After an unintentional few weeks hiatus, I am going to disappoint everyone who hated my rambling and wished I was dead with multiple new posts in one night. Somehow I am far away from home in some place called Seattle, and there is some gathering of geeks known as PAX going on. In addition to racking up a large amount of debt on things I don’t need but are really cool such as a Dragon Age Inquisition Stein and scale model of the Normandy, I got to play some games that aren’t out yet and decided to write a short preview article about some of the things I played that I hope to give a proper review to in the future, but whether or not I do these are titles that I would like to generate some interest for. I don’t care that I ended that sentence in a preposition. In the words of a rotund 8 year old wise beyond his years, I do what I want. So without further ado, here are some games I thought were interesting.
Chasm: This is a 2D side scrolling Metroidvania game with a fantasy medieval setting. This game uses randomly generated maps but the rooms are hand drawn. Basically, you will see the same rooms in repeated playthroughs but they will be in a randomly generated order. If you like the Metroidvania style of game, I encourage you check this out when it is released. They are shooting for a release date of “soon” but they are also holding to it will be released when it is done. I played this game at PAX East in 2014, and while progress is slow it is because they are painstakingly ensuring this the most polished game they can make. The controls are very responsive and fluid, and I am told there will be many secrets in the final product. I have been eagerly waiting for this for a while, but I am willing to wait longer because I know they are taking their time to deliver the best product possible.
We Are Chicago: This is meant to be a realistic and serious look at what it is like to grow up in Englewood in the south side of Chicago. This gameplay and narrative is similar to the Telltale games like The Walking Dead or Wolf Among Us. The story is based off of interviews with residents of south and west side neighborhoods, which each decision you make having an impact on your story. For those who may not know, these are the areas of Chicago were there is the highest concentration of gang violence and shootings. Having spent several years working in a maximum security juvenile prison where the majority of the committed persons were from these neighborhoods, this game is very interesting to me on a personal level.
Party Hard: This is what happens you take an Andrew WK song and everything goes horribly wrong. In stark contrast to the somber tone of the game WAC, this is a strategy game where you are trying to sleep and the neighbors are keeping you up with a loud party. Naturally, the solution you come up with is to sneak around the party and kill everyone. There are 11 unique party scenarios, each one with randomly generated elements so you have to constantly change your strategy, with several free DLC content expansions. Stealth and strategy is key in this game. You cannot get caught near a dead body if the cops come, and if you start stabbing people in front of other guests they will gang up on you and beat you. Very dark humor is in this game, and it is incredibly addictive. Unlike WAC which has a very serious tone and is thought provoking, this game is essentially a mass murder simulator and is not meant to be taken seriously at all.
Punch Club: This is from the same publisher as Party Hard and is just as interesting but for completely different reasons. This game is described as being a Rocky simulator. You are a fighter, but you also have to balance your training between things like delivering pizzas and paying rent. Every choice you make has an impact on your future, and I was told that certain choices could cause you to end up in Russia. I was also told this game may or may not feature time travel. Teenage Mutant Ninja Crocodiles with their Racoon master in their sewer dojo can be confirmed as being present, along with numerous other 1980’s references. Definitely something you can sink a ton of time into and be highly entertained by.
Assault Android Cactus: This is a dual thumbstick overhead shooter, think Smash TV except way more chaotic. There are 8 unique characters to pick from each with a different primary and secondary weapon. This game can have up to 4 player co op and it is just a cluster of carnage. Left stick moves your character, right stick aims your gun. You are rewarded for being aggressive in this game, and if you stand still you will die. On co op games all characters share a single battery life bar. If you keep it charged you can die over and over again, but if it goes red it’s game over for everyone. Extremely chaotic but extremely fun.
Oculus Rift/Chronos: My first experience with the Oculus Rift was at PAX East ’14 and I was not impressed. Let me say that first impressions are not always accurate, after this experience I want one yesterday. There was a selection of games to choose from and for those of you who read my reviews would not be surprised to know I played a game called Chronos which is somewhat of a Zeldaesque fantasy adventure game. The headset was comfortable to wear, and the visuals and sound in the game were incredible. Moving my head moved the camera around the room to give a level of immersion that is absent in standard PC and console gaming. I cannot do justice to how awesome this thing is. I was told by the people that there are even more immersive aspects to this thing, but I cannot speak specifically on what they are. However, I can say that this experience destroyed any doubts I have about the Oculus Rift’s potential, and definitely suggest everyone keep an eye on it and if you ever have any opportunity to try it out to do so. Follow me on Twitter