SEATTLE — No matter how much time you spend on the show floor, you simply don’t have time to play every single game at a huge convention like PAX West. For every showstopper, there’s a smaller title that may not have gotten the kind of love and attention it deserved.
At PAX West 2018, I catalogued the best of the best games, but I also saw plenty of excellent titles that didn’t quite make the final cut. If you want to play an excellent game in the next few months that won’t necessarily redefine its genre, read on to discover some promising titles that just might wind up being great ones.
Credit: THQ Nordic
The Darksiders series has carved out a recognizable niche for itself in the gaming space, but it’s no secret that the games take heavy inspiration from the classics. While the first two games paid homage to The Legend of Zelda and God of War, Darksiders III will go for more of a Castlevania feel. In this installment, players take control of Fury: a horseman of the apocalypse, who must destroy the Seven Deadly Sins after they were accidentally unleashed on humanity. Along the way, she’ll pick up new weapons and skills, which will allow her to visit previously inaccessible areas. Combat feels great, and exploration takes center stage.
Lego DC Super-Villains
Credit: Warner Brothers
The Lego game series has already explored the DC Universe three times, thanks to the Lego Batman trilogy. But while the previous DC Lego games focused on Batman and the Justice League, Lego DC Super-Villains shifts its focus to the darker side of the comic-book universe. In this puzzle/action game, you’ll create your very own supervillain, then team up with DC mainstays like Lex Luthor, the Joker, Solomon Grundy and Cheetah as they aim to take down the Justice League once and for all. But things get more complicated when the Justice Syndicate — otherworldly, authoritarian counterparts to the Justice League from the deep reaches of DC canon — show up to thwart both parties.
Mega Man 11
It’s been eight years since we had a core Mega Man game, but series diehards never doubted that the franchise would return. In Mega Man, the Blue Bomber will take on eight brand-new Robot Masters, including the sturdy Block Man, the explosive Blast Man, the fiery Torch Man and the imposing Impact Man. Mega Man 11 will bring a few new advancements to the series as well, including a cartoonish 2.5D art style, and a “dual gear” system, which allows Mega Man to equip rechargeable tools that can make stages a little easier. The game isn’t any easier than the classics that inspired it, though, so be ready for a challenge.
Just Cause 4
Credit: Square Enix
Mercenary Rico Rodriguez knows a thing or two about destabilizing corrupt governments. He’s done it three times already. In Just Cause 4, Rico will put his unique set of skills to work in the South American island-nation of Solis, which has fallen under control of the fascistic Black Hand army. Just Cause 4 features the same kind of open-ended destruction and mayhem as the last three games in the series, but dials the detail up to 11. Solis comprises four distinct biomes, each of which has a unique extreme weather event, like a whirling tornado or a deadly lightning storm. By stockpiling weapons, collecting vehicles and assembling an army, Rico can make all of Solis into a physics-based playground.
Bethesda has shown off Quake Champions at a lot of conventions already. In fact, you can play it for free at home through Steam’s Early Access program. But no matter how many times I play Quake Champions, it’s like taking a breath of fresh air. The game eschews most of the modern-day competitive FPS trappings, and delivers a purer, faster-paced experience, like we had back in the ‘90s. Matches are quick, deadly and highly customizable. (“Railguns only” is still a delightful one-hit kill mode, which plays out too fast to even take your inevitable deaths personally.) Each character has a special skill, though, so the game has made at least a few concessions to modern gaming.