Hi Everyone! PAX this year was amazing. I was extremely glad I was able to go and cover this for you. Unfortunately I did have to go alone so its been a lot of work on the recap, I do apologize for the delays. There was a ton of stuff to look at from Firefall to all the new 3DS titles like Kid Icarus: Uprising, Super Mario 3DS, and Mario Kart 3DS. I’ll go in depth below and review all the games I was fortunate enough to play. Lines were long, spirits were high and it was totally full of energy. See below for all the images, videos and feel free to ask any questions or leave a comment below.
A quick Walkthrough Around the Nintendo booths.
I was in shock when I saw princess peach. She was super cute and totally looking just like princess peach!
Hands On Gameplay
Nintendo PAX Coverage
Super Mario 3DS:
It feels like Nintendo is capitalizing on a ton of remakes for the 3DS. This one was done well, albeit there are a few things that in my opinion need to be adjusted. I’ll give you the quick run down of how it plays. This game controls well in 3D space, the graphics pop tremendously and its pretty to look at. It definitely has a feeling of classic Mario, Mario 64 and Galaxy all mixed together. The camera angles are a little tricky at times, and in fact took me 2-3 tries to just jump at the flag pole because the camera wouldn’t allow enough rotation to see it properly. Other than that it has a free form feel to it with mini flags to hold your spot, kind of like the Sonic red/yellow markers. The puzzles are fun and yes the Tanooki Suit is back! I didn’t want to stop playing. This will be something to definitely pick up around the holidays.
Kid Icarus: Uprising 3DS:
This was one of my most anticipated plays, so I was worried this wouldn’t live up to the hype. At first, I was a little put off by the controls, the Nintendo rep was chatting with me and guiding me on how it functions as I played. Once you get a feel for how it works the gameplay is a lot of fun, with plenty of variety. The analog moves you left and right and you use the stylus to aim and turn around in 3d space and you shoot with the Left Bumper. The graphics are also simply amazing, I think this is the best looking 3DS title yet to come out, both the 3d and graphics are extremely rich and the content pulls you into the story. I started off flying in the sky shooting enemies with my bow then down on the ground slashing and hacking my way through town until I made it to an arena where I had my first boss fight which was pretty and fun to play as well. Over all, I was very satisfied with this title and definitely recommend checking it out. Its fun, has good story, full of colorful animations and has plenty of variety. I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to check out the AR cards my time was up, however they did pass out a bunch of free cards after gameplay so I have them for when the game comes out.
Mario Kart 3DS:
It’s hard to beat a classic, that’s all I have to say. However, I feel like Nintendo brought a lot to the table on this one with new features like Kart customizations and I mean both the way the kart looks and how it functions, its really fun to do. There is actually some good strategy play that pulls in because different customizations work better in certain environments, etc. The line was definitely long to get a hands on demo play. The controls are that classic Mario Kart feel, the new features with hang gliders, which rock and underwater gameplay, the graphics have been totally revamped. This plays really well in 3D space. It was a joy to see and play. This is a must have to play online and with your friends, and yes it will have both online and local multiplayer play. I don’t really have that much to say other than definitely pick it up when it comes out you will not be disappointed.
I jumped in line for this title and got to play after some little kid got frustrated and walked away, haha. The controls on Shinobi took a couple of seconds to figure out mainly because it was mid level when I got my hands on it, and enemies were all over. To be honest they aren’t that bad. The cool aspect is the controls work with the 3d environment, for example: you can throw your grapple chain up at the ceiling pull yourself up and on the roof. So you get to see all the spaces of the game and explore. After the basics were figured out, I realized how smooth gameplay was. The graphics were crisp and clean and the 3d was pretty detailed and popped a lot. Overall, it was a fun experience and something worth checking out.
Sonic Generations 3DS:
First let me start off by saying I’m a big sonic fan. I’ve played them all. I care for some more than others, I’m not getting into that though. This game was fun but the demo was laid out poorly. I started on a boss fight. It felt like a classic Sonic 1 or Sonic 2 game. It was pretty, colorful and the 3D looked nice….however, the 3d just looked nice, unlike Kid Icarus: Uprising you can’t use the 3d space and move around. In Sonic Generations its merely there for background looks. The boss moved in and out of 3d space while gameplay remained 2d which was really frustrating when you try and chase down someone and have to just stand there. It left me feeling like I could do nothing but wait for the boss to swing around again and threw my timing off, it wasn’t fun and strategic just felt ill executed. Once I got to the levels I was more at ease. The gameplay plays true to the classics except its a lot better looking, I had a lot fun playing the levels. This is a game you can pick up and play for a little put down pick it up later and not care where you’re at in the story, its pretty entertaining but your not too invested in it. Should you check it out? Sure, but I won’t be waiting for it.
