Slixshot's PAX Prime Adventure
  • Pax prime 2011 was the first prime I've been to. After going to pax east this year, I knew that the show would be nothing short of incredible, especially with the upcoming games this fourth quarter. Well, it's now over and I thought I would share my thoughts on my experience.

    Day 1*

    My first day of pax set the stage for what would be a great weekend. I arrived at the show around 8:30 and was able to explore the show floor, and get my hands on the games that were already set up. I found my way to the Bastion booth, where the entire team(12 people) were getting prepared to show off their game. Here I was able to chat with the company's head director for about a half-hour, and found out some pretty interesting stuff: He's only 27 years old, and he studied English through college. That was great for me to hear considering I know nothing about making games but my hope is to get into the industry. Anyway, after that conversation I scored a business card and a signed poster by the entire team (made my day).*

    games

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    Anyway, the first game I played at PAX Prime was Firefall and I must say it looks to be quite promising. This MMOFPS is going to be free to play, have little to no micro transactions, all the while offering some solid gameplay. So far the gameplay shown had been solely pvp, however at Pax firefall introduced the pve experience. For the 20 minutes or so I played of the game, I enjoyed myself. The missions were enjoyable and the small story had a bit of voice acting that kept me intrigued. As far as MMOs go, this looks to be quite interesting and I'll definitely be keeping an eye on it (especially because it's *FREE).

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    After firefall, I made my way over to halofest to participate in the tournament I had signed up for. This was the first time I had a got my hands on the title update coming to halo reach and some of the new maps coming with anniversary. HaloAnniversary looked fantastic and while the adjustments coming in the title update kicked my ass in the tournament, it was great to see a change coming to the year old game.

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    From the creators of Castle Cashers and Alien Hominid comes BattleBlockTheatre: a new side scroller which looks to include inventive platforming and slick cooperative gameplay. The game has a cartoony art style similar to the aforementioned games.While the behemoth keeps the info about their upcoming game fairly limited, that only adds to my anticipation for BBT.

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    Sometime throughout my first day, I found my way to the sixth floor which featured a whole slew of smaller companies. I was able to try out a handful of these indie games, and found myself pleased with all of them.*
    The first I got my hands on was Jamestown which is an incredible shmup that Sunny has reviewed and given his recommendation for. After a few minutes with the game myself, I can see why. Check out the review for more info.
    A Flipping Good Time was the second indie I played. Created by a couple of digitech students, this 2d sidescroller has the gameplay of VVVVV (or whatever it's called) combined with a pretty cool cartoon graphic style. Players are charged with the task of collecting small gems throughout each level while bending gravity to stay alive.*
    Fez{/b] is an upcoming indie game which shifts between 2d and 3d, relatively similar to Super Paper Mario on the wii. The game's art style follows a loveable 8 bit direction, and the character design is cute as well. Though, the depth to this game seemed quite expansive, and I look forward to seeing what it's truly about in the near future.
    [b]Snapshot
    is a game I've already seen. The game was shown off at PAXEast in Boston earlier this year, but I didn't give it the light of day. I'm glad I had a chance to check it out again, because this game looks great. Graphically, it looks like a classic supernintendo game, similar to Super Mario World. The gameplay is what really caught my attention though, having players take photos throughout the game in order to solve puzzles and obstacles later on!
    Finally, Solar 2 proved itself to be something worth my time. I never get into the whole simulation games, and this game looked like that galaxy simulator on steam to me. But, when I crossed by the booth, the game showed me why I should pay attention. The utter chaos of Solar 2 is awesome! Crashing planets and forcing orbiting objects to ram into others. The game was surprisingly nuts!

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    When I was finished with the sixth floor, I made my way down to the expo hall again. Xbox Live Arcade have been my games of choice as of late, so I decided to check out what was in store for the coming months.*
    Crimson Alliance is the first game made by Certain Affinity, a company which has been creating maps for games such as Halo and Call of Duty. Knowing this, I was fairly excited to try out this upcoming release. Sadly, my expectations were not met. After playing the dungeon crawler for a full level of the campaign, I didn't really enjoy much of the game. In comparison to a game like Torchlight 2, I find it hard to recommend this game (at least off of my impressions), especially with this holiday lineup.

