PAX.AU (2014) – Day three impressions

The home of PAX Australia for the next five years.

The home of PAX Australia for the next five years.

The last day of PAX Australia opened with a panel by the crew from Gearbox Software. Randy Pitchford and crew spent an hour and a half covering their new and upcoming releases. First up was Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, a game made right here by 2K Australia. In addition to the announcement of the first DLC character (Handsome Jack) there was talk that hinted of the future of the SHIFT system going well beyond the keys that first débuted in Borderlands 2.

Following that we got to see more details about their in development MOBA/FPS Battleborn. Though Gearbox are aiming for a new market with this game, there is enough in the art style and visuals to suggest the same engine could easily service a next gen Borderlands too. That gives people something to look forward to.

But there was something else I was there to see. After more than a decade, Homeworld will be back with a remastered edition. For me, the original game was a revelation; a real-time strategy game that forced you to think in three dimensions. Not good if you are Khan but great if you are Admiral Ackbar.

In addition the game was astoundingly beautiful in both the video and audio departments in a way that’s never really been imitated. I can still imagine the pastel vistas and new age music… What little that has been shown indicates there will be plenty to look forward to.

This cannot arrive soon enough.

This cannot arrive soon enough.

Randy’s best trick was kept until the end when he announced that everyone in the there was getting a season pass for the upcoming Tales from the Borderlands from Telltale Games. For a panel that crammed so much into such a short space of time, this was a massive reward for fans.

Later on a group of us finally got to play Halo: The Master Chief Collection. It was only a couple of minutes on the updated map “Lockout” but it’s like visiting an old friend and was a reminder that November will be a good time to be an Xbox One owner. This could be the best value game on the platform since The Orange Box.

I also spent some time in the classic gaming area and go to play The Chaos Engine on an Amiga CD32. It’s a game that still holds up even now thanks to a great art style and some really solid mechanics.

Amiga retro goodness.

Amiga retro goodness.

In the indie area I tried out a couple of games. Rogue Singularity is a procedurally generated 3D platformer that’s in the early stages of development at Considerable Content. Seeing your character pull off some impossible leaps as they traverse the level and makes it stand out from the more traditional games of the genre.

Tin Man Games returned this year with another digital Fighting Fantasy handbook, Appointment with F.E.A.R.. I grew up reading these books so seeing them come alive this way is awesome and the enthusiasm of the developers is easy to see when speaking to them.

The last event for the show was the final for the Omegathon. After three days of games, the two remaining competitors had to duke it out stage via Combat for the Atari 2600. It turned out to be an inspired choice with both players being totally into it as was the crowd.

Combat - Where champions are born.

Combat – Where champions are born.

Closing PAX to the sounds of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck perfectly describes the weekend. For a gamer in Australia this weekend is the long awaited fix we’ve been waiting for and it has left us exhilarated with the prospects down the road. And with a guarantee of future events here, there will be a lot more happy gamers to come.

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