Teg's PAX East Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Dance!
Ok, I know I am late with this one, but by the time I got home and over the past few days I have been tired and work did not slow down also. So I finally am going to take some time to document the final day where I was fully made into a zombie. You wake up after an event like this and as much as you like it, your body tells you that this cannot keep going on. Especially after dancing the night away at the curse party, I realized on Monday that I did not have the strength to shift my car into reverse. Let’s jump into what the final day had to offer.
Waking up was especially hard after the party at Curse. I knew I would hate myself, but in the end it was worth that night. It was going to be another question if it was worth doing PAX for the final day. Only time could tell, and it was a question I was willing to go find out. I showed up to PAX around 9 am to pick Blueonic and KBD up, since I had been driving into PAX every day and they had a room. First item for those who were not following the coverage of PAX was the round table at 10 am. Everyone in the media area was amazing with helping set up this discussion, and providing us with a table and internet access that was not wireless. This was the ESH sit-down and summation of the first two days of PAX, and you should be able to catch it on the B3 UStream channel if you want to see and hear the details. The summation of this conversation would be that PAX was amazing, but would be better if we got support and a showing of Activision, EA, and other major publishers that day-by-day seem to care less about the people that support them. I would love to see EA pay for a convention like this if only to make themselves not look like all they want is money. My ranting aside, great conversations were had.
After our cast was done, it was back off to the floor for what few interviews that we could come up with and a final sweep of the floor. Most of this day was booked by 2K Games and seeing what they had to bring to the stage. Our first round was playing Borderlands 2, Spec Ops: The Line, and a preview of XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
So Duck, Blueonic, and I sat down at the Borderlands 2 booth first to see what Gearbox was up to. We were originally going to split the sessions, but that would soon change. I loved playing the original Borderlands, so I was going to watch Blue play it first and then take over. As I watched I realized how long it had been since he had played, and I was ending up telling him what to pick, what to do, and yelling at him to put points in his talent tree. I think at this point he realized what a fan I was and handed the controller over to me, the back seat driver so I could set everything up and play.
We had picked the Siren as I loved the running and SMGs of the original game, and I could not wait to see how the class played. Quickly I saw that the talents were completely different and I confirmed in the interview that everything on that end was changed. After placing many points in the special powers and the survival skills based on it as I did not know how well my partner would play, I ran off to kill stuff. We were faced with a crab like creature who had crystals protecting critical strike area's on his legs. As we killed these and moved forward I learned that my partner had also not been at my level of play so the new special power of locking up an enemy in a distortion bubble came out working extremely well. I was able with the new power to either stun a target and take it down, or stun a target to fight later on.
The basic concepts from the game are still there so getting into the new one was really easy and seemed like an upgraded version of the first. I quickly marked quests on the map and kept moving forward hoping that I would make it to a boss battle. I succeeded in my rush and was rewarded with a 50-foot crab to kill while my partner was trying to figure out where he was. Okay, I must confess that I had played the original Borderlands recently, so I was accustomed to what I was going to face; and I did die once, but I was able to revive myself unlike my partner. I ended up killing the boss and getting some extra time to run around the level exploring before time was called and we ended the session.
The interview also revealed that many interesting additions to this game including a new damage type and an expansion to the artifact system that will make every class even more unique then before. I was also happy to hear that each class is good with all weapons instead of making someone focus on just shotguns or SMGs. Catch the rest of the audio interview to get the full effect, any way I am already planning on spending a lot of my already little free time playing this game. Gearbox has always been an amazing group of people. I would love to get my hands on Borderlands 2 when it comes out, and I will probably come back to do a full review of the time I did get to play.
The next stand that we went to was for Spec Ops: The Line. I took more of a back seat on this because I hogged the Borderlands 2 play, and I was quickly realizing that I was dehydrated from all the time running around. This was also a game that it seemed Duck was looking forward to as much as I was looking forward to Borderlands 2. I sat back and watched amazing visuals of a city taken over by a sandstorm and destroyed by conflict. I can tell you from watching the game that the artists should get a commendation for all their work setting a great tone for what looked like an interesting FPS. I watched combat happen over dunes, in planes, and through a skyscraper. This was all single player content that I was watching, but it easily made me interested in what happened and what type of world the character was located in. Duck currently has an article up on this so I will not take this game away from him, go take a look as he had the most hands on and interview setup.
