52 Weeks of Gaming: Week 13 (3/25-3/31): PAX East 2019 Adventures

It has been a month since I have written one of these entries. I was planning to write this as soon as I got back from PAX, however I got sick during the last couple days of my trip and spent the last couple of weeks to get healthy. I’ll be spending the next few days to be up to date with these entries.

Sickness aside, I had a blast playing games and attending panels at PAX. In this entry, I will be discussing the games that I tried that stood out to me and the two games that I played before leaving for PAX.

My Friend Pedro: When I was watching the people in front of me play the demo, I was worried that the game’s controls would be awkward. That wasn’t the case. It did take me a while to get used to the controls, but the game was damn fun once I understood the controls. Slowing down time made it easier to pull off some flashy moves to take out enemies. Using both arms and aiming with both guns felt wonky since you can only change the aim of the second gun when your first gun is locked on to a target. I agree that this game feels and looks like a violent ballet.

Katana Zero: This was one of the games that caught my eye on the recent Nindies Direct and was looking forward to try it out. When I played the demo, I liked that there were multiple ways to take out enemies in each room. You can slow down time to deflect bullets with your katana, use an item you picked up and throw it at an enemy, or you can just dodge and slice up the enemy. It would have been interesting if there were multiple ways to get through the obstacles in each room, but that might be in the game at a later part. What surprised me when I played the demo was that the dialogue plays an important role in the game. When the character sees the therapist in between levels, you could choose the impatient option and outright ask for your medicine or you can tell him about your cryptic nightmare and learn about the character you’re playing. The game is very interesting and I definitely will play it once it comes out.

Sayonara Wild Hearts: Even though I didn’t actually play this game at the convention, it caught my eye when I was watching someone play the demo. The game’s presentation is what stood out to me, with a neon visual style and catchy soundtrack. Being an action rhythm game, you do things on the beat of the soundtrack, which is an interesting gameplay concept (just like Crypt of the NecroDancer). I will keep my eye out on this game.

Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled: Thankfully, the game feels like I am playing the original Crash Team Racing, although I wasn’t able to figure out how to drift in the first race. All the set pieces in Sewer Speedway are all there, even the tough shortcut in the first sewer section. The second track I played, which was from Nitro Kart, felt way too long as it took me 7 minutes to finish the race. Knowing that races didn’t take that long in the original CTR, I hope there isn’t a lot of long tracks in the game. Something that I thought about after playing the demo is how Nitro Kart stages will be implemented in adventure mode, if they do that at all.

Young Souls: This game was something that me and my friend randomly played and were surprisingly impressed with the game. It is a 2D action fighter game that has a lot of customization. We were able to choose different weapons and armor which affected how we played the game. For example, I used a big heavy sword that dealt a lot of damage but each attack took a little longer to execute while my friend used a small sword and was able to make quick attacks. The game reminds me of classic beat’em up games, with each stage having rooms with enemies that you had to beat before moving on to the next room. Overall, we had a fun time playing it.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age: I only played a couple of minutes of this game, but I could tell that the gameplay is very different than most Final Fantasy games I have played. You fight enemies in the overworld and fight with auto attacks, which reminded me of how Xenoblade plays. It will be interesting to play when it comes out in late April.

Cyber Shadow: This was probably my most anticipated game to try out at the convention, knowing that it was a new game Yacht Club games published. The stage I played was a typical first stage, teaching me the basics of the game. The gameplay felt like a blend of Ninja Gaiden, Shovel Knight, and the Messenger and the stage select, just like Shovel Knight, looks like something from a retro game. Maybe if I played the other stage, the demo would have left a bigger impression on me. But for now, I need to see more of the game before determining if this is something I should get when it comes out.

Final Fantasy VIII: Before I left for PAX, I had a sudden urge to try Final Fantasy VIII again. I thought the intro cinematic was epic, and the quality was good considering that it was a PS1 game. However, the gameplay made me lose interest in playing the game. You can only use magic by stocking an enemy’s magic and not by naturally learning it. With drawing magic and the Junction mechanic, it was hard to wrap my mind around these concepts. It will definitely be a while before I go back to this game.

Final Fantasy VII: Luckily for me, the game came out the day before I left for PAX so I would be able to play it on my free time during the trip. It surprised me when the intro cinematic looked blurry, but everything else presentation-wise was fine. I like that they included most of the cheats from the Final Fantasy IX port, especially being able to speed up gameplay. Unlike Final Fantasy VIII, it was easy for me to understand the concept of Materia. Playing a few hours of the game, it seems to me that the beginning of the game is linear. The next time I play this, I will officially be past the point where I stopped playing a few years ago.

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