When I think of PAX I think of Firefall, because the Firefall booth is always so massive and has the nicest carpet. As you can see from our PAX East 2012 Show Floor Photo Gallery, this still holds true.
PAX East 2012
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Aliens swarm a base as a small group of marines struggles to survive; yes, the premise sounds like one of the other games on the show floor this year, but I assure you that they are worlds apart. Natural Selection 2 follows the success of the popular Half-Life mod by putting you into the boots of a marine trying to survive or into the slimy scales of the aliens looking to take over the station.
Taking a claws-on approach to the game, the simple alien soldier acts only a little more than just a vicious dog, quick and with a nasty bite. As the alien, you can climb the walls and get into smaller spaces to move quickly from place to place. Stealth is key since it only takes a few shots to turn into a green splatter against the wall. I took out a couple of soldiers busy taking on other problems.
You immediately get Super Time Force as soon as you see it. Those ganglia in the back of your noggin screams only one thing – it’s Contra! You run, jump, shoot and do whatever you need to do in order to survive which mostly includes not getting it with any insta-kill shots whizzing by your head. The pixel art takes you back to a time where the Konami code was the only thing keeping you alive for so long. But just play it, and you know that this is a completely different game.
Here, it’s okay to die.
And die you will, over and over again. That Contra difficulty remains intact as you face every monstrous boss and flying missiles you’ll need to hang from in order to get to the next ledge. Take a dirt nap and you got back to the start. But instead of going in alone, you get to play along side a replay of yourself. That’s double the firepower with only one life. Die again and you get a second clone. Die a third time and, well… you get the idea.
If wild, cartoony violence and deep weapons customization options are two things you just can’t get enough of, then Edge of Reality’s free-to-play fragfest Loadout definitely needs to be on your radar. This third-person, team based multiplayer title—currently on track for a Steam release but perhaps Xbox Live bound as well—delivers the kind of frenetic and goofy fun of a Team Fortress 2 but with the weapon personalization of something like Borderlands.
Before each round, you have the option of mixing and matching every aspect of your primary weapon, from the hilt to the type of gun (rocket launcher vs. machine gun) to the magazine type to the type of ammo (fire vs. electricity, and you can even choose properties like sticky or bouncy). The combinations are endless and can result in some pretty wild outcomes. For my two matches, I built an machine gun that fired fire bullets and a shotgun with an extra spread barrel that packed instant death in electric slug form.
Developers don't always know whether or not they'll have the chance to continue their stories, so narrative devices like foreshadowing can be difficult to justify or work into a game's plotline. When Obsidian Creative Director Chris Avellone and his team were told they would have the chance to create four DLC packs for Fallout: New Vegas, it was a unique opportunity. “That allows us, as writers, to do foreshadowing across titles and guarantee it will see the light of day,” Avellone said
The challenge of creating the Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues, and Lonesome Road DLC packs for New Vegas lay mostly in the story, in creating DLC that would be meaningful after the game had ended and were still relevant to the player. There was also concern over the fact that Obsidian would know nothing about who the main character of the story was, as they stress player choice in creating and growing characters throughout the game. They began with what they knew about the player for sure.
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Part Shadow Complex, part head-to-head, eight-on-eight multiplayer mayhem, part mash-up of over-the-top 90’s action flicks, The Showdown Effect, from Arrowhead Game Studio and Paradox Interactive, is a 2.5D shooter that puts you in the grizzled shoes of a John McClaine-esque action hero, and your only job is to blast, blowup, and bloody up other players in a competitive multiplayer setting.
While the game supports up to eight players, it was only playable against one other person on the show floor. Still, the matches I played did a fair job of showing off the various acrobatic combat maneuvers at your disposal once the bullets start to fly. Not only can your tiny hero pull off the always appreciated dive and shoot move, he can also grab ledges to pull himself up to higher levels, slide down walls, and even do cartwheels and backflips Matrix-style, to avoid incoming rounds.
If Dust: An Elysian Tail, a side-scrolling, fantasy, beat-em-up, looks familiar, that’s probably because you’ve seen it cropping up at events like PAX East 2012 for the past few years. It’s hardly surprising that the game has been around for so long, given that it is, astoundingly, being made by a single dude, Dead Dodrill. Of all the games at PAX East, Dust is easily the most visually arresting I’ve seen yet, thanks to the incredible hand-drawn animations of the characters and environments.
The fluidity of the characters works wonderfully with the fighting game-esque combat system. With a few button combos, you can string together insane combos on multiple enemies at one time, flinging them into the air, driving them to the ground with your sword while your little fairy friend litters the screen with deadly balls of energy, creating a glorious display of chaos and beauty. It’s quite a satisfying and even more impressive sight to behold.
Come along as we take you through a guided tour of Hong Kong in our PAX East 2012 Sleeping Dogs hands-on preview. Here's a snippet:
"I spotted the guy who owed me money, Ming, because of my keen eyesight and because there was a giant red circle over his head indicating it's time for a chase. Holding down A sends your character speeding after the perp. At this speed it becomes easy to run up walls, under polls, and to scale buildings in your path. It's not Ezio climbing, but it is pretty parkour. As I chased Ming I plowed into NPCs, who I might add all dressed trendy. Some of the female characters, dressed in miniskirts, were on their cell phones as I ran past. If I was clumsy, and I was, I would run into them knocking their phones out of their hands, leaving them screaming. I thought it was a nice attention to detail and nod to realism."