Zelda Skyward Sword Wii:
This a hot one to play. Everyone was in line and it took nearly an hour to get to. Zelda Skyward Sword plays amazing, it truly takes advantage of the Wii MotionPlus, so if you try and plan on playing it without, you won’t be able to. The game had 3 different options to play in, the sky bird riding, dungeon boss or dungeon puzzle. I did the bird riding and had some time left over for a partial boss fight. The bird riding experience was pretty unique. It was awkward at first try, in fact the first fun when I ran to dive off the deck I fell to my doom. Once the controls were figured out it was super easy to maneuver and takes advantage of the MotionPlus. You didn’t have to overexert yourself in making Link move up and down and curve and right while on the bird. The boss encounter was creepy, weird, challenging and very fun. You have this person exchanging words with you then sticking their tongue out at you in a weird dirty way then the fight is on. The boss included sword fights, he threw cluster of daggers at you and moved around like no ones business. I wound up eating dirt a few times on this but eventually got it. Skyward Sword is definitely a title worth picking up, this game is going to be a great hurrah for the Wii.
Rhythm Heaven Wii:
This was a rare cool treat to play. I saw this out of the corner of my eye. I was chatting with a Nintendo rep and we were talking about music and being in bands, etc. He mentioned they had a Japanese arcade game they were currently porting and bring over to the US and they had the demo sitting right there. No one was playing it because the monitor was shut off but he ran over and flipped it on and let me have a spin. Let me say for not reading Japanese, I understood the controls based on the graphical displays and music. This was an extremely fun play with 3 different difficulty settings. First level was eating, you stabbed your fork into the table trying to capture a bean as it was shot at you from across the table. Being on time wasn’t too hard this was the easy setting on the first level, it progressively got harder but the music was awesome and very fun. Second level, was a nina slicing demons from the woods in a very Samurai Jack type of expression, so it was fun and pleasant to look at. It was hilarious too because the Samurai was dancing along with the music as you hacked demon creatures in the woods. The gameplay on the 2nd level on medium difficulty proved to be a challenge, if you got too invested in what you were looking at you got off time. The third level on hard difficulty was hilarious. You are a dog and cat flying in the sky playing badminton, if you don’t know what that is google it its like tennis but with a tiny looking rocket thing. The music for this was great and the gameplay was challenging as you hit the badminton back and forth from plane to plane, the depth was intense as they flew in and out of space. Again, if you get distracted by the cool animations and graphics you will lose and get off time, they even had cutscene movies and animations to through you off with little holes to see though what was happening. Overall, this experience was fun and challenging had some good music tracks and will be a fun party game or solo game at home for you Wii. I highly recommend checking it out.
Sony PAX Coverage
Above you’ll see people playing Resistance 3. When I jumped in at the booth there was two rows of players 4 people on each side so 16 in total playing against each other with two teams. All the headsets were connected which was great so we could all wave and meet each other before the battle begun. At first glance I had to keep checking to make sure I was playing Resistance 3 because the graphics were amazing, it had a Gears of War 3 vibe but way more realistic. I actually very much enjoyed the graphics. The starting gameplay was challenging. I cursed at the prior person that used my station. Resistance 3 offers many customizable options for controls, this lousy player prior to me inverted both the x and y axis. So moving right moved left and so forth. After that was taken care of and fixed the game started. Gameplay was fun, it was only a multiplayer demo straight on team deathmatch. Game mechanics were obvious and simple shoot the opponent with the left triggers focusing on aim and right triggers focusing on shooting primary and secondary weapons. You can literally pick this up and go a lot of basic controls like running and melee work like every other FPS so that was relieving and made this pretty enjoyable. Our team won. In the end they played teaser footage of story gameplay which looks interesting compared to the other Resistance games, so I think if your curiosity is peaked I would check it out, I most definitely will be.
I wasn’t able to get my hands on this beauty because the lines were so terribly long. However, we were able to get some quick gameplay of footage see below. The game Raccoon City is different from all the rest of the Resident Evil games. You literally play in some very familiar scenes from Resident Evil 2 and you are playing as an Umbrella Corp operative. So the story and viewpoints you see on this game are vastly different than the gameplay that was in done in the past. It adds new vitality to the series and a different dimension I’m sure that lots of people were always curious about. This game looks worth checking out, gameplay looks smooth the graphics are great, and the story-line is a unique perspective on the Resident Evil story-line.
