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The Twenty Best Things We Saw At PAX East

We’re still coming down off our PAX high, and wanted to share some of our favorite things that we saw this weekend. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the coverage, this list (and the links in each entry) should point you in the direction of our favorite experiences.

20. Goliath (And Handsome Jack)
2K stole the show with an enormous statue of Evolve’s Goliath monster (complete with drool dripping from its maw). Handsome Jack was also on hand for pictures with the fans.

19. Cosplay
Gaming fans are a passionate bunch, and we saw some amazing costumes this weekend at PAX East.

18. Sniper Elite 3
One major change makes all the difference for the Sniper Elite series. In the last entry, enemies would hone in on you after a single sniper shot. Now, the AI reacts more realistically. And, of course, that X-Ray kill cam continues to impress.

17. The Gearbox Panel
Gearbox always puts on a great show at PAX. This year, dozens of cosplayers took the stage, David Eddings (the voice of Claptrap) sang Happy Birthday to a fan, and company president did a fantastic magic trick. Oh, and everyone in the audience got a free copy of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

16. Fenix Rage
Hardcore platform fans have something new to look forward to. Blending Sonic’s dash and Super Meat Boy’s challenge, Fenix Rage is a genre fan’s dream. Oh, and there are real cookie recipes to unlock.

15. Hitman Go
AAA franchises don’t often make a fluid jump to mobile, but Hitman Go is likely to be the exception. With a charming board game aesthetic and puzzles that are thematically in line with the source material, this is one to check out for your iPad.

14. Defense Grid 2
Tower Defense might not be in vogue right now, but we have a feeling that Hidden Path’s sequel might change that. With a host of improvements over its predecessor, this is one to keep an eye on for the fall.

13. State of Decay: Lifeline
A new map, new weapons, and new challenges await in the second State of Decay expansion. This time, you’re going to a military base to rescue civilians and airlift them to safety.

12. Airmech Arena
Falling in the same general “accessible MOBA” category as Awesomenauts, Airmech Arena combines the transforming robots of Robotech with fast-paced, twin-stick shooter gameplay.

11. Always Sometimes Monsters
Vagabond Dog’s upcoming RPG is unlike anything we’ve ever played. During our demo, we did some pretty terrible things.

10. Broforce
There is an excess of testosterone in gaming, but rather than ween itself off, Free Lives is doubling the dosage. This pixelated explosionfest is great, especially when played cooperatively.

9. Grey Goo
Petroglyph is changing up the RTS model a bit, by offering races designed around traditional genre playstyles. The key mapping gives players quick access to common functions, making this one fast and smooth. 

8. Gods Will Be Watching
One of the hardest point-and-click games we’ve ever played, Gods Will Be Watching will make you think and force you into challenging decisions. Can you survive against all odds?

7. Not a Hero
Roll7 is hot off its skateboarding success, OlliOlli. This title might not have the wheels, but it definitely has the style, flashy tricks, and absurd combos.

6. Hotline Miami 2
Dennaton’s follow-up to 2012’s neon-washed hit plays very similarly to the original, and that’s ok. There are some new skills to play with, but nothing deviates too significantly (that we know of).

5. Civilization: Beyond Earth
We’re suckers for Sid Meier games, and Firaxis has been on a roll with Civilization V and XCOM: Enemy Unknown. We’re ready to go to space this fall.

4. Darkest Dungeon
What do you get when you add the realities of dungeon crawling take a mental toll on the heroes? Red Hook’s Darkest Dungeon will answer that question (but not until 2015, much to our chagrin).

3. Evolve
Turtle Rock’s asymmetric shooter was on the cover of our February 2014 issue. The game has changed a bit since then, and we’re looking forward to playing more.

2. Below
Filled with mysteries and danger, Capybara Games’ Below is a different kind of procedurally-generated death machine. There are many secrets to uncover Below, and we’re very eager to start uncovering them.

1. Transistor
Bastion was a breath of fresh air when it released in 2011. Supergiant’s follow-up, Transistor, plays very differently, but it retains the charm and style we came to love about the kid and the narrator.

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