Gaming Goodness, Out and About

My 10 Favorite Games @ PAX West 2019

After 4 busy days, PAX West 2019 has drawn to a close and after a full weekend of picking up controllers, demoing builds, chatting with passionate developers and actively avoiding the PAX pox: I’m ready to round up my favorite video game finds from the weekend.

Here are 10 different projects that stood out to me on the show floor, ranging from dog-themed dating simulators to creative takes on dungeon-crawling adventures.

Project Witchstone (Spearhead Games)

Isometric RPGs have been having a renaissance over the past few years, and while many strive to capture the best parts of tabletop gaming, they sometimes fall short in terms of achieving the player freedom found in tabletop games. That’s the gap that Project Witchstone is trying to bridge, with their robust AI “game master” approach to NPCs, skill checks and investment in player agency. With no overarching questline to embark on, players are free to integrate themselves into factions, frame the local blacksmith for murder or forge onward of their own volition.

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Gaming Goodness

Fallout 76 and Bethesda’s Approach to S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Storytelling

I have to admit that even I hesitated briefly when Bethesda announced that Fallout 76 would have no human NPCs. After all, the eclectic array of survivors (along with their equally eclectic stories, ambitions, and machinations) has always been part of the charm of the Fallout series. The more I thought about it though, the more the decision makes sense in ways other than just the post-apocalyptic timeline.

After all, Bethesda has been conveying stories through their extensive world design and eye for detail in each of their titles for years now.

Fallout 76
(via Alicia Alexandra)

In Fallout’s case: whether it’s a carefully placed skeleton clutching a dusty teddy bear in the dark of an abandoned bunker or hastily painted warnings scrawled across a boarded door, there is an entire world telling players more about their surroundings than any digestible, scripted dialogue with an NPC could.

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Gaming Goodness, Xbox Lifestyle

Forza Horizon is More Than Just a Racing Game

I don’t drive. I don’t even have a driver’s license, mostly because they’re useless on the island of Montreal, where I spent my late teenage years, but also in part because I don’t really have any interest in driving. While I have a passing appreciation for nice cars, that’s just about where my interest ends when it comes to anything with four wheels. So, there’s really no logical reason I should enjoy a series like Forza Horizon, or at least so I thought.

I downloaded the demo for Forza Horizon 3 on a whim one Friday night when I was stuck at home with a cold and I quickly found myself buying the full game, much to my own disbelief. Why was I having fun? Well, my friend Maxen said it best: the Forza Horizon series is a “car-based adventure game”.

Forza Horizon 4 (2)
(via Alicia Alexandra)

Forza Horizon 4 just came out and it’s a perfect example of how this series from Playground Games embraces different play styles and includes mechanics to make it accessible to both racing and non-racing fans alike.

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Gaming Goodness, Xbox Lifestyle

Xbox Game Pass is Making Me a Better Gamer

I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe when it comes to games. So much so that it’s become an ongoing joke with my community that I “change games more often than I change my underwear”. I think it’s partly because I’m a variety streamer but also because I’m just really… fickle about how I spend my time and I’m hyper aware of how expensive gaming as a hobby can be.

When it  comes to spending 60 dollars or more on a AAA release I don’t usually leave my comfort zone of fantasy RPGs and sci-fi FPSs. If I try something new and it doesn’t click, I find myself feeling bad for not sinking hundreds of hours into a game I paid full-price for. It seems kind of silly but I’m the first to admit that there’s a certain amount of guilt that comes along with one’s backlog growing as you add a barely played game to your pile of shame.

So, when Xbox announced Game Pass, a Netflix-esque digital library of over 100 games with a low, monthly fee of $9.99 USD, it felt like the perfect way to get over my gaming hangups and try something new.

screenshot_67
(via MCV)

In the 17 months that I’ve had Game Pass, it has let me explore games that I once considered out of my depth or uninteresting with little to no risk. I download something, I give it a shot and if it doesn’t catch my attention: I uninstall it. It’s that simple (and my pile of shame remains the same size).

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