So… PAX East 2011. SO MANY PEOPLE! I believe the latest estimate has 69,500 people having attended this year, making it the largest PAX ever. Cool games, great costumes and people, and lots of fun. So, where shall I begin?
Deus Ex: Human Revolution. VERDICT: Buy it. The live demo for the game was the event right before the Rooster Teeth panel and they we not going to clear the theater between shows so I figured I would go in and check out the game. I have never played the Deus Ex games but from the demo I saw, I found it to be a game I would like. You play the role of an cybernetically augmented lapdog for the corporation that build the cybernetics and you are in the heart of a global conspiracy. That’s what I got from the presentation. As for the actual game, it is an action-RPG so while you can go running in and start shooting everyone, the game presents multiple options to complete objectives. Beautiful graphics, excellent stealth system, and you can stab people with blades that extend out of your arms. The build was old so the AI was not that intelligent. In the demo the player was hiding behind a box and an enemy came looking for him, stood about one foot away directly next to him and still couldn’t find the character. The game however looks promising overall.
So once that was done I sat around aimlessly for an hour waiting for the Rooster Teeth panel to start. They started off with an Immersion video that tested whether real fruit or fruit pumped with industrial strength artificial fruit flavor tasted better, once Gus got the sound working on his Mac. Should have used a PC Gus. The gang was funny as usual, they talked about what’s been going on around the office, showed everyone the official license plate they are trying to get in Texas. To top off the awesomeness, they previewed the trailer for Season 9 of Red vs Blue which is a prequel of the series showing the story behind Project Freelancer. Then they had a Q&A where most people got swag.
Down on the expo floor I didn’t get a chance to play the demos for the big title games as the lines were just ridiculously long. I did get to play some of the smaller games, my two favorite being Hotheads Swarm and Trapdoors Warp.
Swarm is this delightful little game where you control a swarm of little blue swarmites. Your goal of the game is earn as many points as possible, and you do this by killing the swarm. But to get more points, you need to collect the multiplier orbs, and to get them you sometimes need a large swarm. You have to balance having enough swarmites to build up a high enough multiplier and killing as much of the swarm as possible at the right moment. But if the entire swarm dies you lose, so try to save at least one. They replenish along the way. The trailers were insanely amusing, one of them is already on their site.
In Warp, you are some kind of experiment that escapes from its cage in an underwater facility and you have to escape. You have the ability to warp in the demo, hence the name, a short distance through walls, into canisters and generators, and even people. If you’re in a canister or a person, you can shake violently and make explode whatever you’re inside. Trapdoor describes it as a sci-fi stealth action game, which it is. You’re a scientific experiment capable of warping, you have to use stealth and cunning to move around the base without getting killed by the guards, and you can kill the guards and other scientist by making them go boom. It is quite messy but so much fun seeing people splatter everywhere. Also the chatter between the base personal you overhear was hilarious. Some guy was talking about masturbating if I remember correctly. You also have some other abilities which were not revealed in the demo so we’ll have to wait until the game comes out. It is a cleaver little puzzle game that I throughly enjoyed. Not only was the game fun, but it was quite beautiful as well. The base you are in is at the bottom of the ocean, and because the game plays from a top-down view, you can see the sea life moving about outside the walls of the base.
Microsoft’s Kinect has a large presence on the floor. The technology works very well, as I saw from people playing lots of Dance Central and other small action games such as ping pong and foot races. Ubisoft also was using the technology to demo a new game of their own, Child of Eden. It is a rhythm action game which is presented as an experiment on synesthesia, integrating sound, vision, and touch in one seamless experience, as said on the games Wiki. If you have ever heard of or played the game Rez, it is very much like that seeing as how they are made by the same guy. With the Kinect controller, you held out either hand to target and fire the weapon which also had a temporary auto-fire mode and an emergency berserker shot to shoot everything.
Other games included Duke Nukem: Forever, Gears of War 3, Brink, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Battlefield 3, Crysis 2, and lots of other exciting games. A lot of hardware companies where also showing off all of their toys as well. Nvidia had a large station showing 3D gaming and games on tablet systems. Asus was pouring liquid nitrogen on CPUs to see how cold they could get the system to run while maintaining a decent FPS speed. There were lots of give-a-ways, none which I won unfortunately. I also got pretty far in the Halo Reach tournament with a few of my friends. We lost in either the semifinals or quarter finals, I don’t remember, but we had fun, kicked some ass, and got free map pack codes to the new Halo Maps several days before it was released.
Overall, a very fun weekend.
Source: Flickr / casualcapture