Gonner was hands down my favorite game at PAX East 2016

A roguelike platformer where you’re trying to find trinkets to cheer up your only friend — that just happens to be a giant, land-bound whale named Sally — was my favorite game at PAX East this year. Are you surprised? How can something with such a cute premise not win over my heart?

Playing as Ikk, you’ll be running through procedurally-generated levels that are seemingly drawn on the screen as you move, meaning the level in all directions will be invisible until you get closer to it. Think of the ‘fog of war’ effect found in most RTS games, only it is pitch black aside from enemies. This works well with the odd, minimalist art style that feels like a mix of a The Behemoth and Tim Burton, only with fewer colors on screen at once. Beautiful and wholly original to say the least.

Check out my full impressions here.

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Ghost Song blew away my expectations, made me die a lot

I have to be honest, I’ve been a skeptic of Ghost Song since it was announced and then crowdfunded. People around the internet have reacted as if it weas God’s gift to gamers and the second coming of Samus, and I just thought it looked dull and mediocre at best.

Well, I’m here to admit, for the first time ever, I was wrong. Dead wrong. I’m prepared to be stripped naked and paraded through the streets behind a nun dressed as Ridley with a ‘shame bell’ while you all throw rocks at me. Ghost Song is shaping up to be fantastic.

Check out my full impressions here.

Dead and Buried was easily the best shooter at PAX East this year

Raw Data wasn’t the only shooter I played in virtual reality at PAX East, nor was it the best. That title belongs to the Oculus Rift exclusive Dead and Buried, a first-person cowboy shootout simulator.

The Oculus area at the expo was divided into four separate rooms, one for each player taking part in the demo. Two teams of two players each battled to be the first to get 15 kills by blasting away at each other with the yet-to-be-released Oculus Touch controllers, all while physically dodging bullets and hiding behind objects in the environment via the Rift’s head-tracking ability.

Read my full impressions with my first Oculus Rift game using the Touch controllers here.

Raw Data made me feel like Will Smith in I, Robot

Robots are sentient and coming at you and your co-op partner from every direction. You must work together to kill them all with a plethora of guns and a badass sword that can reflect projectiles. No, it isn’t I, Robot 2: Bad Boys, it’s Raw Data, a VR-exclusive first person shooter.

Before arriving at PAX East, I asked around the internet to see what VR games I needed to check out at the show and Raw Data came highly suggested. But does it live up to the hype?

Check out my full preview of my first ever HTC Vive game.

Is it fun to beat protesters and molotov the police in Riot – Civil Unrest?

I’ve had my eye on Riot – Civil Unreset since it was announced in 2013 via a crowdfunding campaign. I’m a big fan of politics – social and otherwise – and can’t think of a single other game that lets players take a somewhat realistic look at the mob mentality of riots.

During my brief time with the game I chose to play as the police, which consists of a variety of units like the ones you’d find in an RTS (which makes sense as the game controls similarly to your modern ones).

Check out my full hands-on impressions here.

I got my dick destroyed in Outlast 2

The original Outlast had a nice combination of jump scares and actual horror; someone would pop out and scare you, before giving chase as you ran away and hid from them. You’d hear footsteps, breathing, and see enemies stand inches away from your hiding spot. It was terrifying.

While there are things that lead me to believe the same kind of tense moments will exist in Outlast 2 — such as lockers to hide in — I did not experience any of these in the demo I played today at PAX East. Instead, most of my time was spent walking through linear pathways waiting for a cheap jump scare to happen and outstay its welcome before fumbling around trying to figure out which door I would open next to escape.

Check out my full preview of Outlast 2 from PAX East here.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends is a brown, clunky, cash-in of a card game

Bethesda seems to be on a streak of trying to cash-in on already saturated markets. First it was The Elders Scrolls Online, and now it’s the Hearthstone-like card game, The Elder Scrolls: Legends. Publishers can’t help but see the amount of money that World of Warcraft and Hearthstone rake in and not want a piece of the pie, but they don’t understand that everyone has already had their fill.

Legends had its first gameplay revealed just before PAX East 2016 with the announcement of a beta, and I was excited. I love The Elder Scrolls, and I love Hearthstone, so maybe this would be my new addiction?

Sad to report, that most likely won’t be the case.

Read my full impressions of my hands-on PAX East preview here.

Will Battleborn be the next Shadowrun?

At the beginning of 2016, I listed Battleborn as one of my most anticipated titles (as well as Fable Legends, RIP) and after playing the open beta I can easily say it still is.

If you’re not familiar, Battleborn is the game Gearbox Software founder Randy Pitchford described as “FPS; hobby-grade coop campaign; genre-blended, multi-mode competitive e-sports; meta-growth, choice + epic Battleborn Heroes!” What that bukkake of buzzwords was supposed to tell us, I’ll never know. What I do know is that this is a hero-based multiplayer first-person shooter that is one partDestiny, one part Borderlands, and one part MOBA; with two modes that feel like totally different games.

Read my full impressions of the Battleborn beta here.

Preview: Enter the Gungeon

Fans of Nuclear Throne and The Binding of Isaac will love Enter the Gungeon

Since Nuclear Throne and The Binding of Isaac hit Steam, there have been numerous clones. To call Enter the Gungeon one would be unfair. While there are many similarities between them, it has enough variety to stand alongside those titles as a leader, instead of a follower.

If you’re the kind of person who loves long sessions across multiple runs of a game, you’re going to love entering the Gungeon.

Read my full preview.

Preview: Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes is the Hearthstone mashup I didn’t know I wanted

Popcap has continuously surprised us with games we didn’t even know we wanted, such as the Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare games, and the ever-popular Pachinko-likePeggle; their latest title Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes continues that trend by combining the formula of the original PvZ game with a hero-based card game, ala Hearthstone.

Click here to read the full preview!