PAX.AU 2015 – Day Three Impressions

Into the final stretch of PAX Australia 2015 and my first task for the day was to try and tackle a queue; in this case it was for Rise of the Tomb Raider. The visual upgrade compared to the last game is impressive. It’s like everything has been given another layer of graphical polish that at times looks simply stunning.

All the demo kiosks for the game, and also for Halo 5 Guardians, were using the new Elite Controllers. You pick one up and can immediately tell it’s different to the standard one – it feels really solid and made for long term use. The trigger switches work as advertised and are easy enough to flick on and off as needed, even in the middle of a game.


Lining up for Rise of the Tomb Raider… an advertisement for some small game coming soon.

After missing out on previous years I had a chance today to finally try an Oculus Rift headset… I’m behind the times, I know. Despite having a pretty strong stomach I found myself quickly feeling unwell. Problem turned out to have an easy fix and that was to avoid moving my head while my character was moving. Some of those issues may have been due to it being an earlier version headset but time will tell.

Then it was off to a session covering quest design for The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt. Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz of CD Projekt RED ran through the basic steps the team goes through when creating quests within the game. From initial idea, to planning and finally to implementation there’s a strong collaboration between the designers and the writers to ensure each delivers what the team wants. He also wasn’t afraid to admit bugs come into play during this process, especially when the quest has to be integrated into the main game. With the second expansion to the game on its way we’re bound to see more great content in the coming months.

After Mondays nights live demo of Just Cause 3 I found the game’s booth in the Expo Hall and tried it for myself. The destruction is great to see in action and I definitely need to practise on the traversal. For me the destruction has shades of Red Faction Guerrilla but with the gorgeous open world of a Far Cry. I honestly can’t believe I let this series slip under my radar. Thankfully Just Cause 2 was a Games with Gold freebie not long ago so I can learn the ropes there.

Next was a session covering the topic of indie developers who are pursuing their dreams while still keeping down a full time job. As someone who has some aspirations for making a living through my own software projects (not necessarily games), it was good to hear stories from locals with first hand experience at it. Knowing that there others who’ve done it and found ways to make it work has given me a lot to think about.

Nintendo's puzzle addictions all rolled into one.

Nintendo’s puzzle addictions all rolled into one.

Lastly there was the final of the Omegathon. This year’s battle was a one on one playing the SNES title Dr Mario & Tetris; the best of three games went down to that wire with both players making some big mistakes under pressure.

I thought initially this year wasn’t going to be as enjoyable as last year as I was feeling like there wasn’t as many big name sessions being held but it turned out to be a positive as I went to others out of curiosity and was rewarded for it. With three more years of PAX Australia confirmed, I can’t wait to see what else is in store. My bet is at least one new console announcement, possibly even a second… let’s see how that prediction turns out. 🙂

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