There were enough people around this booth to still classify this as me sailing.
HEY GUESS WHAT GUYS, I WAS GONE ALL WEEKEND BECAUSE I WAS ON VACATION, I WENT TO SEATTLE AND FROM THERE I WENT TO THE CONVENTION CENTER AT WHICH POINT I ENTERED THE EVENT KNOWN AS PENNY ARCADE EXPO 2013.
Did I yell loud enough to let you all know I was at PAX over the weekend? Good, because I wanted to explode all over the internet with my opinions and views about some of the games I played or saw, lowlights, highlights, awesome people I met, awesome costumes, big surprises and all that other good stuff. Nipah can't even rip this topic off because as far as I know he wasn't there.
The Good Games or "Why I paid 900 dollars to come here":
You could say I have a "Knack" for taking shitty pictures.
Knack, the big new mascot platformer launched with the PS4 from Mark Cerny and the official first PS4 game I ever played.
And seriously, it's pretty fun, it's really straightforward and at first might remind you of Crash Bandicoot in more than just aesthetics with so much forward movement, but it also features some simple but fun combat and a REALLY vibrant color pattern, I'm going to go deeper into the X1 and PS4 later on but if you want a game you should look to for the aesthetic enhancements found on the PS4 I don't think any of them were quite as good at displaying it, not even Killzone. Knack looks to be the game you should grab on PS4 launch day if you want something a little lighter than endless explosions and orange glowing eyes representing a thinly veiled take on the Cold War. Speaking of cold.....
This guy must be REALLY cold
Oh right, the vidya, you probably thought Cold meant....
Elder Scrolls Online:
More like Elder Scrolls IN LINE am I right folks? Right? Ha Ha....I waited for two and half hours....
Lots of talk over this game recently, what with all the changes being made to it to make the game more "Elder Scrolls" the revelation of the $15 a month fee(Which I'll get to bear with me here) but as of the version I played? Well it's actually pretty damn Elder Scrolls. The combat is a far cry from perfect, hell in a couple of ways it somehow feels clunkier than Oblivion, but in the sense that this IS an MMO it really does work better than I had hoped, you click with each swing and you feel in direct control of your actions. Exploration and First Person view both feel traditionally Elder Scrolls, with Exploration of the island we were started on only feeling hampered by the fact that given this is an MMO many more enemies are present than in an Elder Scrolls game and most of them are tougher than the average bandit., hell even the wolves gave my warrior class a hell of a tough time taking down more than once. I'd like to think the heavy fog and much much shorter draw distance were on purpose but I think it's another sacrifice to the MMO side of things, as is the mostly cruddy stealth(you feel more like a rouge from any other MMO than really sneaking around like you do in Elder Scrolls)
That being said, despite a lot of the things I wanted out of this being present, I'm still not entirely convinced on the monthly fee.....I'd love to play Elder Scrolls with friends but I do want to wait and see how the final product shapes up....speaking of shapes....
Are zombies shapes? I don't know It's hard to think of lead ins. Also I forgot to take a picture of the booth
On the surface this game looks and feels like Dead Island....likely because even a guy who knows very little about the deep down mechanics of videogames like me could tell right off the bat that this game was running on the exact same Engine as Dead Island. However, don't write it off like you would that mediocre beat em up, this game is actually extremely fun. By combining the atmosphere of Dead Island and the free running and focus on avoidance of combat from Mirrors Edge techland seems to be creating a great game based more on finding creative free form routes AROUND the undead rather than just hitting them all the time and hoping their head explodes this time. In the demo you had to rush to a supply drop before others could get there and I got side tracked by helping a survivor and ended up getting to the supplys to late and having to face enemies who were much better equipped than I was, I would hope Techland can use this mechanic to create a game of real fight or flight choice but we'll have to wait and see.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Again, wasn't thinking of pictures at the time at the booth....uh....I have this picture at least.
This lady has nothing to do with Donkey Kong she was just really nice and gave me a pin she made herself after I asked if I could take her picture, her boyfriend/husband was dressed as Drake, it was cute......where am I?
Oh right Donkey Kong, did you play Donkey Kong Country Returns? If you did expect more of that but with some absolutely gorgeous HD graphics and some minor new mechanics like grabbing and pulling on things and picking up enemies as you would in Super Mario Bros 2. Thing being, I REALLY liked DKCR, like I just played it earlier this year and it's truly one of the best games I've played in a very long time, I'm also a bit biased as Donkey Kong is my favorite Nintendo Character. In essence, it's really shaping up to be another great Donkey Kong Country game and another notch in Retro Studios excellent belt.
The Bad Games Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the "oh god why did I wait in line for this":
Ryse: Son of Rome:
"Flow was important to us; we wanted the player to be able to set up his opponents and viciously plow through them one after another with limited to no beats in between,"
Right.....Except all the awkward pauses and crappy quicktime events that completely DESTROYED the concept of Flow but you know....
Ryse: Son of Rome....how do I put this?....you're just awful....Like oh man this game is terrible. almost every kill stops time so you can do a crappy quicktime event(Which by the way you don't ACTUALLY have to press the buttons for and you still kill the enemy) Movement is awkward, the spear throwing mechanic is clunky and weird the godly powers or whatever that let you call down lightning are hilariously out of place and don't work well at all and the co op demo I played felt so bolted on that I could almost see the rivets in the screen. I waited way too long in line to play this turd. If you're getting an X1 on day one I'd steer clear of this option, it kind of represents a fair amount of things WRONG with video games right now.
