PAX East hit Boston this week, and massive throngs of gamers turned out to explore the industry’s latest offerings, indie and mainstream alike. There was the odd game reveal, a plethora of indie offerings, and updates on some previously announced mainstream titles, including such highly anticipated titles as Evolve, Shinji Makami’s The Evil Within, and Telltale Games’ first foray into the Borderlands universe.
Between their critically acclaimed Walking Dead episodes and the generally positive reception of graphic novel adaptation The Wolf Among Us, Telltale Games has been riding high of late. Their next offering, titled Tales from the Borderlands, is set in Gearbox’s Borderlands universe. In keeping with Telltale’s storytelling tradition, Tales from the Borderlands will feature two protagonists (male and female) and gameplay that lies somewhere between the occasionally cut-scene-driven narratives of Tellltale’s previous work and the shooter fundamentals behind the Borderlands series. How the developer juggles these contrasting styles will likely go a long way toward determining the success of the game.
Meanwhile, at Bethesda, classic survival horror fans are in a tizzy over The Evil Within, an offering by the man who helped create the survival horror genre, Shinji Makami. Many feel the game represents a true return to the roots of horror, between the character models, atmosphere, gore, and gameplay represented in trailers and demos to date. However, another contingent is less than thrilled with the game’s representation so far, due especially to its protagonist’s lack of emotiveness and a dearth of gameplay tension due to repetitive and predictive elements.
Over in indie-land, the adventure game Below took the convention by storm, garnering a number of informal Best in Show recommendations. Described by IGN as a cross between Zelda and Dark Souls, Below offers open exploration in a beautifully realized world that goes out of its way to remind you of your insignificance, both in scale and in punishment. Death and discovery will define your path through Below, and if early previews are any indication, you’ll enjoy every masochistic minute of it.
Finally, Turtle Rock Studios, creators of Left 4 Dead, left a serious impression on PAX East with their upcoming game, Evolve - a team-based shooter that pits a team of 4 players against a powerful alien monster. Gameplay reports from the convention portray a shooter with unique game elements that evoke a true sense of partnership in the hunt, offering a fresh take on the genre that has the potential to fundamentally transform multiplayer gaming as we know it.
In other gaming news this week, Hearthstone hits the iPad, PAX goes south, and The Last of Us hits the PS4. Read on!
- Southern gamers, take note. PAX South is debuting next year in San Antonio.
- Four Sided Fantasy is a trippy, mind-bending indie game with a metric ton of nifty gameplay features that could potentially result in a fun, unique, fresh platformer. Unfortunately, we don’t really know what the game’s about yet, but have a look at some of the engine’s capabilities and decide if you want to contribute to its Kickstarter.
- Square Enix has shut down their India-based mobile games studio, which some might construe as an indication of their mobile ambitions going forward.
- Hearthstone, Blizzard’s virtual answer to Magic: The Gathering, is now available for iPad worldwide.
- The Last of Us Remastered, a graphically enhanced version of The Last of Us exclusive to the PS4, will launch on June 20.