Next up would be a game known as XCOM. If you have played it, you might love it or be completely frustrated with the original. This game started off its life with an amazingly hard difficulty and was a love it or hate it title. So what is this new game like then? Well if you loved cheap deaths then I am told you will be disappointed because this game is based on decision and not luck like the earlier games. It is a turn based strategy game where you control members of a squad, and set up their weapons and training. In fact you can build the base that your troops will live in after every mission.
XCOM has a nice little tactical setup where if you get a team member killed then he will not come back at the end of the mission. I love to see games that have consequences for messing up, as to many games now seem to hold a players hand. The way this game was designed is so you can build a custom squad that you will care about and be able to follow through all the missions. Since nobody wanted to answer questions about the multi-player I decided to ask if there was a random component to this game to extend multiple play through. It turns out that there are so many levels that were made; it should take you a very long time to start seeing repeats. This game sounds interesting; making many more comments on it would require a sit down play session that was not being offered at the time. All we can do for now is research and wait to see what is offered.
After the 2K Games lineup was done, we had some time before the Fire Fall interview and play through. We decided to walk around and see what we might have missed. We came across a nice little indie game known as Drunken Robot Pornography. In its current state it is a shooter about picking up power ups and defeating a boss for each month of the year. This game plays like a boss battle endurance match with a score system to see if you can top your friends at it. We were told that there is also a boss-building section to this game where you can make a custom boss for your friends to try and complete. I always try and support the indie companies because they inspire amazing new idea's to the community, so go out and buy some indie games. You never know what you will find.
Ok, I have been harping on the Red 5 interview for Firefall, and the time has finally come. We had a special computer in a little hidden area in their booth. This was an interesting interview with Red 5's James Macauley, because it was less of a play and ask questions session. We were able to do the interview while playing the game, so it was more of a walkthrough with questions while we played. So what is this game that I got to play and was making such a big deal about?
Well it is a 3rd/1st person shooter (you can decide what you like) with an RPG component. This is not a tacked-on part like most games, you get levels and stats along with a PVE aspect. This is really like if Borderlands were to be combined with Team Fortress. You can run around with friends gathering resources and building weapons and gear along with a fully built in team competitive mode for PVP. I would like to stress also that this is not an MMOFPS in the fact that you will not be spending hours getting to a max level in order to compete with people. I would say that it takes the approach that guild wars did, give people the option to decide what they want to do when they start.
So you get your normal TF2 base classes of dreadnaught, recon, medic, engineer, and soldier to choose from. Each one of these classes has its own play style and special powers, and you can change between the classes as you play so there is no need to create a new profile. I have not had a chance yet to try the PVP aspect, but in the PVE I have placed a tiny "Thumper" and I have defended it from waves of bug-like creatures. I am told that the starting town that you are in can be controlled by assaulting enemy force and a community event to retake the location will happen, so dynamic events around the world will be common place.
The map shows a grey area around the starting location that if you go outside your link to data (radar on map) will not work, and in future patches you will be able to build relays to stop this effect. From the little time I had to play this game I see lots of potential in it, and I look forward to playing more. (Take a listen to my walkthrough interview with Red 5 whenever you get the chance.) I plan on a LAN party for my favorite PAX games this weekend after I move to my new house, and Firefall will be the first game I will play when I get the chance.
It was time to head home and go back to my normal life, and as much as I did not want to I was more tired during this weekend then I have been after a long week of work. My PAX experience has renewed my love of games and the culture that follows them even more, and makes me want to put more effort into the development of my own personal project. I have many full reviews to make, and with a list of games still in beta it makes time short to write them. If you have not seen a game reviewed here that I have shown interest in, then it is because I am looking for the time to get the most out of the review.
I have many keys to games that I think deserve screenshots and a more in-depth look than I can give them in this journal. Expect many reviews to pop up in the near future (if work allows me time) about many of my PAX games that I have mentioned. I hope the developers will hang in there for a little longer as I sort my life out and try to make reviews at the same time. I still want to make a video review site in the very near future, so I will probably even double review many of the games I have played now. For those who have looked at these epic walls of text I hope they have added an understanding of the coming games and PAX in general. Now get out there and play some games!