soon”. Dauntless was on display at PAX South, where I got a chance to try it.

Unfortunately, my first chance was pretty short. Like Monster Hunter, too many defeats for your team means your hunt can come to a premature end. This number seems to be 5, which sounds less punishing than Monster Hunter’s 3, but came extremely quickly. When you lose all of your health in Monster Hunter, you get a nice long while to think about your mistakes as you get sent back to base camp (in a cart, hence, “carting”) and have to run back to the party. Dauntless allows you to revive teammates on the spot, which leads to two problems: you can go down while attempting this revive, and the newly-revived, not-at-full-health teammate can go down again almost immediately. It sounds like getting back into the action faster is an improvement, but it doesn’t go well with the game as currently structured.

It’s not all bad. Areas seem to be a lot more open than Monster Hunter, the hunt area is contiguous instead of divided into subzones. Weapon selection is very limited right now (the demo only had 3 options), but more are on the way. The dodge roll has a lot more invulnerability, so it’s easier to use aggressively. Monster design is excellent, which is probably one of the most important parts.

I think Dauntless has the potential to be a good game, but in a demo setting with absolute beginners it didn’t feel great. I’m curious to see if they stick with this format, or adopt something like Monster Hunter Online, where downs only count against you personally (you get kicked out of the hunt if you go down 3 times). We’ll see what develops.

On San Antonio

As you may or may not be aware, I spent this past weekend at PAX South, with Belghast and Rae. I had a really fun time, and it was my first time seeing both of them in person, despite talking to them over the internet for years. They’re both awesome, and it made for a really fun day to wander around with them on Saturday.

This was the first annual PAX South, so my only point of comparison is PAX East in previous years. Compared to that, this show was a little smaller, and quite a bit more relaxed. Very few of the bigger publishers came at all, and Nintendo was the only representative of the Big 3 (And even then, they were only there to show off their New 3DS). As a result, the biggest booths belonged to Twitch and a pair of companies I’d never heard of before: Motiga and Greybox. Sadly, Greybox’s booth was incredibly crowded the entire time and so I didn’t get to see much of their games (Grey Goo and Dreadnought). Here are my highlights from the show:

A Gigantic Success

Gigantic is my game of the show, despite having to overcome some major obstacles: I knew nothing about it going in, I generally don’t like competitive shooters (I did have a small bit of enjoyment with Tribes a while back), and I’m already invested in a particular MOBA (League of Legends). Knowing nothing about it other than it controlled with WASD, I was seated in a group where 8 people had played before, and only Rae and I had not. After someone else on our team picked the minotaur-looking thing I was initially going to play, I opted for the dragon, and this turned out to be a great choice. Playing was a lot of fun, and it wasn’t until after we finished that I learned that it was Angry Joe on the other side of the table.

It turns out Gigantic isn’t entirely a shooter or a MOBA, but it does take elements from both.I think I have a lot more to say about this one than I’m willing to put in a PAX blurb, so look for that in the near future.


This Feels Familiar

I’m not going to say Brawlhalla is Smash Brothers without Nintendo characters, but it would be hard to complete this paragraph without that statement. It’s a 2D Brawler in the Smash Bros. style with a few differences. For starters, the game revolves around the weapon system, where each character has a small selection of possible weapon pickups that they can get from picking up glowing swords scattered around the battlefield. Gnash, for example, can get either a hammer or a spear. Some characters have shared weapons, but they have a few unique moves with each. Another thing is that all of the characters have three jumps and Mega Man X-style wall sliding/jumping, so recovery is less emphasized and most KOs are going to be via a direct ejection. The primary thing it seems to have over Smash Bros is that it’s on the PC, so we’ll have to see if that’s enough.

Brawlhalla 1

More Strategic Than Pokémon

Moonrise is a game I find interesting, not only for the claims I heard from Jeff Strain at PAX, from whose words I took this section title. In all honestly Moonrise reminds me more of Jade Cocoon than Pokémon, given the limited set of elements and ability for your player character to actually fight. It departs from most creature battling games by being pseudo-real-time, with actions that take certain amounts of time to perform, ATB-style. This does open up the possibility of things like interrupts and forces you to make decisions faster, so we’ll see how it shakes out. It’s already out if you’re in Canada, Sweden, or Denmark and own an iPad. Hopefully it’ll come out elsewhere soon.


Mark of Shame Award

I just feel the need to say that as the closest major Dev, Gearbox should have shown up with something awesome, and they barely came at all. Everything they had to say was part of a mini-panel, and since the panels were in their specific rooms and not on the schedule it was hard to plan around them. Other than the panel, they didn’t have anything really on display. When I even asked about Battleborn, they just told me to look at the website.

The runner-up for this one is Riot Games. I can see why they wouldn’t bring their big booth, but their panel left a lot to be desired. They originally had a pair of panels scheduled for Saturday, one in the afternoon and one in the late evening, with no indication of what they were going to show. By Saturday, the afternoon panel was announced as one on Champion Design, and the late panel was cancelled. The afternoon panel consisted of Ghostcrawler asking four other Riot employees champion design questions, followed by a Q&A. The minimalism of this panel (especially compared to other things Riot’s done in the past) makes me wonder if whatever they had planned on showing just wasn’t ready. I guess we’ll never know.

And the Rest

Hive Jump was on display, and it looks like it’s shaping up to be awesome. I backed it when it was on kickstarter, so that’s always nice to see. Faded is running a kickstarter right now, and looks like it might be cool if they can get a few things worked out. I also played a game called Pixel with some interesting ideas, although I’m not sure if it’s my sort of game.

Overall I found far more good than bad at the show, so I hope that future incarnations of it are successful. With there being 3 options for PAX in this country now, it’s my hope that more people get a chance to experience it. I’m off to go play more Citizens of Earth, so until next time.