The best of Boston
PAX East 2014 is officially a wrap, leaving us salivating for some of this year's most exciting video games. We got our hands on dozens of titles on the Boston show floor, which was filled with potential blockbusters like "Evolve" and "The Crew," as well as humble indie titles like "Framed" and "Below." From artful experiences to games that redefine the first-person shooter, here are our favorites from PAX East 2014.
Created by the folks behind indie hit "Bastion," Supergiant Games' "Transistor" is a futuristic and stylish action role-playing game (RPG) where your weapon is the star of the show. Cast as a female singer named Red who has lost her voice, you'll use the Transistor to slash, whip and incinerate your robot enemies as you uncover the mystery behind the mythical device. The Transistor can even slow time, which temporarily turns this visually stunning PS4 and PC game into a real-time strategy affair.
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Part puzzle game, part interactive comic book, "Framed" is one of the most refreshing games we played at PAX. Set in a moody noir world, your job is to help your runaway protagonist avoid the cops and reach the end of each page by rearranging a series of gorgeously illustrated panels. "Framed" will rack your brain as you progress, but we didn't mind trying our hand at this wonderfully animated, minimalist iOS experience over and over again.
MORE: Best Indie Games for iOS
Heroes of the Storm
The multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre is exploding, thanks to games like "League of Legends," and strategy vet Blizzard is ready to stake its own claim. "Heroes of the Storm" is an accessible free-to-play MOBA that has you choose a hero, form a team, and use special abilities and computer-controlled minions to take down the opposing base. "Heroes" stands out from the swarm of MOBAs out there with its nostalgic roster, which consists of fan favorites from games like "StarCraft," "Warcraft" and "Diablo."
In driving game "The Crew," the entire United States is your sandbox. You freely roam the country, taking on various types of races and missions as you make a name for yourself as part of a car gang. "The Crew" is one of the few racing games to have boss battles, as you and your buddies can work together to ram a rival vehicle off the road. On top of its varied gameplay, "The Crew" boasts believable, dynamic environments filled with people, planes and even wildlife.
MORE: 'The Crew' Hands-On
Taking the best parts of games like "Super Meat Boy" and "Flappy Bird," "Fenix Rage" is a platformer built for those who love a challenge. Tons of game-ending obstacles stand between Fenix and his goal in each level, forcing you to jump, fly and dash around the game's cartoony environments with precision timing. Interacting with the world is key, as you'll have to do things like set yourself on fire to break through ice. The aptly titled "Fenix Rage" almost made us toss our controller a few times, yet we still kept coming back for more.
MORE: 'Fenix Rage' Hands-On
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
While its name might sound a bit ridiculous, "Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition" is looking like the best version of the popular action-RPG yet. This PS4 exclusive combines the original "Diablo III" with its "Reaper of Souls" expansion pack, giving you tons of demon-slaying content right off the bat. The PC-minded "Diablo III" takes on a special life of its own on PS4, as you'll be able to enjoy a more satisfying sense of control and team up with up to three buddies in the same room for some classic multiplayer hack-and-slash.
While many games make you overwhelmingly powerful, Capybara Games' "Below" highlights just how small you are in the universe. In this indie adventure for Xbox One and PC, you play as a lone explorer with a sword, a shield and very few instructions. Your character only takes up a tiny portion of the screen, providing an eerie sense of scale as you traverse the game's gloomy forests and caves. When you die in "Below" — and you will often — that death is permanent, leaving you to pick up a new journey where you'll see your previous character's remains.
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Child of Light
One of the most gorgeous games we saw at PAX East is Ubisoft's "Child of Light," which blends 2D platforming and turn-based RPG combat within a captivating watercolor-painted world. Inspired by fairy tales, "Child" casts you as a woman named Aurora who must uncover the secrets of the sprawling town of Lemuria. With more than 200 skills to unlock and a crafting system that lets you make more than 600 unique items, "Child of Light" will keep RPG fanatics occupied for hours on end.
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Set in the colorful planet of Nexus, "Wildstar" is a massively multiplayer online RPG that sports some of the most vibrant characters and environments we've seen in the genre. This raucous role-playing game stands out with its unique character-creation system, which lets you choose both a combat style (class) and play style (path), resulting in some nifty combinations (who says the medic can't kick serious butt?) "Wildstar" also touts action-based combat, which may entice gamers who are bored with the auto-attack nature of other online RPGs.
Every match in murky first-person shooter "Evolve" feels like one giant boss fight, except that boss is controlled by a human player. In this asymmetrical multiplayer game, four players control a team of hunters with their own unique roles, while a lone opponent takes the form of a hulking beast that can breathe fire, toss chunks of earth, and grow bigger and scarier in the middle of a fight. The Assault, Medic, Support and Trapper must all communicate to quiet the monster while the beast fights to isolate and brutally beat down his hunters.
MORE: 'Evolve' Hands-On