Wednesday, September 8, 2010

PAX Impressions

Note:  I'm posting this now, Wednesday morning, but it was written Sunday night.

So tonight, as I write this, my trip to PAX has ended.  I have only six to seven hours on a plane left to go in the trip itself.  I saw a lot of new things, a lot of cool things, and a lot of things that I would have liked to have seen if I had been willing to spend the time in lines.

Its such a shame that Portal 2, Dragon Age II,  and the now mythical Duke Nukem Forever were all effectively behind doors with constant long lines. Brink and Deadspace 2 had long lines the entire time as well, but other people could see them being played.  Brink, I can’t speak on, because I didn’t watch any play.  Deadspace 2, I wanted to play, but I didn’t want to stand in line, and if I couldn’t play, then I didn’t want to see it, because I will definitely be getting Deadspace 2 when it comes out.

I was able to watch people playing Marvel vs. Capcom 3, its awesome that Deadpool is in the game, but either no one has figured out how to use him yet, or his move list isn’t that great, as I didn’t see any moves that used his swords, just martial arts and guns.  Christ Redfield seemed to be favorite, with multiple special attacks that used his guns, as well as a grenade launcher as his super.  The other major characters I saw played were the expected: Ryu, Iron Man, Captain America, and Wolverine, with movesets similar to how they appeared in Marvel vs. Capcom 2.  I didn’t see enough players using Trish or Dante to really tell how they played.   One thing I did notice though, is that there were only two or three stages being played on, and all of them seemed to include Servbots hanging around in the background, I wonder if Servbot will be a hidden “for fun” character again, like he and so many others were in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 were.  Though my limited time at the Capcom booth did see me buying a Servbot bobblehead, because Servbot is awesome.

I passed by the console freeplay area and managed to see real Steel Battalion controllers and games, though I wasn’t able to play, and later had a 4 player game of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World going, playing as Stills, and Stills ranked highest after each of the three stages we played, even if I did end up also being the most revived character as well…

A few times throughout the convention, I also stopped and played a few games of Monday Night Combat(!).  I made a good showing of myself as an assassin, though I didn’t play in any of the tournaments.  At the very end of the convention, I did get to play two games against the developers, and our team managed to get its ass handed to it both times.

I also spent way too much time sitting at the MSI booth in hopes of winning high end PC components, and came away empty handed.  What really added insult to the injury was that there were a few people that won things multiple times.  MULTIPLE TIMES.  It was most displeasing.  But the guys at the booth were cool, and MSI itself hasn’t done me wrong yet, not with the motherboard on my old desktop, or the netbook that I’m typing this one.  If I decide to build a new desktop, they’re not that far down on my list.

I spent a bit of time at the Squard Enix booth.  They were showing some new game called Wakfu, which didn’t know what to make of.  Some kind of isometric, grid turned-based strategy game with a rather colorful art style.  There was also Front Mission Evolved, which trades the turn-based strategy gameplay for third-person action, involving mechs.  They were only letting it be played as Free-For-All Deathmatch, so there was no indication of what the single player portion of the game will be like.  It played pretty well, but the graphics didn’t look bad, but it could look better.  I’m sure the Xbox can output better.

Last at the Square Enix booth was what is probably the first public showing of Final Fantasy XIV, unless you count the opening of Open Beta, which began just before two or three days before the show.  I played during the last phase of closed beta, and managed to get into the open beta beta before having to catch my flight to come to PAX.  They were allowing people to play through any of the three opening tutorial sections, and gave them FFXIV branded flashdrvies containing the character they created.  I will say that I care about the game, and I plan on buying and playing it, but straight up, no one seems to care about it.  Which leads me to my next point.

There were several MMOs that either premiered, or had their first major public showing at PAX, but I will get to that later.  I have a bit of a bone to pick with the subject of MMOs, especially in conjunction with the games media.  I will discuss this at length in another post.

Anyways, I also attended several podcast panels:  the Giantbombcast, Rebel FM and Geekbox, as well as the Gamespy Debriefings.  All of them are super super guys.  I managed to get pictures with everyone from the Bombcast except for Brad Shoemaker, as well as Rebel FM’s Arthur Gies and Anthony Gallegos (sp?).  As well, since the Bombcast was the last major event of the first night, I , along with several others, followed them out afterwords.  Vinny Caravela was cool, and I can sort of see why some people (on a handful of podcasts I’ve listened too) seem to have man-crushes on Jeff Gerstmann.  Anyways, closed down two bars, and I only actually had one beer.  Not even a buzz, and beer still tastes like crap, which is probably part of why I don’t drink.  Well, that and having friends that aren’t bar hoppers.  It was an experience.  As a side note, other people I saw at these panels were Scott Bromley, Ryan Scott, Jeff Green, and the great Michael Pachter, who seems to actually be a nice guy.

All in all, it was a good trip, and I’m sad its just about over.  If I come back again, I definitely need to drag my friends with me, as well as bring a larger amount of available cash for souvenirs.  But this also means that they didn’t get any free swag off me, unless they want the freebie Fallout: New Vegas T-shirts I got.  More time to see more of the city would have been nice too.  I probably would have made the trek to get a picture of the Space Needle if I knew where it was in relation to the convention center.

All in all, I would like to come back, and will try to, should the opportunity arise.  And if I do, I should definitely have a smartphone that isn't on AT&T.

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