Conventions are coming back stronger than ever, and PAX East 2023 was certainly a telltale sign of that strength. For four days, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center became a video game city with the latest and greatest games from a variety of amazing developers and publishers. There was certainly more games to play this year than last, and they provided the thrills and chills. There were horrors like Aliens: Dark Descent and action-packed thrill rides like Trinity Fusion.
Every game I played was special. If it were possible to give them all awards, I would. It was a great sign that gaming is still here and doing well, despite all the obstacles in the past three years. The 5 games below are only a inkling of the games I had a blast playing at the event, and there are so many more on the horizon coming out soon.
5. Toxic Crusaders
The early ’80s were a time of many things, and one of them was the creation of the first true supernatural hero from New Jersey. The Toxic Avenger is an origin story for the famed hero. In a violent movie that is so bad it’s good, a young nerdy teenage is exposed to radioactive materials and becomes a destroyer of crime. A series of successful films lead to the 1991 animated series, The Toxic Crusaders, a motley crew of mutants fighting to protect the environment and the city of Tromaville, New Jersey.
Toxic Crusaders is a side-scrolling beat-’em up in the spirit of TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge. Players team up with infamous mutants and battle Dr. Killemoff’s army across the town and beyond. Each character has their own specific attack and abilities, from Toxie’s radioactive mop to Junkyard’s razor-sharp claws. It’s a barrel of fun, from the unending hordes of action to the incredible visuals on display. I had a blast playing this with PAX Attendees and you will too.
4. Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun
The Warhammer 40,000 is an unending vast universe of cosmic monsters and cyborgs, all wrapped up in unending and unceasing war. There have been plenty of video games that have been released in the past, ranging from Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus to Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. Warhammer 40,000 Boltgun infused the 40,000 universe into a shooter from the ’90s. It’s a match so blessed, The Emperor approves.
If one were to take 3D boomer shooters like Quake and infuse it into the Warhammer 40,000 universe, that is essentially the basis of Warhammer 40,000 Boltgun The game is fast, furious, and ultraviolent in the best of ways. Taking place following the events of 2011’s Space Marine, Boltgun is shaping to be an excellent shooter from its pixelated visuals to its fast-paced, white-knuckle, balls-to-the-wall game play. The Emperor calls you to service.
3. Arcadian Atlas
The 90s were a golden age of strategy JRPGS. Games like Final Fantasy Tactics put the genre into a new direction, where height and placement were everything in battle. These battle were interns, with a sense of grand scale woven into the combat. Many games have gone on to replication this kind of sensation, from God Wars to Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. Serenity Forge is looking to bring a tactics game that gets it right with Arcadian Atlas.
Arcadian Atlas feels like a game that fell from a shelf in 1997, went through a wormhole, and entered the world of 2023. It’s warm, nostalgic, but incredibly engrossing between its animated presentation and engaging combat. It’s a fantasy world where a raccoon joins your party and fires crossbows at enemies. That alone is worth the price of admission into Atlas Arcadia.
2. Loop 8: Summer of Gods
The worst enemies in our lives are oftentimes ourselves and the emotions we posses. When the world is coming to an end, what kind of relationships can be built when the time left is running out. In Summer of 1983, a young man name Nini steps into he rural town of Ashihara where the beginning of the end of the world will be set.
Loop 8 is a game where the relationships forged with others affects not only the story but the combat. Players fight grotesque monstrosities that feed off of negative emotions. This evil power transforms friends as well, meaning a boss fight may be someone that Nini knows. Players choose to fight with compassion or hatred, determining the outcome of the battle. With animation styles reminiscent of Spiderman: Into the Spider verse, Loop 8: Summer of Gods is shaping to be an unforgettable adventure.
It’s a dark time for live-service video games in 2023. Marvel’s Avengers is coming to an end following a difficult development cycle and Mutliversus is being shelved until 2024. Games like Rumbleverse failed to generate an audience and Babylon’s Fall was a goner before arrival. It seems impossible to want to release a live-service game in 2023, but as Goku once said, where there is a will, there is way. Digital Extremes has revealed that will with Wayfinder.
Wayfinder is an action-packed MMO by Airship syndicate that is new and original. Players fight deadly enemies in combat reminiscent of the Darksiders games. Big bosses and nightmarish enemies fill a rich world of color and loot. Players play solo or with friends with one of several incredibly made characters, each with their own ability. With cross-platform play and a community-led focus Wayfinder may be a strong answer for online games.
PAX East shows off some exciting new games!
Overall, PAX East 2023 revealed a ton of exciting new titles. From the exciting new MMO Wayfinder to the retro-style beat-’em-up in Toxic Crusaders, there are truly some fun and unique games to look forward to. What game showcased at PAX East are you most excited for? Do you agree with my top 5? Or did I miss a game you think deserves some love? As always, let us know what you think down in the comments!