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    Sonic CD is making a triumphant return! Coming to XBLA (not sure about psn) is one of the greatest sonic games out there. With its retro soundtrack and graphics remastered for widescreen play, I was happy to see the blue balls return. However, the pricing on the game better not exceed 800 msp!
    Orcs Must Die has been around since at least Pax East this year. From what I played, the OMD gameplay revolves around a combination of tower defense and third person shooting. This unique gameplay combined with a humorous cartoon art style equates to a game I'm looking quite forward to. The various ways to kill orcs, be it spikes, walls of arrows, or your own sword had me wanting more by the time I was finished.

    Panels
    The panels I made certain to check out this year were mainly centered around *getting into the gaming industry. The first panel I attended was about just that. Featuring a handful of women who were currently developing games, I was told to "never give up" and a bunch of other inspirational mumbo jumbo, but I also learned that my current decision of Marketing as a focus is actually a pretty good one.
    My second panel was the IGN gamescoop podcast. With the normal cast and a hilarious topic of hate mail, I loved every minute of what the panel offered.*
    The last panel I saw on Friday was another about breaking into the industry. My takeaway from this panel was that the industry is big, there are plenty of jobs, and plenty of ways in.

    Day 2*

    Taking full advantage of my badge, I entered the hall around 8am. Sadly a ton of booths weren't even close to ready. For about 45 minutes I searched for games to test out before the masses were let in at 10, and I finally found a great treat.*
    Games

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    Batman:ArkhamCity is one of my most highly anticipated games of all upcoming releases, and I finally got my hands on it. Apparently, Rocksteady had us playing the E3 demo, so my guess is that this was just a small build of the project, but my god, it was awesome. The demo started you out playing as cat woman for the first time, and while I was a little hesitant to this idea at first, the gameplay changed that perception around! She was quick and sexy (really, she was pretending to make out with guys before she flipped them over and broke their arms), only reaffirming my preorder of the collectors edition. The demo continued to where you played as batman, getting into the courthouse where two face and his goons were. Gameplay for the dark knight has changed very little, but when you have a near perfect combat system already, no change is a good thing. I tried not to pay attention to the story, simply because I want the game to surprise me at launch, but from what I can tell, it's going to be huge.

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    With about 30 minutes remaining before the crowd would stampede in, I searched for games that I would have trouble getting to play. Sadly, skyrim and rage wouldn't allow anyone to play before hours, but I already know I'm buying those eventually. Guild Wars 2 ended up taking the rest of my time. I'll keep it simple: this MMO is the MMO to get excited for. Gameplay is smooth, graphics rock, and the content is there. This game will most likely benchmark the next generation of MMOs and I'll gladly support it.

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    The crowd had joined me inside the floor by this time and I'm now looking for a small line to hop into. Queue Gotham City Imposters, my surprise of the show! GCI is a downloadable FPS coming in early 2012 with the concept: fake batman fanboys vs fake joker fanboys. The game has sweet blend of cartoon and realistic graphics and gameplay reminiscent of CoD. However, there are small twists such as perks, weapon load outs and character customization which had me hooked. I asked one of the game's developers if there would be more than the single game type we were able to play (territories) and he said the game would offer about a handful of them. Off of my initial impressions, this is a day 1 buy for me.

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    Bungie has recently done something quite unexpected and made itself a publisher. The company plans to be the launchpad for many indie developers and it's wonderful to see them support the smaller companies. Crimson is the first of their published games and it's releasing on iOS soon! Crimson is a tactical game where you control a bunch of boats from an overhead view. You fight other boats, and manuaevre to the best position to take them down. The game has perks, various ships, and will be free for the first chapter. Looks to be a solid deal.

