PAX South Day 1 Recap — Days Gone, Great Indie Games, and Bad Pizza
My first day at PAX South has concluded and it was filled with weird smells, terrible pizza, awesome cosplay, and of course, video games!
PAX South has progressively gotten bigger and bigger each year of its existence. It still is nowhere near the size of a PAX East or West: however, the show is beginning to earn some respect as a respectable gaming event. The show consists of terrible smells, awful pizza, and fun video games, of course.
As DualShockers is here at PAX South to cover the event, there were a plethora of awesome titles ranging from tiny two-man dev teams to AAA titles such as Days Gone. It was a long first day but it sure was an exciting one filled with some fun games. So, let’s dive into some that stood out to me at our first day at the show:
I was a bit surprised to see Days Gone at the event. I knew Sony was going to be here at PAX South, but I thought they would be showcasing some smaller indie titles rather than a big title. However, I was happy to see it at the show and finally get my hands on it for the first time.
In my playtime, I was able to choose between two separate demos, one that had a bit of a story element and another that had you fending off a horde of freakers (why can’t zombie games just call them zombies?). I chose the demo with the story element and left my session actually pretty more impressed than what I thought I would. During the demo, I took control of Deacon St. John and had to find a motorcycle part in an abandoned garage surrounded by freakers. Deacon’s buddy drove through to divert the enemy while I snuck in to find the part while taking out enemies when given the chance.
I know that, literally, everyone compares this game to The Last of Us given the game’s setting and atmosphere; from what I played, those comments are justified. And yet, I don’t think that is a bad thing. The tiny snippet of cutscenes I saw were incredibly well-acted, and scavenging/crafting items is right up my wheelhouse.
While many people seem to forget and dismiss Days Gone, I wouldn’t be surprised if this game ends up reviewing very well. But, I could also see it not because the controls were just…off. I have no other way to explain it. Either the TV wasn’t set to the right mode or something else was wrong because the latency in my demo was bad. I will give the other demo a try tomorrow morning to see if it just happened to be at my station.
[UPDATE] Sony Bend privately reached out to let me know that they were having some technical difficulties with some of the TVs which caused the latency. The issue was resolved after my playtime, so, you can dismiss the latency troubles I was having.
Boy, did I get my ass kicked in some Jump Force. To be fair, I am not a fighting game guy, however, props to the exhibitor I played against. On top of not being that into fighting games, except Smash (it is a fighting game!), I am not into anime.
So, I just chose three characters I vaguely recognized and popped into the match. Once again I got my ass kicked. So, let’s not dive into this much to save me the embarrassment! You can try out the game right now in an open beta if you are interested.
As I was walking through the hall, this game immediately grabbed my attention. Imagine a more toned down Hotline Miami. Now, I know what you are thinking: why would somebody want a slower Hotline Miami? Well, let me tell you.
In Police Stories, you must change your playstyle just like you change your playstyle from Call of Duty and Rainbow Six Siege. Hotline Miami has you flying around and taking out enemies at top speeds, whereas in Police Stories, you must breach each room and arrest enemies and save civilians. You must wait on enemies to fire on you before blasting their guts out, or else points will be deducted. If an enemy has fired at you, you can yell at them to surrender. They might give in and turn over their weapon or they might start blasting, so, you must always be on your feet and be ready for whatever might happen.
Police Stories is looking to release sometime in April for Steam and Switch, and I was absolutely sold on it. The title supports local multiplayer which added another layer of fun on top. I cannot wait to get my hands on the full release. I am sure some stories within the game will be great, but I don’t think anything will top this when it comes to cops and video games.
Devolver Digital showed off a few titles and I was able to get my hands on their latest announcement, Katana Zero, and boy can I tell you, this was a damn fun video game. You play as a samurai assassin and use your katana to slice and dice rooms of enemies. The combat is fast and fluid, the movement is fast and fluid, and well…everything about this game is fast and fluid, and I sure do love what I played.
Besides 2D action platforming, I was surprised to find dialogue choices in cutscenes as well. After the first mission, you meet with a therapist to go over your emotions after the mission as well as to discuss some weird dreams. As the therapist asks you questions, there were different options to interrupt him and demand you medications or to go deeper into your emotions. The dialogue options were a surprise to me, however, there was the same funny banter you find from many of Devolver Digital’s other games.
Katama Zero is shaping up to be a must-buy for me from the time that I got my hands on it at PAX South.
If you are at PAX South, do not eat the pizza! In fact, do not buy any food from the concessions. You are better than that! I recommend my favorite restaurant in San Antonio, Pete’s Tako House. It is only a mile away and an Uber would only be a couple bucks. Trust me: besides video games and basketball, food is my passion.
Tunic, created by Finji, was delightful and charming as hell. I do not want to call it a Zelda clone because I don’t want to diminish its own direction. However, if you are a fan of 2D Zelda games, Tunic would be right up your ally. You take control of a small fox and must fend off enemies while traversing through a small mountainous area with caves to explore.
I solved some light puzzles, had some small combat encounters, and walked away thoroughly excited about what is to come from Tunic. This will probably cement itself as one of the best indie titles I will play at PAX.
Shot One is made by a small dev team named Red Moon Workshop and I was able to demo it with the devs at PAX South. Shot One has you matched up against another player in an arena while guarding a goal. The point of the game is simple enough: throw the disk into the other players’ goal to earn a point, and the player with the most points at the end wins.
After a few minutes of playtime, I was flicking the disk at an accelerated rate while simultaneously guarding my net. As the game progressed, the match got faster and faster as my skills improved and I started to get my head around the controls. Next thing I know, I am using special moves to have the disk zigzagging around the arena into the other players net.
Shot One is looking to be a fast sports title that would pair perfectly on the Switch. The simple controls would work excellently on the joy-cons and it seems like a perfect pick up and play game.
There are still plenty of other titles that I got around to and plenty more that I am looking forward to playing tomorrow during PAX South. I am hearing that the Resident Evil 2 demo was fantastic (even though the full game releases next week), Devil May Cry V looks fun as hell, and there are a plethora of smaller games here too that I can dive right into. The only thing I am not looking forward to is the smell of the hall. I mean c’mon. Some of you guys need to shower every once in a while.
PAX South 2019 is happening now in San Antonio, TX through Sunday, January 20. Stay tuned for our other recaps from the show floor and our upcoming previews of the games that we got to play. Just don’t expect any recommendations for the pizza.