Besides playing tons of Indie Titles at Pax, we here at XBLA Fans also got a chance to check out some awesome AAA games. Here is our top 6 from PAX West that we think everyone should keep on their radar!
Publisher: Techland Publishing
Release Date: TBA (PC has early access September 2018)
About: It seems like a lot of companies are taking on the new genre known as Battle Royale. While each has put a spin on it, Dying Light: Bad Blood uses its main theme of surviving a zombie-infested island. It indeed feels very different from the competition. There are only up to 12 total players. You aren’t on a huge map with multiple drop points in which you parachute down. Instead, you just spawn in various points on a much smaller scale map. The objective is to escape via a helicopter, but the catch is you must first harvest blood samples. Only one can leave, so you must kill all other hopeful survivors. What’s really interesting is that as you kill zombies and get blood samples, you will also level you up making you stronger for the upcoming last man’s stand (if you make it that far). The game will be free with optional in-game items you can buy (likely just cosmetic).
First Impression: Without any real instruction on what to do, I sat down in a seat amongst 11 other gamers. We were all headed into a deathmatch where only one would leave as the victor. With crowds and announcers around, I picked up the controller to do my best to figure out the mechanics as soon as possible. I started out searching for weapons, looking for the closest baseball bat or crowbar I could get my hands on. I quickly realized the zones were infested with zombies. After killing a few and trying to get a blood sample, I was attacked from higher above by a spitting enemy. I tried to ignore him, but like clockwork, every time I was about to finish grabbing the sample his venom damaged and interrupted me. I kept trying, knowing he was so high up it would take too much precious time. I ended up having to go kill him because I was beyond frustrated and didn’t care about winning anymore. Just to seek out and bash his face in. This wasn’t my end though, my end was when I was facing a huge zombie, and someone came behind and beat the last of my health out of me.
I give praise to the game for not just copying PUBG or Fortnite. They made it feel like their own mode. With leveling up and needing to find enough blood samples to escape, I feel like they are building on what could be an exciting and stressful last man standing game. Also, you can’t really beat free!
Release Date: March 8, 2019
About: Devil May Cry has always been about 3rd person action and puzzle solving, using music as a backdrop to its insane battle system. When the intense music starts, you know you’re in for an awesome fight. The series started 18 years ago and has had a few remakes and one reboot called DmC. It has been around 10 years since Devil May Cry 4, and now we have a direct sequel to those events. As you fight evil, you gain massive combos and points while trying to make things stylish looking. Using the same attack won’t help much, so you must put variety into your combo moves.
First Impression: The first time I played Devil May Cry, it had just released, and I was curious. I hadn’t really seen any trailers; it was a random purchase. I took it home and had a friend over while I played. The first fight I came across was one of the most memorable experiences I have had with gaming. I button smashed, but everything looked so clean and impressive while the metal music was blaring. I felt like a total badass, and after I murdered my enemies, the friend I had over was shocked. I have played through the other games too but had yet to relive that experience. Maybe it’s not possible… I got a chance to play the demo at PAX. I didn’t realize the nice people at Capcom would usher me over to play it, as I figured it was just Resident Evil 2 I would be demoing. I picked up the controller and wasn’t surprised that my previous memory was still the best one I had with Devil May Cry, and likely will never be beaten. I didn’t feel awesome playing; I felt clunky and inexperienced. I offered the controller to Cain, and he was faced with an epic looking boss. This part was much more exciting, because, after a fierce battle, both Dante and the boss had almost no health left. With the bosses health bar, Cain spammed the gun attack only to be struck by the enemy one last time. Cain watched the words “game over” splatter across his screen, with a few surprised audience members becoming vocal about how that was so close.
I will give this game another chance, as one can never really judge a full game based on just 10 minutes of playtime. I didn’t play much of DmC and never completed the fourth game, so maybe before release, I will go back and play the previous installments. Sometimes a game just takes a little bit of time to click. Hopefully, DMC 5 can be the game that scratches that nostalgic memory.
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: December 4, 2018
About: Rico returns along with his customary wingsuit and grappling hook. This time, the battle is over Solis, a large sprawling South American world full of different biomes, dynamic extreme weather, and war. There are now distinct biomes in the map each with their own extreme weather conditions including tornados and lightning storms. As always, Just Cause 4 gives players a destructible sandbox full of explosives to show off the games physics engine. Rico will need to take down Gabriela Morales and uncover his Father’s past.