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    Somehow, the nintendo booth had some openings at one point, so I snagged the chance to try out The Legend of Zelda:Skyward Sword. Prior to playing the game, I had been a little hesitant with the motion plus and how it made Link hold his sword in such an odd manor, but I honestly didn't notice when I was playing. Additionally, the gameplay benefited from the more accurate tracking; players need to be more tactile, concerned with the direction they swing their sword, and what item to use against certain foes. All in all, nintendo never fails to put out a fantastic experience, and I'm not worried about this one.

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    I ended my gaming for the day at the Goldeneye reboot. This was my second disappointment of the show. The game may have pretty good looks, but the gameplay offers nothing but another standard FPS. Time will tell how the final product is, but I'm not holding my breath.

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    The last game I saw, was Quantum Conundrum. This game is being created by the girl who came up with portal, and it certainly shared some aspects. You play as a boy with a crazy scientist for an uncle. Your uncle has invented a device that allows you to alter dimensions, from fluffy to slow motion, there are 5 in total. The art style is very childlike, which had me thinking of dr.Seuss. In Quantum Conundrum, there are compani... I mean safes that are used to get through puzzles. As well as a monitor of the house named Gla... I mean dolly. Don't get me wrong, these similarities aren't a bad thing at all, but it's impossible to not think the idea came from portal. Overall, the puzzles looked really fun and for a downloadable game, I'm pretty much sold.

    Panels and noobtoob
    Day 2 was a fun day for panels. I went to two in total, one in the afternoon and one at night.*
    The first was for becoming an indie developer where they gave some pretty solid advice about getting started. The most important being manage money and learn from others before going indie.*
    The second coincided with the noobtoob meetup. Finally meeting up with the guys (and girls) from the forum was kick ass. We did some tourneys, went to the dragon age panel ( some of us did ) and took a great photo for the memory books. The time flew by, and I thought I'd miss everyone, but the forum is still here so it's not like we're going anywhere.*
    Also, special shoutout to Gameshark for letting me grab that lithograph <3. I already have a frame shipped for it. :)<br />Anyway, the dragon age panel was pretty cool with the surprise guest of Felicia Day and her upcoming web series dragon age redemption trailer. The devs also had promising ideas, which probably raised everyone's future expectations.

    Day 3

    The final day of pax prime was probably my most uneventful, though I did see some fairly interesting booths.*

    I arrived at the show around nine, unsure of what I hadn't seen that I actually wanted to. Sure there is Uncharted, Rage, and skyrim, but like I said, I already know I'm going to get those. Nevertheless, there wasn't really anything open yet, until I stumbled across a huge game of 2012.

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    *Mass Effect 3 had it's booth all set and actually had a few people playing the game. I hopped in and joined the action. Here, I really just wanted to see how the game played, skipping all of the dialogue so I don't give anything away. Mass Effect 3 will play like one can expect: a third person shooter that's a little slow because of the rpg elements. This is no Uncharted. The game plays like a finely tuned ME2 (which I enjoy) and the addition of rolling and super beat downs is quite fun. One thing I noticed was the voice acting during battle. The most recent trailer tried to illustrate the work that has gone into this, but didn't do a great job at it. From what I saw in the demo, it's been greatly improved.*

    For god knows what reason, I chose to wait in line to see xcom instead of borderlands 2. The booth took me an hour to get through, and showed me no gameplay. Biggest waste of time, but I'll live.

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    Capcom's Dragon's Dogma was close by and had little wait, so I hopped onto some of that. To my surprise, the game was pretty fun, though the screen was tearing like no other. Regardless, it looked graphically impressive, and the gameplay reminded me of a demons souls kind of game. I'll be interested to see more from capcom in the future.