Microsoft PAX Coverage
Rise of Nightmares Kinect Xbox 360:
This was a game that attracted a large following. They had hot lady zombies (if thats even possible) interacting with the people as they walked by and some zombie’s in cages. Inside a dark jail cell is where the Kinect gameplay experience happened depicted above, which was pretty cool. I had hands on this one, that is not me above obviously but I wanted to capture side by side interaction and gameplay as it happened and the folks at the booth were kind enough to let me film it. So starting off they introduce you to the controls, and I was very skeptical that this was going to be a good experience. After I learned how to move which was moving your torso and hand forward and to turn it was the same, if you turned your body your character turned. It all worked well, and things started rolling. When you stop and place your hand out flat you get the option to pick up items and then you can wave your hands around to hack and slash. Gameplay started off slow but in the end you wind down a corridor hacking and slashing a few zombies and then wind up in the basement and you get to play with chainsaws. Overall, its campy and cheesy but really a lot of fun, I was surprised and give it thumbs up. Definitely something to play with the friends or just casual. Its definitely gory and bloody so be warned its not for the feint of heart. See video below for some extended gameplay.
Can you see who our new lead character in Borderlands 2 is holding?! Yep, that’s right its me.
This was a game I definitely got my hands on. I met Juliet above she looked pretty close to the game mascot which was hilarious and she was really sweet. She had this chainsaw she was carrying around, I had to share that with everyone. This game was in the Warner Brothers game area. This was demoed on the Xbox360 but I asked and they said it would also be out on the PS3 as well. This game is full of personality and design, blood, gore, sex and Rockin Roll. So, this game is a zombie slasher but with the main character being a hot cheerleader with a chainsaw that has multiple add ons. The graphics are amazingly cool, this is a design heavy game, which means stylistically it stands out. They make heavy use of bright, vibrant and colors that just pop. Each scene felt designed well, they also had amazing use of typography which surprised me for example. One boss screams at our main character Juliet Which i’ll have to censor for kids “You FU@&#!@ BIT@%” and all these letters form together are styled and come launching at your character and you have to dodge them. Its a unique play experience for sure. The controls are simple, you have your cheerleader pom poms which are used for crowd control and breaking apart zombies if they cluster on you. Then you have your chainsaw and can do on the ground attacks or in the air attacks and mix and match with tons of fun combos. If you decapitate zombies you get bonus points and you move a lot faster so the goal is to decapitate as many zombies as possible. Overall, I had a fun experience, if you are into zombie games then you’ll love this. The style and approach are unique enough to lend itself to be checked out by anyone a fan of this genre. There is a ton of bad language, sexual behavior and brutal violence mixed with awesome rock and roll music so if any of that sounds appealing its worth checking out!
PC PAX Coverage
Firefall had a huge following at this PAX conference. Red 5 Studios blew it up. They hosted a scavenger hunt, where they gave you daily quests to do like taking photos with certain staff, finding posters around PAX, etc. In the process earning points and crystals, which you would turn the crystals in for swag like hats, shirts, posters, figures, etc. They had a huge mechanical statue setup that actually worked and the machine in it moved around. I have a photo of that said statue below with me in it for the scavenger hunt.
They also had two game arenas, on one side there was a PVE area (Player versus Enviornment) and on the other side there is was a PVP area (Player Versus Player). They had really cool PVP contests happening that they broadcasted and announced and hooked the winners with cool gear. Check out the video for a snippet of gameplay below. Overall, I’m pretty excited about this game it was tremendously fun and you should definitely check it out.
The few photos above are from the NC Soft area. Both games that are featured are Guild Wars 2 and Wildstar. Both games which are online MMOs by NC Soft. Guild Wars 2 has come a long way in the making. They had a few PVP fights staged for everyone to view and a lot of demo booths setup which were swarming as you can see in the photos above. The controls of this game feel a lot more fluid than the original Guild Wars and the graphics blow the old game out of the water. You can actually jump in this game and swim like in popular MMO titles World of Warcraft. It feels like Guild Wars 2 had to do a lot of catch up because they were greatly behind in regards to MMO standards. This beta was great, awesome layout, beautiful graphics and gameplay felt natural, it by far supersedes a lot of MMOs that’s currently out there and the fact that its free to play makes it even better. Now there are some hit stat issues where you can walk through bosses and dragons and see polygons which isn’t appealing but its rare and since its still in beta it will be changed. The most popular discussion was when does the Guild Wars 2 come out? …Well NC Soft stated numerous times….when its done. After speaking with a few of my friends that are developers there I realized its a lot closer than everyone may realize. I wont say specifically to protect those people but look for it soon maybe this year in the fall.
Wildstar is a unique game, it has a fun stylistic approach, it feels like Jax for some reason but online MMO. This MMO title handles fluidly as well. It plays in a way where if you were soaked into the story you wouldn’t realize its an online MMO title, thats due to the fact that it has a huge story-line thats solo-able on content and then content that can be accessed collaboratively. Both Guild Wars 2 and Wildstar look worth checking out, Wildstar is really far off on release they hinted to maybe next year or 2012 for a release.