THE TOP THREE GAME DEMOS
AT PAX EAST
by Robert Wery
Giant Enemy Crab
A highly stylized take on the classic attackers and defenders shooter genre, Due Process adds a sort of courtside whiteboard style planning phase to the mix. It’s not so much dumbing down the process to make it accessible to more people, instead the planning phase makes it much easier to communicate complex tactics between teammates. Rather than being flamed for not holding the proper angles or missing callouts not everyone has memorized,* Due Process provides procedural (but curated) maps, so creativity and quick thinking carry more weight in a given round.
With a bird’s-eye-view of the map, not only can a team clearly label where to flash or breach, but the drawings retain their form on the ground itself, making executing that strategy that much simpler. Some may say that makes the game too easy, but in my opinion, executing a real plan to reach the objective is so much more satisfying than a win by attrition.
Above all else, my favorite aspect of this game was their choice to make reloading your gun drop your entire clip -- including whatever was in it. Every game nowadays is so forgiving of the habitual reloading that losing two nearly full clips before even starting the round was hilariously refreshing. Though not set to release for some time potentially in 2019, an alpha and beta will precede the launch of the game, so keep an eye out.
*For the record I’m newish to CS:GO myself and after taking some time to learn smokes and angles, it really can be a fun game. That being said, everyone else is walling.
Ashes of Creation
An MMO that strives to stand out from its predecessors, Ashes of Creation is about letting the player shape the world around them. Instead of two warring factions and cities with concrete locations, this MMO’s high traffic hubs, or nodes as they’re called, grow and change architectural designs based on the races of the players and how much experience they gain in a given area.
However, it’s not just a cosmetic thing. Developing a node opens up content like late game dungeons and weapon drops while inversely, a city will decay (and can be destroyed) over time if no one is playing in that area, closing off certain content. To be clear, all of the game’s content is there, you just have to play the game to reach it.
While waiting for a demo to open up, someone asked how they treated leveling up to end game and if there would be grinding. The dev answering questions responded that they feel strongly against having to grind in order to have fun, and that they made a conscious effort to make every level feel fun.
I’ll admit, I’m not a big MMO guy, but it’s safe to say people enjoy the current state of MMOs, obviously. Coupling that base level of fun with the possibility of whatever I want to do having a distinct impact on that very same world sounds like it could keep the game fresh and interesting, and I’m intrigued to see it in action. Plus you can claim your own real estate and decorate a house!
At first glance, Lunar Rooster’s Sky Noon demo booth looked like an elaborate meme based on McCree from Overwatch, but after giving it a try that couldn’t be further from the truth. Think western gunslinging but with the vertical maneuvering rigs from Attack on Titan.
Self dubbed as “Smash bros in the sky,” Sky Noon is a fast paced, run and gun that Obi-Wan Kenobi would feel at home in — it’s all about the high ground. Instead of your shots dealing damage they knock the target away and off the tight-knit airborne maps for the kill. The only way to save yourself is to shoot your grappling hook back on any surface on the map. It’ll pull you right back into the fight, even launch you up to a favorable position if you aim for an edge.
After a couple games I began to feel comfortable grappling my way around the map, and staying on the move proved to be a solid strategy to avoid splash damage at your feet. It was hectic trying to swing around, but quite a lot of fun (and satisfying) to deftly dodge midair and answer back with deadly force.
The 3v3 matches are fast paced slugfests only a few minutes long. It’d be even more fun to play with friends rather than strangers at a convention, but strategy and tactics seemed to be second fiddle to mastering the mechanics of the grapple gun. At the moment it’s Greenlit on Steam, but only says “Coming Soon,” so keep an eye out.
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