PAX East was such a blast and we really had a great time meeting so many people and getting to try all of these awesome games, so with that in mind, we knew we had to go big for our last day. From Focus Entertainment to Brace Yourself Games and XSEED, we got to try and check out a plethora of games that we can't wait for release!
This article is a bit late since I got sick the day after PAX ended. Now that I am fully recovered, I can really dig deep and finish out our roundup of the games we checked out on our final day!
We started off the day really strong with The Lord of the Rings: Gollum over at Daedalic Entertainment's booth. While I wanted to play the game, my colleague and our COO AJ has been a Lord of the Rings fan so he was the one who played the game while I talked to a Daedalic representative!
Set between the end of The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies and before The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, I was initially skeptical of yet another adaptation of the source material, but I was pleasantly surprised. After speaking with the Head of Communications behind the project, Bernd Berheide, who expressed his love for the books and even criticized the movies for being too campy (a sentiment I share as an avid fan of the series, minus the fan fiction), I had high hopes for the game.
The demo I played revealed Gollum to be a story-heavy stealth-platformer that follows the titular character's journey from the depths of the Misty Mountains to Mordor. While the demo was still in the early stages, the mechanics of the game were sound and I encountered no major bugs that detracted from my enjoyment of the game. It's difficult to strike the right balance in stealth games, but the Orcs' detection system in Gollum felt fair without being overly punishing. If you make too much noise or are in their line of sight, the Orcs' detection vision bar fills up quickly, but this is necessary to elevate the stakes. The real highlight of the game, however, is its story, which is exciting for anyone familiar with the background of where the game takes place.Author Teague - SteamDeckHQ COO
I watched a bit of the gameplay as I was discussing the game with Bernd and it honestly looks fantastic. Talking to him gave me a lot of faith in the story they are telling and how true it will be to the series. Gollum looked gorgeous and the stealth gameplay seemed to be quite refined, giving you the chance to take full advantage of Gollum's abilities. From what I saw and heard, I believe the game will be able to run and play at 30 FPS while looking great!
Airship Syndicate/Digital Extremes
Next, we went on over to a meeting room hosted by the developers of Wayfinder. Wayfinder is a MMO-like game where you and your team will take on dungeons and enemies as you explore the dangerous world. All 3 of the SteamDeckHQ team got to sit down and play together, which was a blast! After choosing our characters, we got to check out a boss fight and how the randomized dungeons and modifiers worked for them, all while trying out different weapons and how they work in this third-person action game.
Personally, I really enjoyed the feel of the game and love MMO-stylized games like this! The way we were all able to work together to take down enemies while trying out unique abilities was a real treat. I liked being a ranged attacker myself, using a combination of my gun and bombs to destroy foes from afar. I also learned that the developers have been playing around and testing it on the Steam Deck, which makes me feel very confident in how the game will perform! Overall, I was left wanting to know much more, and luckily, another closed beta should be happening this month!
Next, we went over to Focus Entertainment's booth and got to try out Atlas Fallen. This Action RPG will see you traveling through a desert and fighting giant monsters while liberating the world from corrupted gods. From what I played, the combat felt quite fluid and it was very flashy, making me want to go out and fight more monsters just to see the visual spectacle of it. You will get to explore the world and discover secrets, get new armor, and upgrade yourself and your shape-shifting weapon.
I wasn't able to get any definitive word on Steam Deck support, but they did mention that Focus Entertainment was looking at how the game runs on the Deck and how it could be supported. I really like how the game feels and am glad it got delayed to make sure all the bugs were ironed out. I left the game feeling much more confident in the uniqueness and direction the game is going and making it feel way more unique than similar styles. I will definitely be checking it out on release!
I got to sneak in and try the new Aliens game as well and it wasn't what I was expecting. I was thinking we might see a sequel to Isolation and have a new first-person Alien game, but it was a top-down strategy game that I quite liked. I spent the majority of my time making it through the level, controlling 4 people, killing aliens, and completing the main mission I had. The game also takes some inspirations from Darkest Dungeon as the characters you control can become stressed and have different effects depending on stress level.