Read on to our full Sleeping Dogs preview.
Borderlands 2's new Siren, Maya, was playable at PAX East 2012 and Nikole Zivalich got the chance to take her for a spin in our latest preview.
"There was no context nor setup as to where we were when we started. I left a cave, and entered a wasteland of rocks surrounds by lakes of corrosive acid, the Caustic Caverns. Out of these lakes arose nasty rock-spider enemies. These baddies were impervious to bullets to the face, but the rocks around their feet could be shot loose, exposing the light blue softer skin. Using a fire elemental gun, I took out the spider, leaving a pile of loot."
Read on to our full Borderlands 2 preview.
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Only one day after the announcement of Mass Effect 3: The Extended Cut DLC, BioWare held their first public forum with the gaming community at PAX East 2012. BioWare's panelists included a mix of writers, producers and community outreach: Chris Priestly, Mike Gamble, Corey Gaspur, Patrick Weekes, John Dombrow, and Reid Buckmaster. Exec Producer, Casey Hudson and Lead Writer, Mac Walters, were not in attendance.
The panel began with Chris Priestly acknowledging how much the community loves BioWare, which was met by laughter from the crowd. That was the general tone of the audience, there was an elephant in the room and everyone saw it. As the panel was in its first few minutes you could hear fans yelling from the hall, "Why did you do it?" "We love you devs." "We love you still." I think we all felt better after getting that out of our system.
Producer Mike Gamble got the panel moving with a survey, a show of hands; Which game in the series was your favorite? A few dozen raised their hands for ME1, the same number raised their hand for ME3, but 90% of the room raised their hand for ME2. I could tell by the faces of everyone on the panel they had not expected that. I'll admit, I was part of the 90%.
We got to see how Penny Arcade’s On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 is coming along at PAX East 2012. The indie game, set to hit later this year, is filled with Final Fantasy-esque graphics and witty humor. Here's a snippet from our preview:
And let’s not forget the Penny Arcade sense of humor. Jerry works closely with the team to make sure that the script is dripping with their wit and oddball sense of humor. One of the enemies that you encounter is a mime octopus who falls into a life of crime after not receiving enough love from his family -- sixteen arms total and not a one to hold him. Anyone who regularly reads the online comic will surely find themselves laughing at the ridiculous enemies and entertaining dialogue.
Read on to our full Penny Arcade’s On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 preview.
League of Legends is getting two new champions, the monstrous Hecarim and the nimble Varus, and Rob Manuel got some hands on time with both in our latest League of Legends preview from PAX East 2012:
"Blazing with the black flame of death, Hecarim charges onto the scene as a spectral centaur cavalryman with a rather large halberd to do all the talking for him. Nicknamed the shadow of war, the new champion focuses on damage and speed. His main ability throws him into battle with a forward charge. Hit an enemy and you’ll send them sailing. Clear out some room beforehand to let him pick up more speed and put a little more power behind his punch."
To learn more about Hecarim and Varus, read on to our full League of Legends preview.
Eric "I Love Apples" Eckstein got the chance to play through Civilization 5's latest expansion pack: Civilization 5: Gods and Kings and reported back that it's all structured around three core additions: espionage, naval combat, and religion.
"Quite simply, you gotta have Faith. It's a new resource that is earned each turn by either building shrines or discovering ruins, much like gold, science, or culture. As a nation, you'll need to make a choice as to whether or not you want to go down a faith-based path and reap those rewards, possibly putting your might or social influence at a disadvantage. Eventually, as you earn faith, you'll hit a milestone which opens up the Pantheon of the Gods, which is basically a bonus you choose to affect a city. Do you want to add +1 Culture to your cities, or maybe +1 Food for camps near your city? Depending on how you plan on leading your empire, these are critical decisions."
You can take one more turn if you head over to our Civilization 5: Gods and Kings preview right now.
We got the chance to check out XCOM: Enemy Unknown at PAX East 2012 and Eric "The Boss" Eckstein let us know why the game's cinematic experience is so riveting:
"In the middle of issuing orders to a soldier, we cut to an in-game cutscene, eyeing Sectoids who are clustered, almost as if feeding, around a human corpse. They scatter off, and their "turn" begins, seamlessly after the cinematic ends. This happens again later when we meet another race of aliens, Mutons, who lie in wait inside a gas station, and once more as a Beserker smashes through a wall to take out one of our squad mates. In every instance, XCOM takes what was once a fairly standard reveal within a fog of war to a new level, making us feel fear or curiosity."
Check out or full XCOM: Enemy Unknown preview.
During a Pax East Mass Effect 3 panel, Bioware acknowledged the Indoctrination theory of the game's ending, but wouldn't say whether it was accurate. For now, no news is... no news.
Spoilers ahead! Warning!
The Indoctrination theory explains Mass Effect 3's ending by positing that the final "battle" that Shepard fights in the Citadel actually takes place in his or her own mind. The Mass Effect 3 fan community is sharply divided on whether this is the "real" ending, so Bioware addressed the issue at its Pax panel by not saying anything.
"The indoctrination theory illustrates again how committed the fanbase is," Bioware's representative said, "We don't want to comment either way...We want the content to speak for itself, and we'll let it do so."
That content? Free "Extended Cut" DLC coming this summer that aims to deliver "additional cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes" designed to give fans "deeper insight into how their personal journey concludes."
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