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Published on February 1st, 2016 | by Aaron Bernardino


PAX South: 2016

The first thing I would like to talk about is one of the games that really caught my attention and then I will do an overview of what I saw at PAX South.

Dead Star from Armature
Dead Star plays like a Twin Stick shooter in space with lite moba elements.

Every match starts with the player choosing 3 different ships from four different alien races. Each race has 3 different ships. When the match begins everyone starts at the same level and as they gain experience in the match they are playing, they get to choose their upgrade path to have a ship build that can be very different than an enemy that has the same ship. Creative ship builds can lead to some very interesting matches.
I predict this game is going to be huge on the competitive gaming scene and game streamers are going to want invest their skills in this game because when it this game starts taking off, it’s going to set a new bar in competitive e-sports. Oh yeah, did I mention its 10V10.

There is no pay to win, competitive players will be going for glory as well as earning collectible players portraits and ship skins. Future DLC will include additional races. When a new race comes out, it will have 3 ships and I believe you will be able to test the ships out in a practice mode. This may not be the best way to know if you are going to love the ship or not, but at least you’ll get a general feel for the ship’s speed, attack range among other basics.
I had a chance to play the beta at home before seeing people that actually know what they’re doing play it. I witnessed Dead Star developer Tom Ivey playing in a 5V5 match and it’s really interesting to watch someone who has infinitely more experience competing against anyone who has never played this game before. Just watching him navigate menus and the in game emote system that allows you to communicate with other players without using game chat was something to behold. Everything he did was lightning quick. I literally blinked an eye and missed 2 things he did.

The last thing I’ll say about this game is preorder now if you think you are interested in it.

Pre-ordering now will get you into the beta so you can get good at the game before all of the players that wait until the game is released to jump in. I’ll be playing this on PS4 but Steam players will also be in the same matches so there will be plenty of competition out there.
As far as my overview goes, I would like to say the overall feel I get is charmed. It seems like so many games on the exhibitor floor are very charming. I’ve known about a lot of these indie games for a while and have been eagerly anticipating them to come out but surprisingly there are other games that look very interesting that I didn’t know about. Even crazier is one of them was already out and the developer was there to talk about the sequel.

Planet Freedom is one of the games I saw played on the big screen at the twitch booth and one of the playable characters that is being released is free DLC that was on demo at their booth.
Planet Freedom looks extremely influenced by Sonic the hedgehog but one of the game’s rep’s pointed out that the developer also wanted to add elements from Mega Man and Gunstar Heroes. This game is currently available on steam and Wii U. It will be one of the first things I buy when I get home.
Action RPG game called “Stories The Path of Destinies” has quickly become one of my more anticipated games of 2016. Coming out on PS4 this game has amazing visuals because of its beautiful art style. Actually my words cannot do this game justice; you need to see this game with your own eyes. Just thinking about this game reminds me I need to replenish funds in my PSN wallet. Unfortunately I haven’t seen this game up for pre-order yet, otherwise they would already have my money.

Admittedly I am biased when it comes to this next game because I have been playing it for almost a year now. Vain Glory is a touch screen 3V3 moba available on mobile devices. I personally play on iPhone’s and iPad’s however it is possible to play on Android devices and even kindle fires if I am to believe what I heard in the crowded PAX convention center.

The reason the Vain Glory makers (Super Evil Megacorp) attended PAX was to show off the new character releasing in the next update coming in the next one to two weeks.
The Character is named Ozo and he reminds me a lot of Goku as in he looks like the monkey king from the journey to the west story.
He is a very fitting character for 2016, the year of the monkey in the Chinese calendar. Which is why the developer chose him as their next calendar. The truth is I am pretty bad at this game with very character except for Taka. My Taka skills are passable if I have a good supporter and lane player on my team. Actually I would have never played because I don’t like playing online games for a few different reasons and I’ve never played a moba before. The only reason I went out on a limb and tried this game was to play with my friend Alex that wanted to get dedicated players to play in his team consistently. I never planned on getting addicted but that is exactly what happened and I have no regrets.
The awesome thing about Vain Glory is that you never have to spend any money and if you do spend money you won’t have any game play advantage. The game is absolutely free to play with no Micro transactions. I’ve spent money on the game to unlock character skins that I was too lazy to earn. The main reason I did so was to support the game makers but also because that Shiro Kage take in all white reminded me a Strider Hyru and looked awesome.

In my opinion Devolver Digital is the publisher that has the largest number of indie games that I look forward too. At any given time I can name a half dozen games they have coming out that I am confident I would recommend to my friends. Part of the reason for that is because some of those games have been “Coming soon to PS4” for longer than what “soon” implies, even by gaming standards. Yeah BroForce, I’m looking at you. Where’s your buddy Not A Hero? Anyway… I don’t willingly play games on steam but Devolver has so many great looking games it makes it really difficult to justify my no steam games policy. though I don’t have a windows based computer so that’s a thing. Do you know what else is a thing?

Love at first sight, which is how I feel about Enter the Gungeon. The game was being shown at PAX and it seemed to be one of the most talked about games at the convention. I remember seeing it being played on IGN’s first look feature a few months back and that’s when I knew I loved this game. I’ve more recently learned that my love is going to turn to hate as this game gets very difficult. Enter the Gungeon is pretty much done, right now; it’s just getting extra polish. They may tweak the difficulty if possible but that’s just speculation on my part. I have to imagine a game this charming and gorgeous needs to be seen, so it would make sense they don’t want it to be impossible. Either way it looks extremely fun and very challenging.

I’m mostly done speaking about games so I wanted to share something I learned at PAX. Like most people I thought video game characters were just fictitious beings that only existed in the digital world and sometimes drug induced fever dreams. I was proven wrong when out of nowhere a pipe bursts near the Falcon Theater and they sent two plumbers. It turns out those plumbers were just regular guys doing their job, but standing right behind them was at least 5 people who jumped right out of Mario Tennis. The part I’m not joking about is that I learned I haven’t seen all there is to see from the cosplay community. I was both surprised and impressed with some of the cosplay I saw at PAX. I really like the cosplay team ups including Jimmy and Billy lee from Double Dragon, multiple street fighter characters, and the previously mentioned Mario Tennis squad. Seeing Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China was really cool, I wish he had his enforcers with him and maybe a Jack Burton if done well.

Song of the deep was not what I expected after seeing the teaser trailer. I even asked someone that I knew watched the trailer if he could tell that it will be a metroidvania game. He originally didn’t know but he was immediately more interested in the game. Then we both got a chance to play it behind closed doors. From what we played there were some cool puzzles and the game physics are done very well. Truthfully I don’t know that I would have bought this game based off of the trailer they released. Having played the game and knowing it was inspired by Super Metroid and the developers stating they have always wanted to make a meteoroidvania style game, I now have no doubt in my mind that I want this game in my collection.

The views expressed by Aaron Bernardino are not a reflection of SKNR or by any sane person. So here is my unofficial top 10 list off the top of my head.

1.Alice in Tokyo wonderland
4.Freedom planet new playable character
5.Just Shapes and Beats
6.Song of the Deep
7.Stories the path of destiny
8.Dead Star
9.Enter The Gungeon
10.Final Approach played on Both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive
I bet you didn’t see that coming. If anyone asks me what the coolest thing I saw at PAX was, there will be no hesitation because I was thoroughly impressed with Final Approach. I will be doing a video discussion about the experience because it seems warranted for a proper discussion about this experience. Look forward to that soon as I team up with Ryan Guerra for the video.

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