This past weekend was PAX East at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. What has become an annual tradition for me and a bunch of my friends, we hopped a bus to Boston from New York to check out this year’s showcased games. Here were some of the highlights from the Saturday I went.
Among the major video games to be demoed this year were Final Fantasy VII Remake for the PS4 and Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch. Like all highly anticipated video games that get featured at PAX East, these two in particular were impossible to line up for and play. Both had long waits and capped lines. Instead, my friend and I had to content ourselves with watching other people play it from outside the line. From where we were standing, FF7 Remake looked gorgeous with smooth gameplay and New Horizons was adorable. It was about what you would expect from these two games already.
Moving further along on the showroom floor were plenty of smaller, indie titles to play, and most were ones neither me or my friend have ever heard of. We did a full assessment of everything before deciding on anything to play. By the time we covered every inch of the floor, it was already time to see the one panel I was interested in which was the New Flavor of Sci-Fi: Creating the Universe of Outriders.
Outriders is a new third-person shooter scheduled to be released by Square Enix and developed by People Can Fly for the 2020 holiday season. The panel had lead narrative designer Syzmon Barchan and lead writer Joshua Rubin discussing what we can expect from the game’s story and characters.
Based on the footage shown, Outriders has the look and feel of Mass Effect combined with Gears of War and maybe a dash of Destiny thrown in. A team of special forces, known as the Outriders, land on an uninhabitable planet with the intention of settling what remains of the human population after earth has been destroyed. However, something known as the Anomaly swoops in and begins decimating everyone who has landed on the planet and transforming a select few, infusing their DNA with new powers. As the playable main character, which can be played as male or female, you and the remaining team who have survived the attack from the Anomaly are left to navigate this new and strange world you still know nothing about.
Outriders looks like it has the potential to be the next big narrative driven sci-fi video game with an interesting world to explore. The environments look varied, strange and beautiful, and both Rubin and Barchan believe they have created a unique and deep story that will hopefully avoid the usual sci-fi tropes.
One bit of good news Rubin and Barchan revealed was that Outriders will be shipped as a complete game with no micro-transactions. The video game does show a lot of promise, and I’ve definitely added Outriders as my games to watch for in 2020.
After the Outriders panel, we spent some time at Console Freeplay to play a round of Overcooked 2, and then returned to the showroom floor to try out some of the other games being demoed. My friend and I played 30XX after my cousin, who was also in Boston to attend the convention, suggested we try it out. Considering that 30XX was more of a platformer type of game, I was naturally terrible at it when me and my friend played the multiplayer mode. The game was fun and the graphics were cool, but probably a game I won’t be picking up myself.
Wanting to take a break from playing, I watched my friend try Foregone. This game reminded me so much of Dead Cells in its look and gameplay. The only difference was that Foregone has you playing as a badass female rather than a male. It piqued my interest significantly in wanting to get this game, but maybe I’ll wait until I actually finish playing Dead Cells on my Nintendo Switch.
Closing out our day of all things gaming, me, my friend, and cousin went to the PC Freeplay area to do a bit of PC gaming. Since my friend and I weren’t PC gamers, my cousin had to show us the ropes and select the game we were going to play as a group. The one we ultimately went with was Ultimate Chicken Horse. It was basically a game of creating the most complicated obstacle course and then seeing if you or any of your friends would be able to get through it to reach the goal. It was also the kind of game to screw over your friends in the best ways possible. Even though the three of us did everything in our power to block each other from reaching the red flag, we really did have fun and laughed a ton at the madness that unfolded in front of our screens. It was really the best way to end a full day of nothing but games.
Until next time PAX East!