I think the most surprising is that this game is being designed with a controller in mind too. Usually, games like this don't have controller support, but it seems to be a priority here which is awesome. It plays very well with a controller and I used it the entire time, even though I would have defaulted to a KB+M. I did ask about Steam Deck support and that doesn't seem to be a priority for Aliens: Dark Descent, but seeing what can be done to get it playable is what we do here! Overall, it wasn't the game I was expecting, but I loved it.
Afterwards, I went on over to Mooneye Games to have a discussion with Shumi Come Home's solo developer, who just so happens to be named Noah as well! We bonded on this for a moment, but got right into discussing the game. The topics here ranged from how the game started, his TikTok presence, the name Shumi, Mooneye, and more relating to the game itself.
I was actually able to play Shumi through the last Next Fest as a demo and know first hand that it runs extremely well on the Steam Deck. You will definitely be able to fully enjoy this relaxing, adorable exploration and puzzle game on-the-go!
Throughout the entire day, we went back and forth to XSEED's booth to try out their games! While I was at Focus Entertainment, AJ went to the booth and started off trying Cuisineer, which looks and sounds amazing:
Cuisineer is a unique blend of dungeon-crawling and restaurant ownership simulation, combining the addictive gameplay of Diner Dash with the fast-paced combat of Diablo. You play as Pom, who has just inherited her family restaurant on the brink of bankruptcy. As Pom, your goal is to venture out into the countryside to gather ingredients for your dishes, which in turn attract patrons who reward you with money to upgrade your restaurant and earn even more profit.
The gameplay loop of Cuisineer is incredibly addictive, with fluid combat and snappy controls that allow you to mow down hordes of delicious enemies to bring back to your humble day job. The procedurally generated dungeons ensure that no two experiences are alike, with only a few key staples that will be present in every area you visit. One such staple is the arena, which presents the greatest opportunities for gathering ingredients en masse while also testing your survival skills.
In addition, Cuisineer has announced plans to support the upcoming Steam Deck, with the developer expressing interest in Steam Deck compatibility. With its unique blend of genres and addictive gameplay, Cuisineer is a must-play for anyone looking for a fresh take on the restaurant management and dungeon-crawling genres.Author Teague - SteamDeckHQ COO
If you are a fan of farming simulators like Stardew Valley, this will absolutely be a game to watch! A remake of Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, this version has updated visuals, new marriage candidates, seasonal events, and a plethora of gameplay improvements. I don't have much to say about this remake other than if you enjoy this franchise's games, Harvest Moon, or looking for a bit of nostalgia, definitely get this game! Personally, I can't wait for the release and am very excited to try and play this one on the Steam Deck! Seeing as I was playing on a Switch at the booth, I don't think we will encounter many issues trying to play on Deck.
To close out my experiences at XSEED, I got to try out Trinity Trigger, an upcoming RPG. This top-down real-time action game will take you on an adventure to save the world from destruction. As Cyan, you and your companions will travel with your triggers which can transform into one of eight different weapons. You will also be able to switch freely between each character while also swapping weapons at will to expose your enemy's weaknesses.
Games like Trinity Trigger are one of my weaknesses and it was very apparent here. I love the world and real-time combat mechanics. It reminded me of the older Ys games at times, which I really enjoyed. I was also quite hooked on the story and the fact that the game has local co-op support! The game seems like it would be a fantastic fit for the Steam Deck too and I look forward to getting it running and being able to play through on-the-go.
While I didn't play as many games as I did the previous days, it was filled with much bigger ones! I also spent time going back to other booths to say goodbye and solidify some plans for the future. That concluded our first ever press event and honestly, it was an experience to remember. All the people we got to meet and the ability to easily talk to game developers was such a great experience that I can easily recommend to any video game fan. If you are on the fence regarding going to a PAX event, let me tell you that making the time for it will be well worth it.
We have a couple more PAX articles coming, so stay tuned for more information on the games we got to try and the plans we have set in place from the event. This opportunity was amazing and we feel so lucky to have gotten it!
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