First Impression: Just Cause 4 is the only game on this list we were not able to play hands-on, but the walkthrough we saw looked incredible. We are talking about the best looking version of this game by far. The developer guided playthrough opened up with showing off the new biomes as well as some of the new perks to the grabbling hook. The grappler is now fully customizable allowing for insane gameplay moments like a floating take. Players can now shoot from the grappler different options such as balloons or rocket boosters. Attaching a dozen balloons and a half a dozen rocket boosters can take a tank to the air, but be wary, the full physics engine is still at work. Each shot from the tank will cause it to sway and move back and forth as if it could precipitously fall back down to earth from the pure power of the cannon. We also were able to check out the lightning storm, which is one of the new extreme weather conditions. Watching Rico glide through a storm and get hit by lightning and knocked out of the sky is honestly pretty incredible. Just Cause 4 looks to be a huge step forward for the franchise and continuing to push gameplay in new, exciting, and thankfully insane directions.
Developer: 4A Games
Publisher: Deep Silver
Release Date:February 22, 2019
About: The third installment of the Metro series, Exodus takes place a couple of years after Last Light. This game is a mixture of stealth and survival, with horror elements. It features dynamic weather and day/night changes. The game is fairly open to your decision on how you’d like to handle the enemies. You can go in guns blazing or sneak around to take out the threat. There are also multiple routes you can choose from, and if one is not working for you, then you are able to try another. Besides human enemies, you’ll also be facing some pretty scary looking mutants. The use of bullets as currency is no more, and you can now even craft things. What can go wrong?
First Impression: We had a very intimate look at the game in a hotel room. Not what you’re thinking! The demo looked great, and it was quite polished. As we ventured into the unknown world, we were met with a jungle with multiple paths. It wasn’t an easy game to quickly stealth kill everyone, because you really had to plan out and watch the path of the enemy. One wrong move and everyone was after you, causing you to duck behind any kind of cover and hope you wouldn’t run out of bullets. There were trees that reminded me of the Ewok structures from Star Wars. You can ascend via rope to get to multiple platforms. While you were focused on enemies, while traversing sometimes, there would be scare moments with wolves or other creatures. There were so many that I had to stop and hope they didn’t catch notice of me. The gameplay was solid, and I can’t wait until Exodus releases. It should provide plenty of hours of exploration and mutant surviving.
Developer: Avalanche Studios, id Software
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: June 2019
About: A first-person-shooter with tons of action, Rage 2 is, of course, a sequel to the hit Rage. This is a post-apocalyptic game where you’ll face both humans and mutants. It takes place 30 years after the first one, so expect more advanced weaponry and gadgets. The game was developed with its audience in mind, so many of the mechanics have stayed. Even the studio director Tim Willits from the original is back. What’s even better is it’s a joint team of both Avalanche Studios (Just Cause series) and id Software. Talk about a dream team.
First Impression: I would like to consider myself an experienced Rage player. Back when it released, I was tasked with writing an achievement guide, as well as one for the collectibles. I played for hours, wrote about it for hours, and even let a friend borrow it (whom never returned it). I’ve been waiting for a sequel since I had beaten the first. I loved how fast paced it was, while still having a ton of story content and exploration. Needless to say, when asked by Bethesda what game I wanted to see first, I didn’t hesitate to request Rage 2. After eight long years, I was finally back to my beloved wingstick weapon. Instantly I was attacked, and I fought back with power slams and a rain of bullets. I sped through the demo like a madman, making the game look like I was on easy (I don’t think I was at least). I was having a blast! I would even throw the wingstick without intent to harm with it. I realized quickly once you start throwing it, the enemies try to duck out of the way. So I used it as a combo. I would throw the stick and shotgun them in the face. Yes, Rage is back, and I am excited.
There’s no question that this will be in my top 5 favorite games to release next year. I love what they’ve done with the art style, using neon pinks and bright colors instead of the standard barren wasteland choice. It was my favorite game that I played at PAX. Now that I know the controls feel spot on, I will gladly pre-order whatever special edition they have. Well, almost, there is an amazing looking one that includes a physical copy, but I love my digital. Check it out; it has a talking mutant head you can hang on your wall!
Release Date: January 25, 2019
About:Most of you will have played the original Resident Evil 2, released on PlayStation in 1998. This is not just an HD version thrown at us like the others in the series were. It’s actually rebuilt, not just remastered. The lines to play the demo were long, and for a very good reason. This isn’t just a throwback, and there are many changes that were made.
First Impression: I never bothered playing this at E3. I figured, why try something I had already completed back when it released? Capcom cut us through the line, and I wasn’t going to complain about trying it out. With a bloody looking room to play in, I sat down and put on the provided headset. Being a demo, I didn’t really think I would care about actually surviving. With a little memory of the past, I figured I couldn’t possibly get startled. I entered an area that was pitch black except for the flashlight. “Wait, was this in the last game,” I thought to myself. I found myself soon running for my life, as zombies seemed to come out of nowhere. I shot my precious bullets into them, aiming for the head like every zombie franchise has taught me. A larger zombie with a police uniform came at me, and it was like shooting a bullet sponge. He just kept getting back up! After two full clips, he was finally down. I had been backed into a room and had to fight him. It wasn’t a matter of just running to the door I had entered because I was completely lost in the dark! Well done Capcom.