Hey, all. Staff writer Nick Tricome here.

PAX East kicked off Thursday and yours truly is here in Boston to cover some of the games brought to the show.

We’ll have more in-depth coverage coming up on the site soon, but there’s a lot to see this weekend and I wanted to use this post as a chance to touch on any additional titles I got to try out.

This post will be continually updated over the next few days, so check back to read up on more impressions.

Now, without further ado, let’s mosey.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Predictable?…yeah, probably. When the show floor opened up early for the media, I made a b-line right to Square Enix’s booth to try out the long-awaited title’s latest test run.

The demo brought to PAX isn’t anything new. It’s the Scorpion Sentinel boss fight that was at E3, Gamescom, and PAX West over the summer. But there’s a difference between watching a YouTube video and actually getting to play the game. And after finally getting a feel for it myself, add me to the group of many, many others who are fairly confident that yeah, this game is going to be pretty good.

What stood out to me most was how seamless switching between party members was. A single hit of a directional button instantly swaps control from Cloud to Barret and vice-versa, which for me, turned the fight into an exercise in trying to keep each character’s ATB (Active Time Battle) bar constantly filled.

Remake is obviously taking a more action-oriented approach to combat, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get by just from mashing the square button. That point was made clear by Square Enix at E3 and the Scorpion Sentinel fight backs it up. Basic attacks did little damage, becoming more of a means to fill Cloud and Barret’s respective ATB meters quicker so they could cast spells and use their special abilities to really put the hurt on. All the while, I had both characters continually on the move, constantly swapping between them in an attempt to gain better positioning on the boss.

Going outside of the gameplay, this game is absolutely gorgeous and consistently pushed for 60 frames per second (much like Square and director Tetsuya Nomura’s last effort in Kingdom Hearts III did).

The new version of the VII’s soundtrack is also incredible. I found the remade “Mako Reactor” track, especially, to be pretty strong.

Only a month and change left.

The Wonderful 101: Remastered

It took minutes for PlatinumGames to crowdfund a Nintendo Switch version of its cult-classic action game. Now, less than a month later, the studio had the remaster playable at PAX in its first public appearance.

This is very much the same Wii U game its fans fell in love with after it launched nearly seven years ago, just with some minor fixes to account for the loss of the second screen on the Wii U’s GamePad (the remaster makes use of a picture-in-picture setup to compensate).

The Wonderful 101: Remastered will be releasing for the Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC via Steam on May 19.  There’s only a few days left in its Kickstarter campaign, but to this point has raised more than $1.8 million, funding the additions of a time attack mode, a side-scrolling epilogue mission, and a remixed soundtrack.

Fuser

Announced just before the convention, acclaimed rhythm game developer Harmonix had its latest ready to go on the show floor.

Fuser, in a similar vein as Rock Band, lets players become their own DJ, mixing specific parts of popular songs (drums, vocal, guitar, etc.). Center stage at a music festival, you have four decks to control with complete freedom over what tracks you set them to, but answering requests from the crowd and switching tracks in sync with the beat can help maximize your score.

The demo had about 16 tracks to choose from that varied across rock, rap, and pop. And the game itself does a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure that your performance always flows together smoothly no matter what you do.

Turns out “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and “In Da Club” can mix pretty well together.

The game’s currently slated for a Fall 2020 release.

StarCrossed

Unity is at the forefront of everything this game does.

Developed by Contigo Games, StarCrossed is an action-arcade style title that basically takes the general idea of Pong and turns its competitive foundation into a cooperative one. Choosing from an inclusive cast of five characters, each with their own unique ultimate ability, two players volley a star between each other with full movement across the entire stage. But instead of trying to break the volley to gain an advantage, the point instead is to keep the volley going, which can increase in speed and power with a well-timed press of the A button as the star approaches your character.

That core mechanic is how players defeat enemies and ultimately progress through the game, by moving in a way so that the star will hit them in its trajectory.

Taking inspiration from manga/anime series like Sailor Moon, StarCrossed makes use of a magical girl aesthetic that’s reflective in its world, characters, and story.

I got to play though a few stages of the game’s arcade mode at Contigo’s booth, and doing so offered up some banter between characters upon each clear. It was a small glimpse into their personality and Starcrossed’s overall writing, which I’m sure is expanded on far more in the game’s full story mode.

StarCrossed launched on PC and Mac a couple weeks ago to positive reception, and will hit consoles (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One) in March.

Armed and Gelatinous

Brought to the show in its own custom arcade cabinet, Armed and Gelatinous is Three Flip Studios’ unique take on a competitive shooter. Up to four players take control of a blob floating through space, and attack by hovering over weapons to get them to stick. The more weapons you pick up, the bigger and more powerful your blob becomes, but at the expense of speed.

Fire and dodge are the only two buttons. And again, as you collect more weapons, your firepower increases. But just like movement speed, your dodge becomes slower and travels a shorter range. With that said, dodges can also be charged, and if an opposing blob gets caught in your path once you execute it, the resulting collision will count as a one-hit kill.

I played a couple of death matches on the cabinet during press hour and it was evident from the get-go that you’ll need to think and move quickly on the fly in order to gain an edge.

The game is in arcades already in select locations across the US, and will be coming to consoles and PC at some point this year.

About The Author

Nick T
Jr. Staff Writer

Nick is a junior staff writer at GAW who loves hockey and a good RPG. The first game he played was Ice Hockey on a hand-me-down NES, and having grown up with the PS1, he knows the first three Crash Bandicoot games like the back of his hand and can recite every track from PaRappa the Rapper on the spot if you ask him to. Along with writing for GAW, Nick also works on the sports desk at the Philadelphia Inquirer. If he isn't on skates in his free time, he's probably trying to cycle through several 60-plus hour games at once.