Backlog: PAX 2014 edition

It's PAX!

This year Nick and Spencer will team up to provide coverage from the show floor over the next four exhausting days. If you're on-site, don't be shy! Tweet them (@nickcummings and @spencertordoff) or our site's account (@sasquatchgaming) to coordinate. They're very friendly dudes, and would be happy to take a break from navigating the convention center and say hello.

I'll be home in Portland, manning the Sasquatch digital headquarters and helping with content production. Sadly, I burned through my vacation hours earlier this month and couldn't make it to PAX -- adult stuff sucks, right?

In today's Backlog, Nick's ascending towers while I'm becoming infamous in a digital version of Seattle.

Nick

I find it hard to tell where the towers are actually falling

I find it hard to tell where the towers are actually falling

PAX is fast approaching, and I’ve been working to get all my ducks in a row before heading out to the expo. That’s meant letting games take something of a back seat this week in my priorities list, ironically, but I’ve still carved out a bit of time for some fun.

I’m about 15 hours into a game of Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Brave New World, the latest version of the inimitable strategy game. I played a good amount of Civ V when it originally launched back in 2010, but I hadn’t played at all since the expansions dropped. What I’ve found is a much more complex game, but not necessarily in a daunting way; instead, the new mechanics around cultural victories, tourism and religion all seem to fit in quite naturally with what was there before. Under my guidance, the Iroquois Nation has propagated its blue jeans and Broadway musicals to the far reaches of the earth, despite resistance from foreign leaders. Everyone wishes they had this much swag.

I’ve also been delving deeper into the demanding challenges of Towerfall Ascension. Matt Thorson’s incredibly refined four-player bow-’em-up is a joy to play alone or with friends, and the single-player campaign is hardcore enough to demand you keep honing your skills in order to progress. It’s the best sort of single-player mode for a multiplayer-focused experience in that it guides you through the acquisition of essential and transferrable skills for taking down your buddies in the multiplayer arena. If you have a PS4 or a PC and you love same-screen multiplayer combat, Towerfall is hard to top.

Aaron

Fetch practices her Needle work. (Like Arya, right? That’s a reference.)

Fetch practices her Needle work. (Like Arya, right? That’s a reference.)

The best thing about Infamous: First Light is Sucker Punch carried-over the photo mode from Second Son. Oh, and the game is as gorgeous as its predecessor.

So, to recap: The game looks great and I really like pretending to be a super-powered photojournalist. I'm playing the standalone expansion like a selfie-taking Peter Parker, essentially.

I'm only three missions into the story, but I've already collected every loose lumen (First Light's equivalent to the well-known shards, which you collect ad nauseum to level abilities) and cleared each race objective. It appears that Sucker Punch added a lot of time-attack and horde-mode objectives to increase the replayability of First Light, but that only devolves the experience into a form of tedium. Being very aware of the series' shortcomings, I didn't expect DLC (standalone or not) to adjust or improve the core gameplay, but I'm a bit disappointed that the collectibles are so easily collected and the story missions are more of the same from Second Son. Plus, Fetch isn't any more interesting than Delsin was. She could have been, but from what I've played she's just...boring.

Really, unless you identify yourself as a diehard Infamous fan, you're not going to miss much by sitting this one out. Play Second Son instead.