Gaming Age at PAX East 2019 – Part 1

Spring has sprung and for us here at Gaming Age, it usually means a trip to Boston in order to consume copious amounts of lobster rolls and Jimmy John?s sandwiches, I also managed to spend some time at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center which houses the East Coast?s preeminent gaming convention, PAX East. Celebrating its 10th year in beantown, the event shows no signs of stopping, so much that 4 days isn?t enough to experience everything the show has to offer. So while I am highlighting the titles I managed to play, rest assured there are plenty of excellent titles that I were not able to spend time with.

Jupiter & Mars

Given that I have the swimming ability of an anchor, I?ve always had a fascination with titles which takes place underwater. So when Tigertron announced that the title would be playable on the show floor via the PlayStation booth, it actually prompted me to wake up early enough to attend media hour on the 1st day of the show in order to beat the crowds to check out the title.

Jupiter & Mars has you controlling a pair of Dolphins living on Earth after it has been abandoned by humans. The planet no longer looks like the one we inhabited, instead the landscape is dotted with neon rocks and fauna. The controls are intuitive and I really appreciate that the devs offered the option to move the camera horizontally via the d-pad and not rely on head tracking. The demo had me reuniting a mother turtle with her lost children, collecting lost artifacts of humanity. Those who aren?t sold on VR won?t have to miss out as this title can be played with the PSVR headset. Restore life in the ocean, when Jupiter & Mars comes out on PlayStation 4 on April 22nd, 2019

Space Channel 5 VR Kinda Funky News Flash!

The song Mexican Flyer was originally released in the late 60s, however for most of us it?s synonymous with the game Space Channel 5. An early release on the Dreamcast, it?s main character Ulala found herself to be a big part of the system?s marketing. Although she had two titles of her own, in the last 20ish years she?s been relegated to cameos in other SEGA titles, Kinda Funky News Flash! will put her back in the forefront in a brand new VR experience.

Taking control of a new reporter (which you can customize) at Space Channel 5, you are being groomed by the channel?s ace reporter when an attack is being reported at Spaceport 9. It seems the Moroliens are at it again, forcing humans to dance. Rescuing these hostages will require you to repeat the motions that the Morolien forces are doing. I hope that the series? array of wacky characters will return, although I?m pretty sure given recent circumstances we probably will not see Space Michael (Jackson). Can you dance well enough to ensure that everyone gets freed? Space Channel 5 VR Kinda Funky News Flash! will be coming exclusively to PSVR in 2019

Streets of Rage 4

I?m not sure what is going on in France, but given that some of the more memorable revivals of old obscure IPs in the last decade seems to originate from that country…I would say keep doing what you?re doing. Streets of Rage 4 was a pleasant surprise when it was announced last year. Axel Stone seems to have aged significantly since we last saw him 25 years ago, strangely enough Blaze Fielding does not look like she has aged a day…must be nice to have good genetics. The duo (although I do hope more playable characters are announced before the title) are back to clean up the streets the only way they know how…with violence.

While Axel has aged significantly, ironically he?s never looked better. Streets of Rage 4 feature beautifully hand drawn graphics. Neon signs on buildings will actually illuminate player characters as they pass by. Attention to detail is so great that the team even replicated the font  which became a series stable in Streets of Rage 2. The playable characters? movesets remain intact, in fact the dev team actually added ?EX moves? if you use the special button to execute specials rather than the standard attack button. Speaking of specials, the most welcome change in this title is that while using special moves would cause you to lose life, in this iteration, specials only cause you to lose life temporarily (represented by green health). If you manage to continue to beat down enemies you can actually recover any life lost due to special usage (assuming you do not take damage from enemies). This means that using specials is a viable option during regular play, rather than a something that should be reserved for desperate times. While there is no release information, this small slice is showing that this game is really coming along well.

Windjammers 2

As fan of the site Giant Bomb, one of the weirder things I learned about the staff was their reverence to this Pong-ish Frisbee tite that appeared on the Neo Geo platform. What was even weirder was to learn that there was a competitive Windjammers scene in France. In the last couple of years we saw a variety of frisbee games released on various platforms such as Gyrodisc Super League, Log Jammers and Disc Jams. However the true heir to the Windjammers name would be finally revealed when Windjammers 2 was announced at a Nintendo Direct last August.

