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Our picks for PAX

PAX is one of the biggest video game conventions in the world. The Australian leg has been an annual event since 2013, and the 2015 convention is hitting Melbourne on October 30 through November 1.

If you've checked out the schedule already, you know that there will be more showcases, panels, cosplay and music than you can shake a joystick at.

But if all those options have you feeling a little overwhelmed, here are CNET's picks for what to see while you're there.

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Photo by: PAX Australia

May the PS4 be with you

If you missed out on the beta weekend (or played it for three days straight and still didn't slake your thirst), the PlayStation booth will give you another chance to go hands-on with Star Wars: Battlefront ahead of its November 19 release.

Meanwhile, fans of puckish rogue Nathan Drake can play the Uncharted Collection and see some gameplay footage from the upcoming Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Developer Naughty Dog's Arne Meyer will also be at PAX for signings a few panels.

The PlayStation booth will also have a playable demo of PlayStation VR on hand. It's a revolution in immersive gaming, and something you should brave the queues to experience for yourself. Just a few minutes of playing at Sydney's EB Expo was enough to make a VR believer out of this sceptic.

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Photo by: EA

What's in the Xbox?

If Xbox is your poison, then you'll be glad to hear that you can try out two massive titles. Halo 5: Guardians will be at the Xbox booth for multiplayer action, and the upcoming Rise of the Tomb Raider will also be on show.

As with last year, the ID@Xbox indie developer program will be a huge part of the Xbox booth.

The stand-out title here is the critically acclaimed Cuphead. Not only is the 1930's cartoon aesthetic gorgeous, the game itself is brutally hard. Grab a partner and get ready for cooperative boss battle madness.

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Photo by: Studio MDHR

Hands-on with handhelds

While the new multiplayer Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes for 3DS is worth checking out (especially if you can rope in a couple of friends and make a human totem pole), the one to watch at the Nintendo booth is Yo-Kai Watch.

Based on Japanese folklore, Yo-Kai Watch is already a cultural phenomenon in its home country. Make some time to try out the real-time Pokemon-style RPG.

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Photo by: Level-5

Fall in for Fallout

Unless you've been living in a concrete bunker (which might not be a bad idea with the forthcoming nuclear apocalypse), you've heard that Fallout 4 is coming.

The local Bethesda team will be presenting Fallout 4 a few weeks ahead of its release date, so wanderers can get an early taste of one 2015's most hotly anticipated games.

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Photo by: Bethesda

Glamorous indie rock and roll

While the big names in gaming will be making an appearance, PAX puts indie game developers front and centre.

The six games in the showcase represent the best of the Australian and New Zealand indie scene, so nothing you see here is likely to disappoint.

Hollow Knight is a beautiful platformer that might steal a few hearts on the show floor, but the realistic multiplayer hacking simulator Hacknet has been leading players down a deep rabbit hole since it was released in August.

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Photo by: Team Cherry

Even more indie games

That showcase isn't the be-all end-all of indie games at PAX, though, with dozens more on parade.

Take Inflatality. If you've ever wanted to vent your frustrations on an inflatable tube man, it's the game for you. Of course, you'll also be playing an inflatable tube man, so it's all fair and square.

Or, take GoatPunks, the "super hectic game about goats with bombs."

Then there's the stunning-looking physics-based racer Vector 36, which is making its debut.

Some huge hits from last year are even returning to the show, including Defect, the game where you build a space ship that your crew will then steal and use against you, and Screencheat, a shooter where everyone is invisible and the only way to find them is by yes, watching their screens.

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Photo by: Hojo Studio

Who needs a screen?

If board games are your thing, PAX still has plenty on offer. There's a dedicated area for board and card games with plenty of tournaments and demos.

In keeping with the PAX theme, Boardgames Australia is hosting an event showcasing local indie designers at 12 p.m. on Sunday, where you might find the next big thing in board games.

If you're after something more casual, the new Game of Thrones card game and Star Wars X-Wing, a dogfighting miniatures game, are both worth checking out, and there will be volunteers on hand to teach you how to play. Have fun claiming Iron Thrones or blasting Rebel scum.

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Photo by: Fantasy Flight Games

No escape from virtual reality

While I've already mentioned the PlayStation VR on offer at PAX (and again, be sure to stop by and check it out), it's far from the only VR experience at the show.

The Melbourne-based Zero Latency will have a small-scale demo of its tech at PAX. Zero Latency's full VR experience uses the floorspace of a converted warehouse to put players in a multiplayer zombie survival game, but the demo changes things up by basing the single-player game on a science experiment gone awry.

If sci-fi shenanigans aren't your speed, swing past Surprise Attack's booth to check out Blind. It's a VR psychological thriller that has you playing as a blind person who can only navigate via echolocation.

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Photo by: Bennet Ring/CNET

Talking the talk

Chances are, if you're at PAX it's because you take games pretty seriously. Luckily, PAX is filled with people who feel the same way.

Panels and talks run pretty much non-stop for the three days of the event, kicking off with the Storytime with Warren Spector keynote. The legendary developer of Deus Ex takes the stage at 10:30 a.m. Friday morning.

Be sure to check out the schedule for all the great panels on offer, but we'll be a bit shameless and say you should catch the CNET Australia team! You can see some of us on a few panels, including:

The Future of Gaming: What's Next For the Way We Play?

Actually, It's About Ethnics in Games Journalism

What if King Koopa Orders Pizza: Good Games Make Bad Movies

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Photo by: John Miller/CNET

Everything else...

PAX is really the kind of convention that encourages wandering around, poring over the program and diving into whatever looks good.

For isntance, Team 17 is demoing the latest Worms game! There are Spaceteam events!

From the e-sports competitions to the concerts to bleeding edge gaming tech, it's a full on three days for gamers. The hardest part isn't finding something, it's finding the time for everything.

PAX Australia 2015 is held at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on October 30 to November 1.

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Photo by: Team 17

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