PAX East 2023: Best Games from the Event

Discover the best games from PAX East 2023

pax east best games 2023

PAX East is one of the largest gaming conventions in North America, drawing in gamers from all around the world to celebrate the latest and greatest in the gaming industry. Every year, attendees eagerly anticipate the chance to try out the newest games and technologies before their release.

With so many exciting titles on display, it can be overwhelming to choose which games to play. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best games showcased at PAX East 2023, highlighting the features that make them stand out from the rest.

PAX East 2023: Best Games

Pacific Drive

pacific drive sedan woods pax east 2023
You need to drive into the Olympic Exclusion Zone.

One of the first games we came across at PAX East was a survival driving game set in the pacific northwest called Pacific Drive and developed by Ironwood Studios. From what we were able to play, the aim of Pacific Drive is to constantly upgrade your station wagon with the goal of navigating a technological hellscape known as the Olympic Exclusion Zone.

The game’s storyline was intentionally kept vague, with players encouraged to discover the details themselves.

pacific drive driving sedan pax east 2023
The sedan appears to be your “home base” .

While the demo had limited customization options, the system allows for potentially exciting ideas in the future. The graphics and environment were stunning, with dynamic landscapes, deadly electric traps, and radioactive hot zones.

The driving mechanics felt a bit heavy, but this may improve with in-game upgrades. Overall, Pacific Drive appears to be a unique and immersive survival game with plenty to explore, and we’re eagerly anticipating its release.

Dead Island 2

dead island 2 undead electric sword pax east 2023
Cutting zombies with electrified swords? Just Dead Island 2 things.

One of the largest games to demo at PAX East this year was the highly anticipated Dead Island 2, being showcased right as you walk onto the floor. After a hefty 45-minute wait, we were finally able to get our hands on about 15 minutes of gameplay.

During the demo, we found ourselves in an eerie carnival filled with the undead, all set against a dark and ominous nighttime backdrop. We were given a handful of weapons to try such as a katana, flaming axe, electrical wolverine-style gauntlets, sledgehammer, and even a few guns. All the weapons looked and felt great to use and were very much needed against surprisingly difficult enemies.

dead island 2 electric wolverine claws pax east 2023
The electric “wolverine” claws appear to be a fan-favorite.

What we played was clearly a linear mission meant to showcase aspects of the game, but the world as a whole seems like it will be beautiful upon release. The lighting at night in the carnival setting looked great and heightened the experience of the zombie-filled world.

There were a few minor bugs we noticed, for example when you throw your weapon it could be very difficult to pick back up. Hopefully, the little things get ironed out before its release. Overall this seems to be the Dead Island experience we were hoping for and we believe players will be very happy upon its release.


mahokenshiattackdamage pax east 2023
Strategically defeat your opponents with over 200 unique cards.

Out of all the games we experienced at PAX East 2023, Mahokenshi was easily our favorite and most pleasant surprise. Developed by Iceberg Interactive, the game is a deck builder with roguelike elements set on a 3D hexagon-style map with beautiful NPCs and effects.

mahokenshi tutotial pax east 2023
We love games with cards and games with hexagons. Mahokenshi has both.

Each turn you are given 4 mana, which is required to both move across the map and play cards. Certain terrain cost more mana to navigate which can be countered through movement cards in your deck. For example, moving into a field (or plain) space costs 1 mana, whereas moving into a forest terrain costs 2 mana.

As you travel through the beautiful world you will come across enemies which give you gold on defeat or may be part of the objective. You will also find opportunities to add cards to your deck and upgrade your character’s base stats.

Mahokenshi shopkeepers stall pax east 2023
Stock up on cards at the Shopkeeper’s Stall.

The deck building in the game works similarly to Slay the Spire; you can add cards to your deck, upgrade cards, and remove cards from your deck to streamline it if you so desire.

Mahokenshi’s gameplay is very addictive. We couldn’t stop talking about it even after leaving the showcase.

The game is out now and worth picking up for the very reasonable prize of $25. The developers couldn’t give any details but noted a large content release was on the horizon as well.

As we wrap up our coverage of the best games at PAX East, it’s clear that there’s plenty to be excited about in the gaming world. From the latest triple-A titles to the most innovative indie games, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. While we might have to wait a little longer for some of these games to release, the anticipation only makes the experience that much more thrilling. So whether you’re a lifelong gamer or just starting out, be sure to keep an eye out for these upcoming titles – you won’t want to miss them!

For more great gaming news, tips, and reviews, check us out at Shark Games.

Avatar of Tyler Vareski
Tyler has over 11 years of experience playing strategy games. He has a particular fondness for Europa Universalis IV, of which he has logged over 900 hours. Despite the challenges that come with playing a complex game like EU4, Tyler finds it incredibly rewarding and loves sharing his knowledge and strategies with fellow gamers. Outside of EU4, Tyler is a massive Star Wars junkie. He also likes 2K too much and doesn't eat enough vegetables.