1999. That’s the year. I spent most of our meeting with Atari and Nvizzio trying to remember when I last went deep with Roller Coaster Tycoon – more than a decade ago. Yikes.
RCT was the product of an era infatuated with city builders, civilization management, and RTS games. The industry ebbs in cycles of these almost-episodic fascinations – it’s MOBAs today, it was MMOs in the early-to-mid years of the century, and it was isometric builders in the late 90s.
Enough of that.
Today, we’re looking at Roller Coaster Tycoon World – which I’m truncating to RCTW, for the sake of these PAX-worn fingers – the series’ first PC release since 2004. RCTW continues the game’s iconic theme park construction, management, roller coaster design, and visitor torture, introducing a number of era-appropriate features along the way. The game is developed by Nvizzio, published by Atari, and is confirmed for a 4Q15 release at price-points undisclosed.
Almost a year ago, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequal didn't fare well here at GN. Editor-in-Chief Steve Burke and I both disliked the game quite intensely. From that perspective, my preliminary outlook on Battleborn was neutral. It's not the same franchise, sure, but the game's look and initial reveals bore some familiar smells. This was on top an animated teaser trailer that made the game look... very violent. Violence in games isn't something we're particularly shy of here, but that trailer was brutal.
Time to sit down and play.
We like to spotlight one ultra high-end system build at PAX every year, at a minimum. This year’s rig of choice was built by Maingear, a system integrator, and is at the corner of Intel’s booth. It was the white Corsair Obsidian 900D and custom liquid cooling loop (complete with vibrant, green fluid) that drew us toward the system.
“Keegan Dies” was the name of my custom-tuned, rogue-killing Zombie I built while playing Sword Coast Legends at PAX Prime 2015, named affectionately for the team’s video producer. Other monster types were considered – demons, giant spiders, and drow – but a zombie seemed a fitting start for the dungeon.
We haven’t looked at Sword Coast Legends since GDC 2015, where we were limited to a hands-off presentation of the game’s DM and player modes. Since then, developers n-space have improved tremendously upon the game’s user interface and overall presentation.
Sword Coast Legends is a new PC RPG rooted in Dungeons & Dragons ruleset, borrowing inspiration from the likes of Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale. The game is slated for a September 29 release date on PC, Linux, and Mac. This Sword Coast Legends gameplay preview looks at the (mostly) finalized DM mode, the campaign tools, and hands-on impressions of the mechanics.
Randomly and procedurally-generated content is becoming more prevalent in independent games created by small teams. I discovered at PAX East that this is extending to a variety of game genres and genre hybrids.
Montreal studio Clever Plays has designed a unique twin-stick action RPG, Leap of Fate, that blends elements of magic and cyberpunk lore within a randomly-generated setting. Game Director Mattieu Bégin took me through half a standard playthrough and broke-down the game’s premise, core mechanics, and replayability.
The first FORCED was an invigorated revisit to the era of Gauntlet, developed before the release of 2014's Gauntlet action RPG. We gave the game high praise in our review, remarking that it was among the best co-operative games available on the market. Through today, FORCED has sold in excess of 300,000 copies – profound success for a relatively new development company.
For a week, our team wandered San Francisco and Boston, trekking between GDC and PAX East. We endured delayed flights, frozen rain, unseasonable (for us) heat in California, massive snow drifts (in Boston), smelly clothes, unfortunate public transport, and the overall frustration of travel and hotel. But for brief 10 minutes, fortune shined on me.
Three One Zero revealed new gameplay for its first-person space survival title Adr1ft at PAX East. I played through this never-before-seen demo, detailing my impressions of the game’s presentation, mechanics, and overall immersion.
Adr1ft puts players in the first-person perspective of an astronaut who wakes up following the destruction of her space station and the death of her crew. The game uses simple mechanics but challenges the player to wisely conserve oxygen and repair the astronaut’s suit to upgrade their health throughout the playthrough. Adr1ft debuts on PC this September and features Oculus Rift support, ranking it among the slew of impending “First-Person Experience” titles now trending.
The variety of games at PAX East’s Indie Megabooth supporting local multiplayer or cooperative gameplay always impresses. Not only is Kitfox Games’ action-RPG Moon Hunters a cooperative title for up to four players, but it also offers a unique setting far from generic fantasy or generic sci-fi.
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