Batman Arkahm Origins:
Bats....just go down....
Did you play Batman Arkahm City? Yes? Okay you played Batman Arkahm Origins moving on. Then I went to the Wildstar booth an-Okay fine I'll write something. A new story line and some minor refinements can't hide that this game is clearly Arkahm City being made again with a new section being added on, hell even the fact that Joker and Bane are both returning characters(And working together for god knows why according to this demo) shows that they really ran low on the idea barrel over at WB on this one. Now that's not to say the actual mechanics of the game are bad, the freeflow combat is still thrilling, the environment is still moody(Although now for some reason the same amount of criminals patrol the open world despite it not being a prison city) and most of the replacement voice actors do pretty good jobs, I just feel like from the demo I played that I ALREADY played this game, I don't want to shell out $60 to play Arkahm City again(What's this about ports?)
Side Note: It's portable spinoff game Arkahm Origins: Blackgate was even worse.
This was the worst out of the PS4 games....and I should know I played them all.
Seriously, I have proof, Sony Passport and everything....okay so Second Son sadly wasn't playable just a demonstration.
Back to the cars with the sexy leather, it was so bad guys, I'm not even really a fan of serious driving games admittedly, but Gran Turismo 6 which was literally right across from it in the booth and both looked and played better. The controls were awful, the graphics are a major example of why "Next Gen" is looking mighty bullshit right now and worst of all everything about it was simply BORING....it had a focus on social functions but I don't think may people are going to be in that community to fulfill these functions. If I had to guess I bet Sony just really wants a driving game to launch the PS4 with.....
Super Mario 3D World:
God it's like the Beatles if they started taking LSD and....wait
Lol just kidding, this game is great, I had you there for a second and everything though didn't I?
Sonic Lost World:
Or Sonic Galaxy
It's a Sonic game and you never really feel like you're going fast, pick out why this game is in the bad list.
The Surprising Games or "I bet it'll be funny if I wait in this line and the game is so bad so I can write about it later an-holy crap this game is really fun"
Project Diva F:
The song I played was about MMO addiction but damn was it catchy
I didn't and still don't have any idea what Vocaloids are, I've seen Pictures of Hatsune Miku posted all over the internet so I at least knew who the woman with the blue hair was going in. Point being I'm not sure what I expected when I got in this games line, but what I got was a game that truly understood Rhythm and Flow(Ryse, take notes) the simple button prompts and concepts worked wonders and before I knew it I was humming the song all around the convention floor and wanting to grab my own copy when I got home. Music games may be past their prime at this point but you know what? Even if I can't understand what the hell the people are saying I can still love the hell out of pressing buttons to the rhythm
Wolfenstein: The New Order
Insert horribly misused Jimmy Hendrix song here
To be honest, playing this one through, I wasn't impressed I thought it felt generic and thought "Oh good another bad wolfenstein reboot" but after giving the demo a second try I was taken in my the oppressive atmosphere, I mean come on, the Nazis have built Mechs, just how much more bleak do you get in that situation? The mechanics could use some fine tuning, and i'm not so sure about this being a crossgen title, but I do hope this is an alternate history shooter that can get it right this time COUGHTURNINGPOINTCOUGH.
What you thought you were going to get out of a forum post from me with no Spider-Man?
What was surprising about this game? Well it was there in the free play arcade they had set up, and I got to play it with 3 other comic geeks. It was Superior.
That's it....move on....okay here have this picture.
You heard it here folks, Danny McBride confirmed as the Vault Dweller in the Fallout movie
I mean, I STILL don't see the octopus in this picture.
This game has awkward controls, it's objectives range from mundane to completely inane and nothing about it makes any semblance of a lick of sense.
It's also one of the funniest things I've ever played.
It's a game I simply NEED to own is what I'm trying to say.
The "Next Gen" Factor:
They should really be called PSNegliglble Difference and Xbox Dew...did people already make these jokes?
The PS4 and Xbox One were both on display and playable at PAX 2013, and let me say, I don't want either of them, at least not anytime soon. Both of them present the clear issue a lot of people are having with the Next Gen consoles, they don't truly FEEL next gen at all, oh sure the controllers are different but in the long run nothing about the games gives off any sort of impression that games are really going to go anywhere they already can't go.
As for the controllers, Xbox One? Weird, I can't really explain it all that well but it feels a little cheap, the flattened buttons don't feel as great to press as the ones on the 360 controller and the rough edges on the sticks are....well....rough....I see no reason they should be rough, at times it actually just felt uncomfortable, but besides that the controller is almost entirely the same as the 360, so if you like that you'll probably like this just as well.
PS4's controller actually feels quite new in comparison to the Dualshock 3, with the new triggers working much better than the current designs. However it's also not perfect, if you don't like the symmetrical sticks, well you're out of luck as they're still there. The controller DOES fit nicely in your hands though, and is much larger, which should appeal to those who didn't like the shorter grips on the long running Dualshock design.
And that's it folks, I played a LOT more games than just the ones I have listed here but I fi tired to list them all I'd be writing for my entire life, if you have any questions you want to ask feel free and I'll do my best to answer any and all.
Also here's a picture of me getting my picture taken as a really half assed Strider Hiryu.
He's not even holding the sword right, what a loser!