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    counterstrike was Valves game demoed at pax, and it looks solid. Pretty graphics and counterstrike gameplay (take it as you will) and it's coming to consoles. While I wanted to see more from valve than just counterstrike, it wasn't a bad showing.
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    I only passed by these, but I wish I had a chance to get my hands on them: Sonic Generations and Final Fantasy xiii 2. Sonic had the first level from adventure 2 running and it was looking very pretty. Final fantasy had a gameplay trailer which looked promising. I have my eye on both of them. :)
    The final two games I played were indie games in the main hall. One of them (I forget the name) is an iOS game coming out which has a comet in the stars. Simply tap the screen to orbit around said stars, and players whip the comet into a different direction. The objective is to create constellations by connecting stars. The game had atmospheric tunes that matched the games concept and a nice 8bit graphic style.
    The hd conversion of Spelunky was the final game I played at pax prime. It's a 2d game where players dig for gold, save captured girls, and blow up enemies. There's a cute cartoon art style that boasts the game's casualness, but the game seems to be something to pick up every now and again for good fun. Oh, and it features 4 player coop.

    Panel
    Halo 4 was the final panel I went to, though I wish I had gone to the gearbox one later in the day. Anyway, I was incredibly pumped for this panel and to hear what the new devs had to say about my prized franchise. While it's available online to watch, here's what I took from it: they want it to be Halo, it's going to have great music and sound effects, and the story is going to be more emotional. The reclaimer trilogy looks to have a big emphasis on the forerunners and Chief's relationship with cortana. The panel ended with some kick ass artwork that I always appreciate.

    Overall
    That about wraps it up. As you can see, I didn't check out the most popular of the games available in the upcoming months, but most of what I saw did leave me quite happy! The swag I got is downright incredible, and the Noobtoob meet up was a success. This trip was a great way to end my summer.

    ______________________

    If you see any errors, let me know.
  • Awesome! I'm glad you had so much fun. :)
  • Brisby said:
    Awesome! I'm glad you had so much fun. :)


    I sure did :) hope this kinda gave an insight as to what happened at the show
  • Man, it sounds like you had a blast there. what were the adjustments in Halo Anniversary (that lead to your getting handed to you after all the practice you did!!)?
  • monochromaticx said:
    Man, it sounds like you had a blast there. what were the adjustments in Halo Anniversary (that lead to your getting handed to you after all the practice you did!!)?


    The title update does a lot of changes. The three shot pistol from halo 1 is making it's return as of right now..
  • I still can't believe I managed to lie my way into getting that lithograph. Were you able to get it signed outside after?
  • Gameshark said:
    I still can't believe I managed to lie my way into getting that lithograph. Were you able to get it signed outside after?


    Hell yeah ma man! Although, they gave me a couple funny looks when I asked for only one to be signed :)
  • All edited! If you see any errors that you think should be fixed, let me know! If not, I hope you enjoy.
  • Thanks for the great seats in the Dragon Age panel, Slix. You're a good guy. I'm glad we got to meet.

    Firefall did look really good, but then again, when you pay as much as they did for all that advertising and stuff, any game will look good. If it comes out for Xbox (I don't think it will however), I'll give it a look.

    I'm not sure what Sonic Generations is, but I played the 3DS Sonic and it was terrible! The 3D looks really good when you're doing slow; you could see around trees and platforms stood out really well, but since Sonic is all about fast, when you're doing the "normal Sonic thing" everything turns blurry and shitty. I don't think Sonic in 3D will ever work that great.

    Guild Wars 2 was much improved this year as opposed to last. Last year, it was a fruity and colorful WoW-clone. This year, it looked a lot better and it was re-designed a bit to give it that originality that GW had. This game will do good things, I can tell.

    Skyward Sword was pretty nice. The motion plus deffinitely helps in the boss fight. I was a little disapointed that this was basically the only playable Wii game (other than 1 tv dedicated to Rhythm Heaven Wii, which isn't my interest). Zelda comes out in less than 2 months, I was hoping Nintendo could have given us more variety of games other than just filling every console with Zelda. Oh well, it was still a nice demo at least :)

    Nice write up overall, Slix. This was deffinitely my favorite PAX (out of the 2 I've been to so far).

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