The first thing I noticed was the fundamental game remained the same, there are new moves such as the ability to jump and a new bar that can be filled to unleash either an offensive or defensive move. I being a laymen did not get much use out of the jump, but I?m sure once the game is out in the wild, competitive players will surely be able find use for this. The art style evokes something that came out of a sunday newspaper comic. Other features will include a story mode which should be interesting as it will flesh out the characters that play this sport. When asked if this game will if this title will feature mini-games like the first version, we were told to please wait for future announcements. Windjammers 2 will be released sometime in 2019

Katana Zero

It is shocking to know that it?s been 4 years since I first saw the trailer to this title. In fact the teaser indicated that this title was supposed to come out in 2016, but it never did. I would say I had very little interaction with the title until Devolver Digital listed it as one of the titles being showcased at their booth at this year?s event. Without hesitation I reached out schedule an appointment, and boy am I glad I did.

Playing Katana Zero was a cathartic experience, after all this waiting I able to attempt to replicate what I saw in that teaser many years ago. While I did not complete the demo I found myself hovering around the team?s booth during the course of the entire weekend, watching others play. Your playable character dubbed ?The Dragon? is armed with his trusty blade and the ability to ?focus? causing time to slow around him, so he can accomplish feats like slipping through the blades of a moving industrial fan or reflecting the bullets. The game features a dialogue system which can affect the gameplay. For example, being a jerk to the receptionist at the hotel could result in her siccing the police on you after you have completed your task, but if you are patient and answered her long line of questioning, she might vouch for you and allow you to avoid a combat situation. I definitely will be cutting down fools and reviewing CCTV footage when this game finally comes out on April 18th on PC and the Nintendo Switch.

My Friend Pedro

Why is there a banana floating in the air, speaking to me in a voice that sounds like the dad from Spy Kids? Sadly this was not answered during my appointment for DeadToast Entertainment?s My Friend Pedro. I did however find out after the fact that this title was a remake of a web game that DeadToast Entertainment released in 2014. So as we march toward the inevitable future when all modern web browsers depreciate Macromedia Flash support, we rest easy that this game will be playable on PC and the Switch…well until somehow those digital storefronts shut down and our access to the title is restricted. Welcome to our dark digital future.

Enough of that gloom and doom, while I knew I was not able to pull off all the sick moves that the game?s trailers had shown was possible, I can see replaying the game until I can reach that coveted ?S? rank on all of the game?s levels. This remake adds functions like the ability to dodge incoming fire, splitting your aim so you can kill people on both sides of you, with these added features it also means more complex controls. This could be daunting for new players, but when mastered the possibilities for mayhem are endless. Perhaps we?ll find out what the deal is with Pedro when this game comes out in June 2019, cause I surely will not be installing Macromedia Flash any time soon.

Samurai Shodown

At the 2018 edition of the Tokyo Game Show, SNK revealed that they will be reviving Samurai Shodown, a series which has been dormant since 2008. Featuring an art style that invokes Japanese Ink paintings, it is definitely makes it stand out against games which are currently out in the market. With a cast of 16 characters, 13 of them are returning from previous titles and 3 are new to the series. During a panel which took place over the course of the weekend, the team revealed nearly the full cast and debuted one of the new characters.

SAMURAI SHODOWN / SAMURAI SPIRITS – ティザートレーラー #2(Japan/Asia)

Even with the revelation, the build that was on the show floor featured 7 characters mostly consisting of the series? most recognizable characters. As I had a session with members of the team, I noticed control wise the game remained consistent with rest of the series. I was able to pull off most special moves from memory and hold my own against the team from SNK. They did have some tricks up their sleeves as they were able to hit me with a move which required sacrificing your rage gauged dubbed ?Isshin? or Lightning Blade. This move can be used as a comeback mechanic if you are extremely low on health and can execute it quickly. After getting my hands on this title, I can see why it earned its place on the Evolution Championship Series? main roster. PlayStation and Xbox One players can #EmbraceDeath in June 2019, while Switch players will join in later in the year. When pressed if this title will get either a AES or MVS release, director Nobuyuki Kuroki laughed and said title could not be contained within 330 megabits.