PAX Prime 2014 Impressions: VA-11 Hall-A

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

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PAX Prime 2014 | VA-11 Hall-A

I played a lot of unique games at PAX Prime this year. From space-crawling RPGs to egg-chucking platformers to Pokemon-like critter combat, I ran the whole gamut. With one exception. Only one game I played at PAX Prime was VA-11 Hall-A, a cyberpunk bartender sim being brought to the Vita soon.

Though I admit I haven’t played a lot of Vita games, simply because I have yet to find one to buy, this one got my attention. Not for the standard reasons, either. It wasn’t overtly flashy or gimmicky. It was quiet, chill and required gamer participation in the plot, which I always appreciate in a game.

PAX Prime 2014 | VA-11 Hall-A

The premise is a little hard to explain, but I’ll do my best. If Blade Runner had a threesome with Moe’s Tavern and Evangelion, VA-11 Hall-A would likely be the end result. You play the bartender, and like bartenders across the ages, you mix drinks and turn a compassionate ear to the tales of your patrons. And trust me, they have a lot to say. In the build I played there were only a handful of patrons to serve, but each and every one had a different personality and chatted me up as I served them. VA-11 Hall-A combines the best aspects of the visual novel genre with a simulation game. And it surprisingly works pretty well. Since this version of the game is a port to the Vita, courtesy of Wolfgame, it is slated to utilize the touch screen and other features exclusive to the system. Though there is a Prologue version on PC, Mac and Linux now, the Vita release will be the full version. My build was a little finicky with regard to hit boxes of items I selected, but soon I was bartending like a pro. If I recall correctly, the full release isn’t too far away, and it looks to be a lot of fun when it’s done. The sharp writing and colorful yet dreary graphics should make for a great game for Vita owners. Take a look at the trailer to see why!

About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.