Gaming highlights from PAX East 2019.
PAX East is an annual convention that transformed from just a convention for fans of the Penny Arcade Web series into a full blown video games, Tabletop RPG and wargames, and comics expo. Due to this, PAX East has increased and remained popular over the years.
Though PAX has mostly been an indie-centric show, one of the big headliners this year was the reveal of Borderlands 3. The game was revealed at Gearbox Software’s PAX panel, after Randy Pitchford’s cringe inducing magic show and a few video technical difficulties with windows media player. They released a lengthy gameplay trailer for Borderlands 3, and also announced a Game of the Year version of the original Borderlands. Shortly after PAX East, it was revealed that the upcoming looter-shooter will release on September 13 for PS4, Xbox One, and on PC as an Epic Store exclusive. However, I suggest you wait the six months for it to come to Steam.
Yacht Club Games and Devolver Digital also revealed new games in the form of Cyber Shadow, and Heave Ho respectively.
Here are a handful of games I liked at PAX East 2019:
Bloodstained: Ritual of the night
PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch | ArtPlay | TDB 2019
Coming from Koji Igarashi, one of the key developers behind Konami’s Castlevania series, Bloodstained is often seen as a return to form for the classic Metroidvania sub-genre. Taking direct inspiration from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the game that ushered in a big change for the series. Bloodstained places a great focus on exploring its large interconnected world, while gradually collecting new weapons and abilities for your character. Funded on Kickstarter and now being published by 505 Games, the Metroidvania-style action-RPG is heading towards its release later this year, and I can’t wait to give this game a try. I missed out on the original Castlevania and its sequels due to various circumstances.
PC, PS4, Xbox One | Gearbox Software | September 13, 2019
After numerous teases online, Gearbox Software revealed the next entry in their looter-shooter action-RPG series at PAX East 2019. Just like in the previous games, Borderlands 3 will have you take on the role of a vault hunter who battles countless bandits, monsters, and ruthless warlords, all the while collecting tons of new guns. The next game will also see the return of many familiar faces throughout the series’ ten-year history, including Brick, Lilith, and Claptrap.
In Borderlands 3, you’ll play as four new vault hunters; Moze the gunner, Zane the operative, Fl4k the beastmaster, and the new siren character Amara (reminds me of Gilgamesh from the Final Fantasy series). The team of vault hunters will face off against the new antagonists The Calypso Twins, who lead an army known as The Children of the Vault. Along with exploring Pandora once again, you’ll travel to new planets as well, uncovering other vaults hidden throughout the star system.
Shortly after PAX East 2019, it was revealed that Borderlands 3 will release this fall on September 13 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The PC release will be an Epic Store exclusive for the first 6 months, before making its way to Steam sometime in Spring 2020.
Divinity: Fallen Heroes
PC | Larian Studios | TBD
Larian Studios’ elevator pitch for Divinity: Fallen Heroes reads as such: “Divinity meets XCOM.” It’s taking the systems-driven combat of its flagship Original Sin series, and giving it space to breathe, and focusing an entire game around it, using permadeath and progression trees to inform its tactics. From what I have seen played at PAX East, Larian’s trademark difficulty is still present. However, you’ll now be spending time on a seafaring hideout “the lady vengeance” between missions, getting to know your characters before disembarking on close-quarters missions. They’ll probably die, but that’s okay you’ll get brand new fresh faces to put through the gauntlet of missions afterwards.
Hopefully they have better aim than their XCOM contemporaries. I look forward to adding this game to my turn-based strategy collection.
Streets of Rage 4
PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch | GuardCrush Games & DotEmu | TBD
The sudden revival of the Streets of Rage series last year was a welcome surprise. As one of Sega’s most celebrated series from the Genesis era, its return has many long-time fans excited for what’s to come. Developed by DotEmu and Guard Crush Games, the fourth entry introduces some interesting innovations for its core combat, which will reinvigorate returning characters Axel and Blaze. Though there’s no release date set, as of yet. I just hope it’s spaced out. I’ll have no money at the end of this year with The Masterchief Collection, Metro exodus (on Steam), Borderlands 3 (on Steam), the new expansion to Final Fantasy XIV, and many other games.