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These five games rose to the top for me as the games to play from PAX South 2016.

I played many games at PAX South without getting to try a good 50% of the available games, and while experiencing the struggle to identify my “favorites” without building some sort of complex category system to give them each due credit, it is owed to the people who didn’t get to attend to just knuckle up.

LiveLock

This new game from the folks at Perfect World has a three player, top down cooperative experience that made me want to beg for another play through and that was after using only one of the three characters they plan to release actually being available to play. Easy to see sinking quite a few hours into this game with the only drawback, in my mind, being that the maximum of three players is a hard limit. See the preview article posted here at dvsgaming.org for more details on LiveLock.

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Heroes Must Die!

This Retro Fantasy RPG brought back memories of the NES and SNES immediately upon pulling up a chair. While combat is different, the character interactions use the same text conversation and UI styles that were used in the early Final Fantasy games. The content of those conversations had me laughing quietly within a few minutes and fighting the urge to ROFL right there in the booth by the end of the demo. This game is comedic gold! To top it off, while the combat system is new and presents a challenge to the player, there was little trouble figuring it out in the short time I had at the booth.

Elite Dangerous CQC

This new module on the popular Elite Dangerous game is going to take some of the loneliness out of space by adding the ability for players to jump into a CQC (Close Quarters Combat) match from the game menu. It rarely hurts your perspective on a game to win the match during your hands-on time with a game at an event like PAX South. Now before that sounds too much like bragging, I had no idea that I was winning until the coach walked over and said, “You’re going to win in 30 seconds.” We played using console controllers, which immediately presented a challenge for some of my cohorts here on the DVS Gaming staff, as several of them are strictly PC, keyboard and mouse gamers. With a little more console experience, I found the control scheme to be pretty intuitive and had a blast chasing down other pilots. There may have been a few expletive utterances when I was dealing with a particularly evasive foe and had my lock broken by chaff countermeasures, but the pace of the game was good, the respawn was short, and my heart rate rose when the combat became intense.

Death Stair

Take a lesson from this game developer. It is easy for us as media to become super focused on getting to our next appointment, especially when you’ve booked your meetings as tightly as we did for PAX South this year. The gentleman working the Death Stair booth managed to engage me enough walking by to draw my attention on three separate occasions before I finally “had the time” to stop and try out their game. Not stopping in would have definitely left some regret. We would classify Death Stair as a party game, purely because it would play well with a bunch of friends sitting on the couch, throwing elbows as needed. In Death Stair three players play as a competitor trying to get from point A to point B while avoiding the obstacles or direct interference being controlled by the fourth player and any shady dealings from the competitors. Whether being hit it the face with a beach ball, dodge ball, cutlery, or land mine sent your way by the fourth player or just dealing with being tripped by another competitor, you quickly realize this is not going to be an easy jaunt to the top of the stairs.

Dreadnought

The folks over at Greybox have been teasing us with Dreadnought for a couple of years now. Every hands on opportunity, it immediately jumps back to the top of the “must play” games list. They’ve recently made some adjustments to diversify the functionality of several of the ship classes and have expanded the ships available for selection to 15 from 5. The game play, play areas and effects are inspiring. Don’t be surprised to see Dreadnought compete for Game of the Year once it releases.

Heavy-Dreadnought-Grifter

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