PAX is a magical time, where fans, media and developers get to come together and experience everything the gaming industry has to offer. Now that PAX Prime has come and gone, let’s take a look at some of the games that really stood out.
Most Anticipated: Dreadnought
Walking into PAX Prime I had absolutely no idea that Dreadnought even existed. What I did get to see at PAX were a bunch of players blasting each other to bits with enormous capital space ships. Normally players are always stuck playing fighter pilots, but this just might give us a chance to finally play as Admiral Ackbar instead of Wedge Antilles. Dreadnought is still in the very early stages, but if they can put the pieces together correctly this is going to be one to keep on your radar.
Best Technology: Plantronics
With so many headsets on the market it’s really difficult to find one that does something I haven’t seen before. Well Plantronics Rig finally showed me something new, the ability to answer my phone calls. In addition to that handy feature it incorporates 7.1 surround sound and three equalizer profiles. I don’t know how many times I’ve missed important raid information while taking a phone call, or vice versa, but with the Rig that doesn’t have to be an issue anymore.
Best PvP: Nosgoth
Nosgoth is how the PvP in Aliens: Colonial Marines should have been done. It’s difficult for a game to feature two very different, competing races in PvP and stay balanced. Since each match consists of two rounds, one as each race, the game will always remain at least relatively balanced. There are already some nice added touches such as implemented Twitch steaming, controller support, and a backing for competitive gaming. Nosgoth is also about playing as a team and Rambo style strategies are just going to get you picked off and eaten or decapitated; sorry fanboys, this isn’t another Call of Duty.
Most Innovative: Landmark
Landmark initially plays like Minecraft, but players are given the ability to create whatever enters their imagination. I was completely blown away when I saw what a few square blocks could be turned into. Voxels aren’t just for building square things that look like other things…only square. Eventually players are going to have the chance to build their own dungeons, monsters and create their own adventures from scratch. Landmark is going to change the way games are built and played.
Best Indie MMO: Gigantic
I wasn’t really sure what to think when I first saw the invite to play Gigantic in my inbox. It honestly looked like another Monday Night Combat rip off, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Even in its alpha stage infancy, Gigantic looks and plays amazing. It’s part third-person brawler, part MOBA, and part gigantic boss raid. There are already a wide variety of classes from melee tanks to snipers and assassins, and there are a ton more in production. The cel-shaded artistic style is done beautifully and makes Gigantic really shine. I definitely can’t wait for this one to launch!
Best Shooter: Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade
Still in the early phases, Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade is already showing a lot of promise. I got to sit down with Miguel Caron, Head of Studio at Behaviour Interactive, and a number of fans for a private gaming session at the Hilton. As I got to see fans react to the in-game models and character movements I realized how different it is playing a game as a critic as opposed to a fan. Behaviour has recruited creators of the actual Warhammer 40k universe onto their team to make sure every detail is accurate. As far as mechanics go, Eternal Crusade is still very rough around the edges, but the combat and brutal finishing moves are already fulfilling. The team has plans of making a single, persistent world where players can go head to head in 500 vs 500 fights, which would set precedence in the shooter community.
Best MOBA: Heroes of the Storm
I’ve seen a lot of MOBAs in my time and PAX Prime was no exception. There were all kinds of MOBAs in different shapes and sizes, but Heroes of the Storm stood out above all the rest. Not only was it one of the more polished games, with a strong IP backing it, but it was also one of the most unique. In Heroes of the Storm every character is completely unique, and instead of having builds defined by items, players can essentially evolve their hero based on their own play style or what they need for their current match up. They’ve managed to eliminate the need for gold and mana while not making the game feel naked. It feels like Heroes of the Storm isn’t trying to compete with League of Legends or DOTA 2, but instead make its own impact on the genre.
Best Booth: Evolve
There were so many great booths at PAX Prime this year, but it’s hard to argue with a giant glowing Goliath. Not only did Goliath make a showing, but full sized replicas of the hunter weapons were on display. The game stations were also setup so spectators could get a pretty good view of what was going on and a few of the matches were broadcast on the massive screens overhead. Evolve wins the award for best booth for its combination of awesome and functionality.
Best MMO: Landmark
I went into PAX Prime not really knowing a whole lot about Landmark. I was aware that it was made by Sony Online Entertainment and that it’s related to EverQuest Next, but not much more than that. Dave Georgeson, director of development, walked me through Landmark’s development and what I discovered was a game that’s constantly recreating itself; this is a game where players can truly choose what they want to do and how they want to play. Initially Landmark started off as a building game, but now players have constructed PvP arenas and dungeons filled with unique monsters are next on the list. It’s one thing to watch a game evolve based on how the developers want it to, but it’s a completely different thing to watch players literally shape and build their own world.
Best in Show: World of Warships
A lot of people really enjoy World of Tanks. I’m not one of those people, but when I saw World of Warships I was blown away. The game’s currently in alpha, but the detail that’s being put into it is mind blowing. Every single ship was modeled after its historical counterpart down to the ammunition. Just he way water breaks for traveling ships and incoming torpedoes had me memorized. World of Warships focuses more on strategy than raw combat compared to its counterparts and includes an RTS move for carrier pilots to micromanage their fighters and escorts. With the amount of experience Wargaming has with historically accurate war games, there’s no doubt in my mind that World of Warships is going to be impressive.Related: Dreadnought, Evolve, Gigantic, Heroes of the Storm, Indie, Landmark, MMORPG, MOBA, Nosgoth, PAX Prime, PvP, Shooter, Technology, Warhammer 40k Eternal Crusade, World of Warships